Could Your Pets Suffer From SAD?
Humans and dogs share similar brain chemistry, according to science.
With this being said, one study shows that one in three pet-owners believe their pets suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder: a type of depression that is characterized by multiple symptoms during certain times of year.
Because of the shorter days and longer nights, our biological responses begin to change. We use less serotonin and more melatonin.
Similarly, cats and dogs can also struggle to retain their usual energy and great attitudes because they, too, have the same kinds of biological makeup as far as hormones and neurotransmitters go.
If you notice your pets being a little more tired, a little less hungry, or generally not as energetic as they usually are, there are a few things you can do to ensure they make it through the long dog days of winter.
Make the most of the sunlight. Take your dog for a walk or make sure there is a nice, warm, sunny windowsill for Fluffy the cat. Sunlight is an important part of the production of serotonin.
Although cats don't care too much for walks outside, they do love playing with toys and chasing lasers. Dogs, too, can benefit greatly from the stimulation of play. This will help them rest fully and wake up more energized and excited.
If your pets are indoor pets, they may need a slight change in diet because of the lowered amount of exercise they will be getting. Conversely, if your dog is an outdoor type, they may need two to three times more food than they do during the warmer months.
Regardless of whether you keep your animals inside or outside or whether they are SAD or not, there is no doubt the need for your extra attention during the cold months is necessary to keep them happy and healthy.
- Horse & Hounds CT Admin