Weather patterns have a marked influence on the amount of walkies a dog gets, according to pet technology company Pitpatpet, makers of the dog activity monitor ‘PitPat’. Pitpatpet has released findings from its growing number of dog owning app users that show on average (per day) their dogs exercise 30 seconds less for every millimetre of rainfall and on really inclement days, 20mm of rain resulted in ten minutes less exercise.
Data collected throughout the year also showed a notable reduction in dog activity levels during hot weather, seeing a particularly large dip in activity on 21st June – during the longest continuous hot spell since 1976. The company’s ‘tech hounds’ also noted a spike in activity levels on the 19th July - a day which saw a large number of thunderstorms take place across the lower half of the UK.
Pitpatpet CEO Andrew Nowell said: “It’s fascinating to see how the weather changes our pack’s activity levels. The day of the thunderstorms was particularly interesting as it suggests that many dogs were up and about (potentially feeling anxious) during the storms. Based on these findings we hope that by using PitPat, owners can gain a better understanding of their dog’s behaviour, help reduce anxiety and help strengthen their bond.”
Owners may also have seen an uncharacteristic spike in their dog’s activity in the hours leading up to the storms. Many theories suggest that dogs are capable of sensing a barometric pressure drop and can even smell the ionisation in the air which they learn to associate with approaching storms.
The PitPat app and device helps owners care for their dogs by giving them a greater understanding of their pooch’s exercise needs. The app gives the owner a tailored exercise guideline for their dog and a daily break down of their activity in minutes and calories burnt.
The findings come after PitPat has partnered with the UK’s largest animal welfare charity the RSPCA, who hope to use the data to get a better understanding of the behaviour and activity trends of the UK’s dogs and their owners.
Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert, said: “It’s interesting to see how the changing seasons and unpredictable weather can have an impact on the amount of time dog owners spend outside walking their pets.
“But it’s important to remember that dogs need regular exercise - come rain, shine, or snow! However, if your dog is more of a fair weather walker and doesn’t like the rain or cold, then avoid forcing them to go out. Exercise is more than just going for a walk so allow them to go to the toilet, sniff, explore and play games.
“If the weather is so bad that your dog is reluctant to go out then spend time interacting with them in a different way by playing games indoors while still making sure they have regular opportunities to go to the toilet.
“PitPat is a great way of helping make sure that you’re making time each day to exercise and play with your four-legged friend whether it’s a beautiful, spring day or a cold, wintry one.”
The insights provided by PitPat are not only beneficial to individual owners and animal welfare organisations, they could also provide valuable data to the pet industry to help tailor their products and services more closely to the needs of our nation’s pooches.