Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs at a certain time of the year, usually in the winter. With this winter hitting record breaking cold temperatures across much of the United States, many people are experiencing seasonal affective disorder. Those affected by SAD will generally begin to feel the symptoms of depression, including; a loss of energy, an increased appetite and an enhanced feeling of lethargy and tiredness.
But, what about our 4-leggeds? Are they also affected by SAD? Research by People’s Dispensory for Sick Animals (PDSA) in the UK, reported that animals can suffer from depression just like people. ďAccording to the PDSA poll, some pets display similar symptoms of the human disorder, SAD, which include fatigue, depressed mood and lack of energy,Ē said Elaine Pendlebury, Senior Veterinary Surgeon with PDSA.
- 43% of pets have less energy
- 59% of pets sleep for longer periods
- 47% of pets demand more affection from their owners
Dr. Jeff’s advice on how to help dogs who suffer from SAD:
- At least once a day, get them out for a brisk walk. Dogs that are moving slowly are going to feel the brunt of the cold.
- It’s best to get them out in the middle of the day, when itís the warmest and there is the most daylight. If you are gone during the day, get a dog walker that can expedite activity mid day.
- Create some special time every day to bond with your dog. Play tug of war with a toy, run around your house together, run them up and down the stairs, throw the ball down the stairs and ask them to bring it back up to you at the top of the stairs. This will not only help their circulation, but also keep them mentally stimulated.
- Don’t shoo them away when they want to play. Playtime is very important to their emotional health.
- If your dog is not as active in the winter, reduce his food by 10%.
Does your pet suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder? Share your experiences in a comment below.
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