Sad Westie? Your Dog Could Have the January Blues

Dogs can also feel depressed just like humans

Dog lovers have been warned to ensure the current cold temperatures and lack of daylight hours aren’t giving their cherished pets the January blues. 

Just like us humans, dogs can struggle with their mental health at this time of year with thousands falling victim to something similar to Seasonally Affected Disorder (SAD), according to pet health experts from VitaPaws.

The experts claim that a lack of exercise and disruption in routine at this time of the year can leave dogs feeling anxious and depressed. 

Now they are urging all dog owners to make sure their pets get extra care across winter to ensure their mental as well as physical needs are being met. 

They say that many owners find themselves taking their dogs out for less walks during January and February as they are deterred by the dark mornings and evenings as well as the freezing cold temperatures. 

Those who do persist with their walking routines may opt for paved streets rather than letting their dogs off the lead to walk in muddy fields or parks. 

Dogs love routine so if they are used to running free in the park during the summer, spring, and autumn, they may feel depressed to be limited to street walks in winter. 

Canine welfare expert Samantha Greener at VitaPaws, said owners should be especially mindful of their dog’s mood during winter. 

She said: “January and February can be challenging for all of us and dogs are no different. It’s vital that owners are watchful for the tell-tale signs of doggie depression during winter. 

“If a dog goes off its food, if it’s sleeping more than usual or seems withdrawn, restless, and uninterested in games or exercise then you could have a seriously depressed dog on your hands. 

“Sadly, many owners aren’t fully aware of the amount of exercise their dog requires to be healthy as it can vary massively depending on the breed. 

“Naturally many owners will find themselves exercising their pets much less during the winter than at other times of the year. 

“But for an animal who has established an exercise routine, finding that time reduced can lead to anxiety and low mood.”

She said anyone who suspects their dog could be depressed should review their exercise regime and consider returning to the same pattern they practised at warmer times of the year. 

They can also consider reviewing their dog’s diet and consider a supplement to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they require. 

But she added that they should seek a vet’s opinion if their dog’s low mood persists to ensure it’s not related to an underlying health concern.

She said: “Most dogs will perk up with a bit more exercise and the opportunity to spend some quality time with their owners but if your dog’s mood doesn’t lift you should definitely seek a professional opinion.” 

For more information about canine health and nutrition please visit: 

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