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Dogs get SAD too (Seasonal Affective Disorder)


People aren’t the only ones susceptible to wintertime blues (Seasonal Affective Disorder). “PDSA (The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals) found that approximately 40 percent of dog owners saw a considerable downturn in their pet’s moods during the winter months,” reported Psychology Today.

Today, scientists know that SAD in humans is caused by low levels of light that lead to a chemical imbalance in part of the brain that controls body functions such as sleep, appetite, mood and activity. Now experts believe the same is happening in our dogs.

Symptoms to watch for that may indicate your furry friend is feeling low:
•    Aggressive behavior or soiling inappropriately
•    Clawing at furniture
•    Demanding more attention or appearing withdrawn
•    Frequent barking
•    Lethargy – sleeping more than usual
•    Less interest in going for walks or playing
•    Reduced appetite and weight loss

How can you help your dog to feel more cheerful?

To reverse the symptoms experienced by unhappy pets, continually talk to your dog, comfort them, and play games such as hiding favorite toys to keep them active. Of course, your dog’s mood change may also be simply due to cold weather and fewer opportunities to stretch their legs outside, but diet and exercise can play a big part in perking up your dog.

Exercise is probably the best answer!  Getting outside and exercising will help both you and your dog beat the wintertime blues.  Being outside exposes you to sunlight, which helps by itself.  Exercise also helps because you are activating you and your dog’s Endocannabinoid* systems which make you feel better. Another option for your dog is to attend doggie daycare.  They will benefit from the exercise, change of scenery and simply being around other dogs.  *Endocannabinoids are natural messengers in the body that help regulate many biological functions.*

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