Sometimes you may wonder how seasonal changes affect your pet. Like they were fine a few months ago. However, you notice your pets that show affection always suddenly become a grumpy grandpa. Also, their eating pattern is not the same. Or, they are not joyful like before. Yes, it is possible that all these are the impacts of seasonal variations.
However, your worrisome days have come to an end. This article has all the answers to your queries regarding your pet’s behavior and health changes. Also, we have discussed the full-proof solutions at the end. Stay with us!
What Is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a depression type that follows a seasonal pattern. And it can reoccur from time to time. By definition, SAD includes noticeable changes in mood and behavior associated with seasonal differences. As per the NIMH report, the major SAD symptoms can last 4/5 months a year. And those signs are related to clinical depression. Some of the symptoms are-
- Trouble sleeping
- Lethargic feeling
- Inability to concentrate
- Feeling hopeless
- A lack of interest in favourite tasks
Most often, SAD appears as the ”winter depression.” In early winter, patients begin to show critical SAD symptoms.
Do Pets Get Seasonal Affective Disorder?
In a PDSA feature article (October 2020), their veterinarians had claimed that SAD in pets is uncommon.
Additionally, Dr. Jerry Klein, the AKC’S chief veterinary officer, clarified that SAD in animals had not been detected yet. This is because no model was there.
However, the latest research on grass rats and hamsters has shown how seasonal changes may affect them negatively. Klein said that this experiment indicated depression in the rats and the hamsters. It happened when they were in less daylight.
Lastly, according to Klein, SAD in humans may impact their dogs‘(or other pets’) mood. And this can happen due to exposure to low light.
How Seasonal Changes Affect Your Pet
With every season, your pet’s life undergoes a variety of changes. Consequently, they need to adapt to some mental plus physical differences. And it shows up mainly in the colder seasons. Also, sometimes your pet might need therapy to get well. Without further ado, let us discover how seasonal changes affect your pet.
An Appetite Change
The most common seasonal effect is the change in your pet’s appetite. This is because the variation in timetable affects your pet’s metabolism and hormonal balance. As a result, their food intake fluctuates.
For example, when the days are longer (like the summer and springtime), the brain sends a signal for a decrease in appetite. That results in a drop in the metabolism rate.
Similarly, the body demands more energy in the colder seasons (fall and winter). Hence, your pets may seem hungrier, and it is a normal hormonal reaction. Well, to keep the average body temperature, their diet requires more nutritious foods.
You can’t ignore the psychological changes while uncovering the facts on how seasonal changes affect your pet. We have already covered the research info on SAD in animals in the earlier section. According to research, some pets show behavior changes like humans in different seasons.
In summary, you will see more playful pets around you during sunny days. Alternatively, the long, gloomy winter nights may cause behavioral changes like-
- Being aggressive
- Seeking constant attention
- Not following the usual potty routine
- Losing hair
Fur Coat Changes
The freezing seasons have a bad effect on most pet’s skin. Due to the temperature falling, their fur coats get bushier to adjust to the weather. Also, this cold weather causes severe dry skin. Gradually it may lead to various skin issues like dandruff and flaky skin.
Alternatively, the summertime does not always bring happy moments. The outbreak of parasites like flea and ticks increases during this time.
Aggressive Symptoms in The Joints
Here is another crucial pointer on how seasonal changes affect your pet. Just like humans, the animal body also becomes vulnerable when winter approaches. Thus, their bone health gets affected. Consequently, they may show symptoms like joint pain and stiffness, arthritis, depression, crankiness, reluctance to move/jump, etc.
Paw Health Suffers
Covering your pet’s body does not solve the cold problem. Other harsh sides of winter can harm your pet’s paws. This is because your pets are vulnerable to dryness and cracking of the paw pads. Also, there remains the risk of frostbite and trauma in case of extreme cold. Moreover, your region may use chemicals to melt snow. It can also damage their paws.
How To Take Care of Your Pet in Cooler Months?
As you have gone through the above section on how seasonal changes affect your pet, now it’s time to find some feasible solutions. Let us talk over the necessary steps a bit.
- Firstly, your older pets need extra care during the cold months. Hence, we suggest consulting the vet if you notice any unusual activities from them.
- After that, maintaining the apt room temperature is necessary for you and your pets. In addition, it would be awesome if you could provide them with a warm place to curl up.
- Your pet requires regular grooming to avoid matting. Hence, make arrangements for coats (with thin fur) or blankets for them if possible. Also, we recommend not taking them outside without any protection for paws.
- Then again, if your pet refuses the outside tours, you might want to supply him with extra litter boxes.
And last but not least – being in winter does not necessarily mean that you all should go into hibernation. Your pets would need to continue the regular exercise. As a result, they will stay fit. Another thing is exercising or playing fun games will prevent boredom in pets. However, in low outside temperatures, we recommend indoor playtime.
In-Home Health and Safety for Your Pet
How pets affect your health negatively, or how do pets affect humans’ lives – these doubts are real. If you fail to prepare for the precautions, their health deterioration can adversely impact your daily life.
Therefore, here we go some preventive measures to ensure your pet’s safety all year round-
- Please don’t keep your pets on tiled floors or basements, not even in summer. These areas are usually ice-cold and can harm the pet directly.
- A dry environment inside the home can lead to skin problems, dry eyes, dry noses, breathing difficulties, etc. It is, therefore, a smart idea to use a humidifier. And we recommend models that can humidify and purify the air simultaneously.
- While planning your pet’s fur, consider adding skin conditioners. For the most helpful product recommendation, consult your vet.
Last, of all, keep portable heaters or fireplaces away from your pet. Also, you should turn off the heater when there is no one to supervise the pet.
Going through the above symptoms and solutions may get you a bit worked up. However, think about the changes your body goes through during that course of seasons. At least you can take the necessary measures instantly for you and your family. But your pets are unable to speak out about their problems.
So, it’s your good vibe and love for them that will assist you in communicating correctly. Try to observe their body language mood swings when the fall time comes. As you have discovered the pain points of how seasonal changes affect your pet, it will now get easier to make them comfortable.