How do dogs behave during the colder season?
During the winter season, daylight becomes shorter and so does the time spent outdoors. Humans may find it easy to adjust but dogs may have a hard time handling such a seasonal change. According to veterinary experts, this could lead them to show some behaviours that are different from their normal character.
They may show:
- Loss of appetite
- Need of More Attention
While these behaviours have been found present in most of the dog breeds in colder months, these could also be tagged as signs of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
What is the Seasonal Affective Disorder?
SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder is a kind of depression (not only in dogs but in humans and other animals as well) that takes place during seasonal changes (especially during the cold months).
Dogs who have SAD may also stop doing things that they are likely to do as part of their normal self and normal routine.
For breeds who have been used to cold seasons, they may become more active and playful but for others who are not, the longer hours of having to stay indoors, the darker and gloomy days, and the colder nights could bring so much effect on their overall most especially their mental health. Being their owners, our dogs depend mostly on us on how they can cope with such a change.
How to Make Your Dog Happy During the Colder Months?
Keeping our dogs happy during the winter season could be a bit challenging for us dog parents however, it is important to make an extra effort in making them feel safe and loved. Here are some tips on how:
Exercise and Activities
Activities like a maze, scavenger hunt, hide and seek, and obstacle course are good examples of outdoor games/activities that you can engage your dog into to enjoy the cold season outside. Challenging activities that use mental stimulation are a great way to exert the energy from your dog without needing to stay outside too long in the cold. Mental stimulation combined with physical challenges can help your dog use more energy than just going for a walk. Make sure to use healthy treats as rewards at the end of the maze, such as Bell & Bone Freeze Dried Dog Treats.
Playing fetch (both indoors and outdoors)
Have you ever played fetch for 10 minutes with your dog? If you throw the ball far enough, they can lap up kilometres at a time. This is a great way to keep your dog active and mentally stimulated whilst you sip on your takeaway soy milk latte.
Stimulating our dogs' minds is also necessary during this time as it targets their mental being. Giving them such activities helps reduce the risk of anxiety, helping them to stay calm and relaxed by exerting built up energy through the challenge of a puzzle. Try a Lickimat as well full of treats, Greek yoghurt and superfood seeds like chia and flaxseed to keep them motivated too.
Learn New Tricks
Having to stay inside longer than usual is the perfect time to teach your dog new tricks. Tricks like rolling over, waiting, on-your-mat and even sitting on back legs are fun and challenging. Rewarding your dog with treats is the best way to motivate them to learn something new. Try Bell & Bone Freeze Dried range when learning new tricks as they are healthy, natural and guilt-free!
As the temperature gets colder, it is more likely that your dog's immune system could be threatened, making it even more important to up their intake of essential vitamins and nutrients. Choosing a healthy, natural food can help maintain the right level of nutrients needed to serve as their protection from the health risks brought by the cold weather. You might want to include those foods that are high in vitamins A and C, just like berries to help them fight colds, green and leafy vegetables such as Broccoli and Kale that are rich in fibre to help them maintain their weight the fact that they won't be burning as many calories during the normal seasons.
As the colder weather typically leads to fewer walks, this could affect their bones and joints as well as dry out their skin, coat, and nails. You may want to add supplements such as vitamin E and collagen to their diet.
Bell & Bone Collagen Sticks are made of natural ingredients and collagen that could assist in improving their hair, coat, skin, joints, and bones health.
Show some extra love
Still, nothing can beat the warmth that your dog could get from your embraces, time, love, and affection. Giving your fur baby a little more of these could definitely make him happy and could help ease that anxiety he's feeling because of the gloomy weather.