Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common human ailment, as the darker, drearier days of the winter months cast us into low moods. But now new research reveals we may not be the only ones dreaming of summer sunshine!
A study commissioned by pet food manufacturer Forthglade has revealed that 61% of UK dog owners notice a considerable difference in the pet’s behaviour over the winter months, including a reluctance to get out of bed or go outside, and a tendency to eat more.
Experts believe less time in the sunshine is major factor to this depression and lethargy, with many owners admitting walks are less frequent at this time of year too.
Canine behaviourist Nick Jones said, “The long dark days of winter don’t just take a toll on the two-legged population. Our four-legged friends also feel the strain with many exhibiting symptoms that replicate the human condition Seasonal Affective Disorder.
“Lethargy, an increased appetite, irritability and a reluctance to go outside and exercise are typical behaviours exhibited by dogs in the colder months when natural sunlight is at a minimum.
“There are simple steps dog owners can take to help their pets. Taking walks in daylight hours is a must, and good nutrition also plays a very big part. Poor diet can be directly linked to lethargy and depression within canines. It’s more important than ever during winter months to feed your dog a healthy natural diet – comfort eating in winter is as bad for pets as it is for humans.”
But there are ways to combat this seasonal dip in mood. Try moving your pet’s bed under a sunny window, and encourage time in the garden during the few hours of light. When the weather is really bad, play some indoor games to keep your dog’s brain active, like hide and seek. As ever, keep your dog’s diet well-balanced – comfort eating is no long-term solution after all. And before you know it, spring will be here!