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Dogs and Seasonal Affective Disorder
I came across this article. I know many people are affected by the winter darkness. I never thought about it causing problems for dogs.
It would be good to watch for the symptoms and help the dog before it gets too sad. This must be a bad winter. It is not just dark, it is also cold and icy. I wonder if light therapy would work for dogs.
I have all my reptile grow lights and I never notice the winter until I have to go out. Sadly I have to do that too much. I would rather cuddle a pet under a heat lamp.Smiley4
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In dogs, symptoms include lethargy, neediness, behavioral changes such as aggression and inappropriate pottying, and a general feeling of “blah.” In extreme or extended cases, even hair loss can occur.
Yes, I suppose this could happen. When the weather is very bleak outside, then it's bound to affect them. And like the article said, part of this might be to do with changes in routine -for instance not going for their walks as usual.
In the extreme weather that a large part of the United States has had lately, then a dog walk might be tough-going. But most dogs don't mind a bit of cold weather under less extreme conditions, and often love playing in snow. Many of them don't care about it being a rainy day either. They just like to be out and about.

I used to take my dog out in most weather and keep up her normal routines, and she liked that. She wore a coat if it was very cold, or to keep her a bit drier if it was pelting down with rain. But she did want to be doing something.

If the weather got really REALLY bad, and it was just madness to be out -we played games inside, up and down the stairs, hunt the ball and squeaky toy, hide and name it. We would maybe do these games for an hour! She loved this, was grinning and happy. She didn't seem to get SAD.

Oh I really miss those days.....and the fun we had.

However, it is natural for many animals to need to sleep more in winter, and not always a sign of depression. (even for us.) Depending on how much exercise they get in cold weather they might need to eat more too, than in warmer weather.
I think of it as the hibernation effect. For some animals staying in and sleeping more is a good idea. I makes them less vulnerable to the cold weather. It has been a bad winter. It has been very cold and often quite dangerously icy with a lot of snow. So walks are harder to get and probably even the dog doesn't want to be out too long.

I think what gets to us is how short the days are and how little sun we get. It is dark when we go to work and dark when we go home. Even the dogs miss the sunshine.

Still some people and some animals are affected more seriously. The darkness makes them actually depressed. For people, light therapy works. It does have to be a very bright light. I would think it would make a dog feel better too. Of course a trip to a warmer country might do the trick even better.Smiley4
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