Cold weather can make people feel down, unmotivated, and depressed. It can do the same thing for dogs. The “winter blues” or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be a real problem for dogs. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, a leading veterinary charity in the UK, conducted a study on pet moods during colder months; they found that 40% of people recorded a definite downturn in their dog’s moods. The dogs were less playful, less active, and slept longer.
The best remedy for SAD is getting more sunlight. This increases serotonin in humans and dogs alike. A dog with a healthy serotonin level is cheerful and easily motivated.
In the winter it can be difficult for dog owners who work during the day to get their dogs out in the sun. But there are a few things owners can do to combat the winter blues. Try taking your dog for a walk as early in the evening as possible and make sure to get out with your dog during the day on weekends, holidays, and/or days off.
Another option is to enroll your dog at a doggy daycare that has an outdoor area for the dogs (like Dingo’s Dogsitting!) or pay someone to walk your dog during the day while you are at work. Dingo’s Dogsitting has staff members in the Swampscott and Beverly areas able to assist with daytime walks and home visits.
If your dog’s mood seems to match the gray sky, make an effort to maximize his time out in the sun. Contact us at Dingo’s Dogsitting to arrange a visit and see how we can help. Your dog may still curl up by the fireplace at night, but it will be from being blissfully tired after a day of play, not from the dreary weather!