We are getting closer to the end of winter, which most of us- including our pets- are thrilled about, yet we are noticing mood changes not only in ourselves but in our pets too. Winter can be a beautiful, majestic experience, but too much of that brown slush and scraping the car windshield one more time is going to drive you insane.
Since both humans and animals respond to light, various studies have shown that catching the winter blues is an effect of limited sunlight exposure.
- Melatonin, a hormone that helps
relaxation and sleepiness, is light sensitive, so the less light it receives results in more melatonin produced which is why we have that sluggish feeling more in the winter.
- Another hormone, serotonin, affects appetite, mood, and sleep, but needs light to produce these “feel good” sensations. Less light means less serotonin production in you and your pet.
Ways for your pet to beat the winter blues:
- Open blinds and curtains to let as much light in as possible
- Play inside games with your pets such as tug-of-war, wrestling, or hide and go seek
- Hide treats and scented toys around the house to boost their senses
- Venture outdoors for a roll in the snow or a brisk walk
During these lazy months, make sure you do not over feed your pets. They do not need as much food when their fitness levels are not high. Even though winter may feel like it is never ending, enjoying the simple pleasures of everyday life will cure you and your pup’s winter blues in no time.