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Dog owners beware! Tonight’s full moon could drive your pooch loony!

Do dogs behave differently on a full moon? © Pixabay

Don’t underestimate the power of the moon. Since ancient times there have been reports about strange behaviours (in both animals and humans) when the moon is at its fullest.

By Zoe Monk, 13 Sep 2019

Cats are known to hide and dogs howl at the moon, just like their wolf ancestors. But is there any evidence to connect our pets’ behaviour change when it's a full moon?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by NASA (@nasa) on

More barking than usual?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Strange happenings

In fact, there have been a number of unexplained occurrences during the time of a full moon. But it isn’t just isolated to one night. It happens over three days during each lunar cycle. So, if your dog is starting to act a little bizarre; barking, howling and even being destructive, you might be in for a three-day rollercoaster!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Dogs and full moons

Many owners strongly believe that their dog reacts to a full moon by acting differently than usual. Many actually think their dog can even sense that a full moon is on its way and will bark and howl continuously and seem restless.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Some owners say their dog's personality completely changes to the opposite during the time of a full moon. When they are normally quite relaxed, they became very active and alert. In some cases, dogs have even become more aggressive.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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But there’s actually little if any evidence of how a full moon affects our canine pals. But despite this, there are still numerous examples of mysterious goings-on when the moon is full.

More pet injuries at a full moon

An analysis of as many as 12,000 cases at an American animal medical centre discovered that dogs were 28% more likely to be admitted with injuries on a full moon.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Here in the UK, casualty departments also say they register double the number of visits from people with animal bites during a full moon compared to any other night.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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What should you do?

If your dog seems to be sensing that it’s a full moon then, of course, it might just be a coincidence. But you will still need to help them settle. If they are barking excessively then try to keep them calm and distracted. Giving them plenty of exercise and playtime during the day might also help them feel more relaxed and less destructive come the evening.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Human behaviour can change too

It’s not just our pets that can exhibit strange behaviours at the time of a full moon. Us humans have even been known to get up to some odd things too. One study of Leeds prison inmates saw a rise in violent attacks just before and after the moon was at its fullest, according to the Daily Mail.

What's going on?

A full moon has a much stronger effect on tides because it's much closer and has more of a gravitational pull. Some people suggest that the reason the full moon affects us and our canines is that our dog's bodies, along with our own, are largely made up of water. As the moon moves oceans, it moves the water in our dog's bodies. This is what makes our dogs go a little bonkers around full moon time.

Other people say it’s all a coincidence and just folklore.

What do you think?