Winter is rough on everyone, especially as it draws to an end. We have endured months of staying inside, sometimes fairly isolated. Days have been gloomy and dark, and so is our mood. Many people suffer from S.A.D, or Seasonal Affective Disorder and can become lethargic, depressed and generally have no energy or interest in anything.
If your dog is behaving in this fashion, you may wonder if he or she has this condition. Dogs do not actually suffer from S.A.D. but you might be causing your dog to exhibit these signs. Instead of watching and worrying about your pooch that is laying there like a lump, consider what you have been doing.
Dogs are very intuitive to our feelings, especially if we are very close to them and spend a lot of time together. Have you ever noticed how excited your dog gets when you are excited about something? Think about when you are sad, anxious or not feeling well. Your dog seems to “tune in” and mimic the same emotions you are showing.
If you are exhibiting signs of the winter blahs and just sitting around in a comfy chair, your dog will gladly just lay there with you. If you sleep late and have no energy to get up and do anything, your dog will stay curled up beside you. If any of this sounds familiar, you need to change your mood before you can change Fido’s.
Try turning on some extra lights, even though you might be trying to save on an electric bill. Sitting around in a dimly lit room, will cause your mood to be dimly lit as well. Open your curtains on a sunny day and let the sun shine in. Chances are your dog will find that sunny spot and sit there enjoying the bright light.
Force yourself to bundle up and take him or her for a walk when the sun is peeking out. We all tend to shorten outdoor time when it is cold and nasty out, but we are depriving our self and our furry friend of fresh air and a brighter light then our home offers.
If it is too cold and nasty to be out, put on a happy face and think of ways to entertain your pooch. Rather you think you do it or not, your dog may feel neglected or confused by your lack of interaction. Sure sitting in a recliner watching television with him on your lap is spending time together, but remember that a little of that goes a long way.
The dog has spent several months shut up in the house, just like you have. Think about how upbeat you feel when you get company? You have someone to interact with and you feel better. Your dog acts happier, simply because you are happier. Your dog can’t shake off the winter blues until you do, so it’s up to you to get the two of you up and moving!
Lisa Mason is a dog owner and writer for Doggie Clothesline, an online dog clothing boutique that features dog accessories and custom dog gifts as well.