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barks feature As the sun goes down, Bo and Bear, two brawny brown Labs, don’t want to come inside after their backyard romp. Sniffing down the fence line, pawing through pine straw and darting through cracked gates and doors, the two retrievers seem aware of something. Their owner doesn’t see, hear or even smell anything unusual, but the dogs detect something she doesn’t. The transition between seasons — especially into summer — impacts furry friends in unseen ways. There’s a secret in the sunshine that affects every dog and cat’s behavior, triggers deep instincts and alters their physiology. Let’s look into the light and discover what makes our pets act in peculiar ways come summer. the roaming season waves of seasonal transformation. Dogs and cats are intimately connected to these ancestral animal As a clinical veterinarian for over 25 years, I’ve cycles, despite their love of cuddles and nicknamed May to September “The Roaming canned food. Season.” I see more injuries, ailments and lost pets during the long days of summer than perhaps any Although your pet may not roam to procreate, he other time of year. The reason for roaming is clear: may run away to explore a strange scent or sound, reproduction. Sex hormones, especially flee a perceived threat or follow seasonal progesterone and testosterone, are elevated hormonal fluctuations. If your pet seems intent on during increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. escape, don’t take it personally. Safeguard When the days grow longer, wild animals have an your home, check for threats and doublecheck instinctive drive to breed, stake out territory and before you open any outdoor exit. act … well, wild. Before you conclude these changes don’t affect your spayed or neutered companion, think again. While your pet may lack the urge to mate, a multitude of other changes are activated by sunlight. Your pet is inhaling a plethora of pheromones shed by a universe of unseen animals. They’re hearing calls and cries of distant critters, witnessing a world shifting to bright colors and uncovering evidence of animal intruders in the backyard or park. The world is awash in invisible fun in the sun issue 39


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