PDSA vets give advice on beating winter blues
Winter is steadily setting in, daylight hours are shorter and there’s a nip in the air. And, while many people think the winter months affect just us humans – causing us to feel more tired – Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may also cause our pets to feel down in the dumps too.
PDSA vet nurse, Katy Orton, says: “With the darker evenings and colder weather here, it may be that your pet prefers to stay indoors rather than burn off calories outdoors. Being at home in the warmth can seem far more appealing than romping around when it’s dark and cold outside. But, this can cause them to gain weight and become less and less active. Your pet may appear to have less energy, and just like us, may want to sleep more in the winter months.
"The cause of SAD in people isn’t fully understood but it is thought to be linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the winter, which increases melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that causes us to feel drowsy and low and it’s possible increased levels of this hormone affects our four-legged companions too.”
However, PDSA is urging pet owners to kick-start their pets’ winter health care routine, to help keep animals happy and healthy.
Katy adds: “If it’s difficult to go outside, there are various indoor games that you can play with your pet to help cheer them up. Just because it's winter doesn't mean your pet's diet and exercise plan should stop completely. For example, encourage cats to play with indoor toys and you can encourage them to move around more by putting their food around the house at different levels.
Dog-friendly, interactive toys can stop them from getting bored and stimulates their minds. Training, playing games and having fun with your dog will also help strengthen the bond between you. Even if your pet isn't in the mood to exercise as much as during the summer, it’s important to keep them stimulated when it isn’t possible to spend as much time outdoors. Keep an eye on your pets’ behaviour and if you’re worried about any changes, your local vet will be able to offer further tips and advice.
For more information and top tips on keeping your pets happy and healthy during winter months, visit: www.pdsa.org.uk.
PDSA is on a mission to educate the nation on pet wellbeing and is delighted that funding from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping the charity to continue this vital work. Pebzz is grateful to be working with such a great cause.