MOOD UNDER THE WEATHER - WHEN DOGS ARE SUFFERING FROM SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

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 still have it? But we still have many long winter evenings and gloomy weather ahead of us. If you are a lover of cold winter, we apologize for the negative introduction, but it is not only us humans who see the first rays of the sun, even among dogs there are those who do not like the cold. And especially on the soul.

You've probably heard of seasonal affective disorder. And maybe you got to know her firsthand. A bad mood clings to you like a pincer, you are 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 behavior expert Scott Sheafer, they actually can. Of course, it cannot be said with certainty, but it is likely that the guys 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 the season. Some human individuals are sensitive to it, and the same can be the case with furry ones. Unfortunately, science is not yet so far that dogs themselves can tell us whether their change in behavior is due to short days and little sunlight, 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 an overproduction of melatonin can contribute to seasonal affective disorder, and given that dogs also produce this hormone, it is likely that they can develop the disorder as well.

How to recognize seasonal affective disorder?

Whatever kind of depression a dog is experiencing, you will notice it by a sudden change in behavior. The furry 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 first rule out physical problems before focusing on psychological ones.

How to help the dog?

Once you've ruled out any physical problems that could make your dog sad, focus on both physical and mental stimulation. Come up with a program that will occupy his mind and help him get well again. Also focus on how you feel. Are you in the bad mood too? If you and your dog are partners for life and death, it is quite possible that your mental state affects the dog's mood as well. Dogs are also often sensitive to changes in their daily routine. Therefore, if, due to the winter and early darkness, you started skipping the walk that the dog is normally used to, the sudden change could cause him anxiety and discomfort.

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