As soon as the magic of Christmas leaves after the New Year and we clean up the last Christmas decoration, we would like to welcome spring. Do you feel the same way? But we still have many long winter evenings and gloomy weather ahead of us. If you are a lover of the cold winter, we apologize for the negative introduction, but it is not only us humans who look forward to the first rays of the sun, even among dogs there are those who do not like the cold. And mainly for the soul.
You've probably heard of seasonal affective disorder. And maybe you got to know her firsthand. A bad mood sticks to you like a tick, you're tired, you don't want anything and little excites you. Can dogs also suffer from seasonal affective disorder?
Dogs and depression
Let's first clarify whether dogs can suffer from depression. According to dog behaviorist Scott Sheafer, they actually can. Of course, it cannot be said with certainty, but it is likely that the furry ones are dealing with something that could be called depression. And this is also confirmed by the fact that dogs respond positively to antidepressants.
And what about seasonal affective disorder? Its culprit is the change of season. Some human individuals are sensitive to it, and the same can be the case with furry ones. Unfortunately, science is not yet far enough for dogs to tell us themselves whether short days and little sunlight are behind their change in behavior, but they show similar symptoms as humans. Just like us, dogs produce melatonin, a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle. When it gets dark outside, the body produces more melatonin, which induces a feeling of sleepiness. Scientists believe that overproduction of melatonin can contribute to seasonal affective disorder, and since dogs also produce this hormone, it is likely that they can develop the disorder as well.
How to recognize seasonal affective disorder?
Whatever depression the dog is experiencing, you will notice it by a sudden change in behavior. The furry one is indifferent to everything, suddenly nothing cheers him up, he is not interested, he is tired. However, these symptoms can also be attributed to other diseases, so it is necessary to rule out physical problems during the diagnosis and only then focus on psychological ones.
How to help a dog?
Once you've ruled out any physical problems that could be causing your dog to be sad, focus on stimulating him physically and mentally. Come up with a program that will occupy his mind and help him get well again. Also focus on how you feel. Are you also in the mood for a dog? If you and your dog are life-and-death partners, it's quite possible that your mental state affects your furry friend's mood as well. Dogs are also often sensitive to changes in their daily routine. Therefore, if you started skipping the walk that the dog is used to because of the cold and early darkness, the sudden change could cause him anxiety and discomfort.