Friday, 21 November 2008

Dog depression – help your dog beat the winter blues

As winter descends rapidly upon us it becomes evident that with the change in seasons comes Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a dilemma which can affect our four pawed friends as well as us.

According to a study by the veterinary charity PDSA, one in every three dog and cat owners notices a dip in their pets' moods during the colder and darker months of the year. Pets also echo humans in turning to comfort food to combat symptoms of fatigue and depression.

So as we retire to our winter wardrobes to try and combat those chilly daily walking sessions with our furry friends here are some tit bits to help you fight the winter blues indoors and outdoors.

Practice party tricks - if the weather outside is particularly lousy why not give your pooch a good workout inside. Throw a toy up and down the stairs or challenge him/her to learn some new party dog tricks which you can show off to your family and friends after Christmas dinner.

Change the chow - Offering a variety of pet food and will help keep your pet healthy and interested in eating. You might want to consider reducing the amount of food you are feeding your dog since they are often less active during the winter months. If your dog has gone off his food or is showing signs of depression, digestive problems or a sensitive stomach try adding a natural dog supplement such as Bionic Biotic for your dog’s health and vitality and to protect against illness.

Winter pet accessories – If your dog is small, has short hair, or is older, you may want to consider purchasing a nice winter jacket to help keep him warm and dry on walks or a heated pet bed or dog igloo for bedtime. If you don’t fancy splashing out on too much then you can opt for a warm pet blanket.

Play hide and seek – This is always a very engaging activity for your pooch. Try hiding a favourite toy or some healthy treats around the house and let your dog sniff them out. This will not only stimulate him but it will put an end to those boring evenings indoors for both of you. If it’s snowing outside why not hide a few treats in the snow and let your dog dig for them.

Get active and warm up – We can’t avoid taking our dogs on walks this winter so when we are faced with those really cold days keep warm by running with your dog instead of walking. That way you get to keep warm and your dog gets rid of all that pent up energy which can build up when you stay indoors. Still cold? then keep your hands warm with a pair of clickable heated pads. Or keep them in your pockets with a wrist walker.

If your dog suffers from joint stiffness and its harder for him to move and exercise during the colder months add a spoonful of Mobile Bones with glucosamine for dogs to his/her regular food to promote looser joints and healthier bones.

Glowing for walks – As the days get shorter and it gets darker earlier outside invest in a flashing collar and lead set. This will not only keep you both safe from any traffic or cyclists you encounter on your walks but will allow you to spot your dog up to a mile away in large fields or shrubs in case he/she wonders a step too far.

Don’t forget that just spending time with your dog can be the cure for those depressing nights in. A simple stroke or walk with your dog is proven to have therapeutic effects on humans.

Let us know your own tips for keeping your dog happy and active during the winter months.

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