Today, is supposedly the most depressing day of the year for us Brits - dubbed 'Blue Monday', the day of the year where we are, as a nation, feeling the most miserable. With Chrismas behind us, lots of failed new year resolutions and a lack of sunshine, safe to say many of us are feeling a little down in the dumps. Did you know however, that your four-legged friend may be feeling a little SAD too?
Research has shown that our four-legged friends can exhibit symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder during the winter months. Dogs by nature want to be outside in natural sunlight, exploring and getting their paws grubby, but for a number of reasons, these moments are missed. Many pet owners put off walking in the dark for safety reasons, while others don't like to get out with their dogs in the rain. This trend means that our dogs often take on a more sedentary lifestyle, with reduced exposure to daylight.
Recent statistics from our friends at PitPat show that of the 20,000 dogs across the country wearing their fitness monitors, their dogs are walked 20% less during the winter months. So even the most dedicated of owners don't escape the natural effect of winter weather on our dog-walking habits.
SAD is the result of two opposing hormones – Melatonin and Serotonin - and how the balance of these hormones are affected as a result of reduced light exposure during the winter. This lack of sunlight causes an increase in Melatonin, which makes mammals sleepier. It also leads to low levels of Serotonin (commonly known as the ‘Happy Hormone’), which can lead to depression and a craving for comfort food.
To find out more about Seasonal Affective Disorder, and to watch our video featuring canine behaviourist Nick Jones click here .