The scene of a wolf howling to the moon is a popular one often featured in horror movies that may have caused goose bumps to many viewers in the past. However, seeing wolves howl to the moon today may make you wonder if a full moon has any effect on your domesticated dogs. After all, when humans seem to be acting awkwardly we often question ourselves: “Is this a “‘full moon night”? The moon has had for centuries big influences on earth bound elements such as lunar tides and gravitational pulls but there are also other influences which are still unclear and hard to distinguish from century-old myths. There have been many studies on the effects of full moons on human behaviors but the results have been pretty inconclusive and erratic. Regardless, many beliefs have remained and some people are ready to swear on the “full moon crisis”.
How the Full Moon Affects Dogs
On the pet side of the story, studies have shown that on full moon nights more pets are seen at emergency clinics. Veterinarian Dr. Raegan Wells researched this topic and found that on full moon nights, emergency visits increased by 23 percent in cats and 28 percent in dogs. These night-time visits ranged from cardiac arrest to trauma. If we look at the numbers these studies have shown, we will think that this must be more than a mere coincidence, so why is it that so many pets seem affected? Only assumptions can really be made.
There are chances that the increased light coming from the moon may play a role in encouraging nocturnal activities which may translate into getting into more trouble. With the brighter light, dogs may be more likely to stay outdoors more and perhaps may be more likely to also chase nocturnal critters. While the effects of the moon on dog behavior haven’t been scientifically proven yet, it’s still important to keep into consideration these statistics and take preventive steps in protecting your dog during his night-time outings.
Protecting Your Dog on Full Moon Night (and any night too)
While the animal emergency room statistics aren’t really that staggering, it never hurts to practice caution on those night-time outings with your pet. Whether your dog gets more hyper on full moon nights or not, it doesn’t cost much to implement a few more extra safety precautions that should be used regardless whether it’s a full moon night or not.
- Use reflective clothing, collars and leashes on walks so you and your dog are always visible
- Use extra caution in crossing streets
- Have your dog always wear ID tags
- Keep an eye on your dog when let out in the yard at night
- Let him wear a bell if you own a lot of fenced acreage
- Never let your dog out without a leash at night in unfenced areas
The Bottom Line
While there’s ultimately nothing really supernatural going on with dogs during a full moon night, animal hospital staff still tend to keep an eye on the calendar for full moon nights as they also feel the “full moon effects” from the emergency hospitals getting busier and crowded on those particular nights. So perhaps it’s worth it to a little extent to keep an extra watchful eye on your canine on these special nights and be cautious for any “lunatic” behaviors affecting both humans and pets.