We know that seasonal variations can affect a person’s mood—a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Winter’s shorter days limit our long-term exposure to sunlight. 

This can change the brain’s chemistry, causing an increase in melatonin production and a decrease in serotonin production, the chemical that enhances mood and social function.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) manifests itself in various ways, including a loss of appetite, low energy, and overall sadness that lasts until the days lengthen again in the spring. 

Seasonal Dog Disorder

Behavioral Changes Observed During the Winter

According to a survey, one in three pet owners in the United Kingdom noted changes in their pets’ behavior over the winter months. Among them were the following:

  • Increasing the frequency of barking
  • Aggression and destructive conduct are on the rise, while fun is on the decline.
  • Spending more time sleeping
  • Reduced appetite or weight loss
  • Increased shedding or fur loss

While it’s reasonable to assume that dogs are impacted by the seasons in the same way that humans are, it’s crucial to remember that the poll was done.

Other Assumptions for the Symptoms of SAD in Dogs

Other factors could be at play when dogs appear “meh” during the cold, dark months. For starters, we know that dogs frequently mimic their masters’ actions and moods. Dogs’ emotional intelligence allows them to detect and respond to specific human behaviors.

A dog living with human suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, for example, will observe a change in the owners’ behavior toward a more passive and low-energy way of life. 

However, getting outside for exercise and play during the cold months may be more difficult. 

The accumulation of “indoor time” that results may lead to boredom. Physical movement, play, and sniffing all the many aromas outside are all critical to dogs. 

Seasonal Dog Disorder

How to Help Your Dog Through the Winter 

  1. Resist the impulse to hibernate and spend as much time as possible outside with your pet, even if the weather isn’t ideal. Physical activity and exposure to sunlight (however faint) will help lift your spirits when you’re feeling down.
  2. Alternatively, consider bringing artificial light into your home. Lightboxes can help restore normal levels of melatonin and serotonin by replacing the decreasing light during the winter months.
  3. Make indoor playtime a reality. Winter is the best time to spend most of your dog toy cash, especially if you live in a cold climate! Purchase a few interactive puzzle toys or brain teasers for your pet, such as this one. Don’t just leave your dog’s toys lying around the house; get down on the floor with him and play tug-of-war or retrieve down the corridor. This mental stimulation and interactive play will not only enhance your friendship with your pet but will also keep you both entertained and happy!
  4. Supplements should be used with caution. Vitamin D is advised for humans suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder, but it is not indicated for dogs. Dogs can be hazardous if they get too much vitamin D, and most store-bought dog chow has enough vitamin D. Fish oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, can aid a dog’s cognitive performance. However, before including this in your dog’s food, consult your veterinarian.