Freezing temperatures, a lackluster sun, and bare, solemn trees come around every winter, and while the holidays have a way of elevating moods, once the new year arrives, it can feel like this weather will go on forever! With cold, dreary days still going strong, those winter blues have a way of bringing down everyone, including your dog.
Don’t let your dog feel down and out this season---here’s what you need to know about seasonal affective disorder in dogs and what you can do to help keep your dog happy and healthy.
How to Tell If Your Dog Suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder?
It’s important to know the signs of SAD in dogs to properly recognize if your dog could be suffering from the disorder. Here are a few suspected signs of SAD:
- Your dog seems withdrawn. Your dog may seem less willing to play with toys and interact like usual.
- Your dog is lethargic. Is your high-energy dog suddenly down in the dumps? It could be due to mood changes from depression.
- Your dog sleeps more. Lethargy often comes with longer naps, so if your dog is also sleeping more frequently or for longer than normal, it could be due to SAD.
- Your dog is suddenly eating more or less than normal.People aren’t the only ones who might binge on sweets or forgo eating their usual amounts. You might see a decrease or an increase in how much food your dog eats if depression is at play.
- You see behavioral changes.Your dog may seem more aggressive, have accidents, bark more frequently, and destroy items around the house if there is an underlying mood or other health issues.
Remember, every dog is different, so some signs of seasonal affective disorder could be your dog’s norm or could be due to another underlying problem, whereas other signs could be due to SAD.
How to Treat Seasonal Affective Disorder in Dogs?
Dogs might benefit from the same kinds of lifestyle changes that help improve our moods, making combating seasonal affective disorder a team effort. Check out these tips for treating SAD:
3. Stick to a Routine
Whether rain or shine, snow or frost, you should still try to keep to your everyday routine with your dog. Dogs thrive on a consistent schedule, so if you’re both bundled up inside in the dark, this could affect your dog’s mood, as well as your own! Try to go on regular adventures out of the house, even if it’s just for a short while, as changing settings can do wonders for elevating mental stimulation and boosting energy levels.
4. Spend Quality Time Together
Those new year’s resolutions might have you deep into your latest work or health goals, but sometimes it can be hard to slow down that ambition and make quality time for you and your dog. Consider setting new year’s goals with your dog. Bonding with your doggo can help keep your dog from feeling lonely and under-stimulated when it’s just too cold to get outside for some fun.
5. Make Time for Indoor Play
On days when blizzards are blasting or ice is a slippery danger zone, you might find that going outside with your dog isn’t an option. Indoor play with your dog is just as important as outdoor play and can increase endorphins and improve moods.
Best Dog Toys for Elevating Moods
Though not a treatment for SAD, having the right toys on hand can make indoor playtime with your dog an exciting and mentally stimulating time.
Here are a few of our top picks for boosting your dog’s mood:
Since you’re probably not set on tossing a fetching friend around your home, the next best option for getting those wiggles out of your restless dog on a snowy day is to choose a tug-of-war toy.
The Bumi Tug Toy is a great option because you can play tug-of-war with your dog when the weather is unsuitable for outdoor play and then take this sporty little retrieving toy outside once the weather is clear and warm! Its colorful and unique shape will be sure to get your dog motivated to play.
Another dog favorite is the Beco Rope Ball, which takes a regular ball to the next level. Your dog will love chasing and tugging this irresistible and fun toy around the house! This toy is extremely durable and made from cotton, natural rubber, and rice husk fibers.
*Dog toys are not a substitute for treating potential health conditions in your dog. If you suspect your dog is exhibiting unusual changes in mood, behavior, or health, contact the veterinarian.
Until next time--