08 November 2007

Dogs Get SAD Too

As autumn moves into winter, don't be surprised if your dog has less energy and generally seems a bit down on life; he could be suffering from Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD).

According to the PDSA, the UK's leading veterinary charity, 30% of dog owners questioned in a recent survey said that their dogs became less playful and seemed 'sadder' during the winter. In the same survey 40% of owners also thought that their dogs slept more frequently and for longer periods of time, and quite often lost all interest in walks.

SAD is a disorder many people suffer from in the winter months; it's believed that the lack of sunlight to the eye's retina increases the amount of melanin produced by the body. It's thought that a release of melanin into our bloodstream depresses our mood and makes us feel drowsy. Looking at our dogs in the same context, then it's not surprising they appear to show the symptoms of SAD during the winter months. Added to this, dogs pick up on our moods, so if we are affected by SAD our dogs are more likely to show the symptoms too.

If you find your dog is quieter during winter, keep an eye on the amount of food you are giving him - it's all too easy for inactive dogs to pile on the weight, so you may need to cut back on the rations. You could also try making exercise time more exciting to lift your dogs spirits - short, energetic games are more fun than long walks on cold, dark evenings. Try playing fetch with a favorite toy, or a game of frisbie. Games like that lift both your spirits and keep you warm!

[Source: DogTopic.com]