Friday, 27 January 2017

Dogs Also Suffer From Seasonal Affective Disorder

Winter blues hit us all but experts have revealed our DOGS could also be sharing our pain – with some even suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D).

Experts believe less time spent outside or in the sunshine during the winter months means dogs can suffer the same symptoms as humans who have the seasonal condition. These include an increased appetite, a reluctance to go outside, low mood and lethargy.

Sixty one per cent of UK dog owners said they also see a difference in their pets' behaviour as the nights draw in – with their canines appearing to be happier during the summer.

Commissioned by natural dog food producer, Forthglade, the research of 2,000 dog owners found 44 per cent have consulted an expert about their pet's S.A.D. – or considered it.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. 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.".

Seventy one per cent of respondents said their canines sleep more than usual in the winter. While other behavioural changes include begging for more food, taking themselves off to a quiet spot in the house alone and wanting to play less than usual.

Nearly a quarter of dog owners admit to using food and treats to try and improve their pet's mood.

Gerard Lovell, MD at Forthglade said: "Those of us who suffer from winter blues know how important it is to resist junk food and keep our diets healthy, and the same goes for our pets. Staying active and eating well – the secrets to winterproofing your dog!"

They sleep more
They are reluctant to go outside
They are less active than usual
They have less energy/ are lethargic
They eat more food generally
They seem hungrier
They take themselves off to a quiet place in the house
They eat more comfort food/beg for human food more often
They seem sadder than usual
They want to play less than usual

Have you noticed a behavioural difference in your pooch this winter? Let us know on Twitter @theladymagazine

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