It seems we’re not the only ones to suffer from the winter blues. Indeed, your pets are just as likely to be affected by the lack of daylight hours in the cold, grey winter months as you are.
So what can you do?
During the winter months when the sun sets early in the day, the lack of natural sunlight has a direct affect on our hormones. We produce more melatonin, which makes us sleepy, and less serotonin that makes us happy. The same can be said of your dog’s hormones, especially since their brains work on a similar level as ours.
A lack of scientific research into how light levels affect our pets makes it impossible to definitively conclude whether they do suffer from the winter blues, but common sense says it’s likely.
Look for these signs to determine whether your dog or cat has a case of the winter blues:
- Increase in sleeping habits
- Lack of appetite
- Reduced activity
- No motivation to play or go outside
Try some of these quick fixes to boost your pet’s spirits:
- Open the blinds and let the light flood in - the more light the better!
- Move their bed closer to the window - provides for some entertainment as well as extra light!
- Add a midday outdoor break to their routine - get outside and take them with you!
- Check your own mood – if you’re in low spirits, your pet will be too!
If your dog or cat is still not showing any signs of motivation after all your attempts, it’s probably time for a visit to the vet to find out what’s wrong.
During the winter months, getting enough light is crucial. Even if it’s a car ride to the store, the change of scenery and the natural light will be enough to boost your pet’s spirits. Just make sure you have the necessary winter wear to keep yourselves warm and toasty!
by Natalie Secretan