Do Dogs And Cats Suffer From Seasonal Affective Disorder?
That SAD is linked to low sunlight levels seems to be demonstrated by research that has compared winter depression in places with high levels of sunlight to those with low sunlight.
For example, one study showed that SAD was less common in Florida, which has high light levels in winter (only 1.4% of people were diagnosed with SAD), compared to New Hampshire, where the winter light levels are much lower (9.7% of people were diagnosed with SAD).
Dale suggests ensuring your cat’s or dog’s bed is situated near a sunny-side window. This is especially important for animals, such as indoor cats, who are unable to go outside. An increase in the amount of light entering your home means more light entering your pet’s pupils, which positively affects brain chemistry.
Use full spectrum lighting for both you and your animals during the months when natural sunlight is decreased, and you can’t get outside as much as you’d like.
Venturing outside is not only good for you, but for your companion, as well. It gives animals opportunities to move, ground themselves, and improve circulation. A side benefit is that your dog will get exposure to natural sunlight and be able to socialize with other dogs and people.
*Keep Them Engaged Indoors
There are several things you can do to enrich your pet’s indoor environment. With cats, Dale says you can promote their foraging instincts by placing food devices around the home, instead of bowl feeding them. Or try placing cat toys around the house horizontally and vertically, as well as rotating enriching toys and games.
With dogs, he says you can try something as simple as putting some kibble inside a plastic container. Your dog may enjoy the challenge of watching the kibble bounce, then empty from the container.
Making time to interact with your companion on a daily basis inside the home is essential to their wellbeing. If you need to be away from home for extended periods, letting them have access to a window can be beneficial.
I’m Bobbi Jo, a lab-lover who took my passion for animals and dogs and turned it into something bigger. When I adopted Jake and Maggie, my love for them became the driving force behind Two Adorable Labs, and my blog was born. My hope is to not only share them with the world, but to help educate others on the importance of animal health and well-being.
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