A Paws For Pets — They get the winter blahs too

By Susan Rodabaugh, York Adopt A Pet

It is that time of year again when we are all tired of the cold and winter. We are suffering from “The Winter Blues.” I don’t think I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) yet I do not like winter. In fact, after this last month of cold temperatures and the ton of snow we got, it’s a wonder I can still function. Did you ever stop to think that maybe our pets suffer from the same dislike of winter that we do? Or do they feed off of our moods and depression?

The truth is yes to both questions. Cats and dogs can experience the difficulties of the winter blahs too. Our cats and dogs may encounter the same physiological problems that we will go through. It’s a tad more problematic for us, or we think, than for our pets. However, they can’t go shopping, to dinner, a movie, or out to do their favorite activity with their friends. Car rides may only help some of the pets who do like to travel. However, there are a few ideas I can give to help your cat or dog overcome some of their winter grumpy attitudes.  These will also help your attitude adjustment.

For cats it is simple — create extra play time with them, get them any toy that rolls, makes noise, has feathers or that they can chase. You can purchase wall shelves or cat tree, but by simply doing a few simple things it shouldn’t cost much. Some examples would be to simply add more light by opening a curtain or shade. Change where they hang out, by putting an additional light in the area. Give them a new shelf to lay on just by cleaning the clutter off one you already have. Put a box with an old sweater in an area they like to lay.  This may stimulate them and help them get over the winter blues.

For dogs an owner will need to create more mental stimulation and physical activity. This can be done through taking daily walks, playing fetch, tug of war or other games together. You could also provide puzzle toys that would challenge your dog’s mental status. When the temperatures are too cold to go outside, you can try introducing scent work or homemade agility course. Open the shade and get more light into the home and get your dog outside when possible.

Although the sun has begun to be out longer, it is still a great idea for you and your pets to get more mental and physical activity with each other. Adding 10 minutes a day will make a positive adjustment to the winter blues.

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