Winter Blues Strikes Pets

Photo: Cheryl G.

Photo: Cheryl G.

Have you noticed a change in your pet, especially in the past few weeks? Perhaps he is afflicted with SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a subtype of major depression that comes and goes based on  the seasons.

Did you know that just like people, pets can suffer from this condition?
Pets that usually spend most of their time outdoors can begin to feel irritable, gain weight, and sleep too much for lack of stimulation.
Also called the “Winter Blues,” symptoms of this disorder include:
• Irritability
• Tiredness or low energy
• Problems getting along with other people
• Hypersensitivity to rejection
• Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
• Oversleeping
• Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
• Weight gain
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take to ensure that your pet is happier during the long, cold, winter months.
1. Change Environment – Dogs and cats respond to light just as we do. The brighter the light, the peppier they feel. So try replacing light bulbs to create a more day like environment.
2. Increase Playtime – Make toys and time. Make toys out of everyday objects and be sure to set aside time each evening to play games like tug-of-war or just cuddle.
3. Recalculate Food – If your dog or cat is not outdoors very much, he or she doesn’t need as much to eat. Consult your veterinarian for advice on this topic.
4. Enhance Scents – Scented goodies keep dogs and cats busy trying to find the source of the smells.
5. Get Outside – Take every opportunity to get outside with your pets, even in the cold weather.
To find more information on this topic, click here.

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