Happy Chinese New Year!
Why doesn’t the Chinese New Year happen on January 1st? Because the Chinese follow a Lunar New Year, which is a year whose months follow the cycles of the moon. Many other Asian cultures also celebrate lunar new years, but not necessarily at the same time.
The real question is…how does your pet feel about all this?
How the Moon Affects Your Pet
“My cat goes crazy during the full moon!” say some pet owners. But is it true? Scientists have been trying to determine exactly how animals – including humans – are affected by the moon for centuries. The moon and the earth have a very strong magnetic pull on one another and though there’s countless anecdotal evidence suggesting a link to odd behavior and lunar cycles, there’s very little scientific evidence to back it up.
That only holds true for domesticated animals. In the wild, animals definitely behave differently in the presence of a full moon. Badgers, for example, hold their pee during a full moon. Millions of coral in Australia simultaneously release sperm and egg on (or near) a full moon every year. Even lions change their hunting habits during a full moon, lurking during the daylight hours instead of at night.
Your Pet and the Full Moon
So, why do some pet owners insist their pets behave strangely when the moon’s at its peak? Odds are, it’s not actually the moon or its magnetic pull that’s making animals act out, it’s the light the moon produces. A full moon is more than ten times brighter than even a half moon. It stands to reason that more light might make our pets a little more active – and a little more prone to injury.
One long-term study completed in 2007 showed an astounding 23-28% increase in the number of cats and dogs visiting veterinary emergency clinics during full moons! Why the uptick? Researchers hypothesize that with more light, animals were more likely to spend more time roaming around outside, potentially getting into fights, having falls, or ingesting poisons.
How Can You Help Your Pet During a Full Moon?
Most pets don’t show visible discomfort during lunar cycles. If you’ve noticed yours behaving strangely, it could simply be a reaction to the increased levels of light. Some of the most common complaints to vets surrounding odd moon-related activity in pets are increased destructiveness, restlessness, and insomnia.
The simplest solution to most pets’ problems with the moon is to block out more light. Consider investing in blackout curtains for your house, and get your pet on a schedule where he’s sleeping in the same darkened room each night. Keep nighttime walks short during a full moon and be try to stick to the same wake/sleep cycle each night.
Does your pet truly seem unsettled by a full moon? In rare cases, the full moon (or no moon at all!) can exacerbate a pet’s preexisting anxiety issues. If your pet seems scared, agitated, or refuses to eat or drink during specific lunar cycles, talk to your vet. It might be something a simple prescription anti-antixety medication can help alleviate.
(That’s Happy New Year in Mandarin)