Seasonal Affective Disorder

| October 3, 2013 | 0 Comments
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Lethargy is one of the symptoms of S.A.D. in dogs.

Lethargy is one of the symptoms of S.A.D. in dogs.

It’s raining in Seattle, and if history is any indicator, it may not stop for several months.   I’m reading up on Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) in dogs and getting depressed. It’s sobering to think that my cheery, cherubic and, dare I say, slightly chubby black Labrador can get down and out when the “Heart of Darkness” sets in; yet it is a very real phenomena.

Solutions for the blues

The good news is that for dogs, just like us humans, there are simple ways to ward off the blues. In fact, our canines naturally do it better since they aren’t plagued by our sometimes over-thinking brains. While some of the “solutions” seem a little over the top, like the idea of putting Fido under a heat lamp for a couple of hours a day or creating indoor obstacle courses for them when its wet and soggy outside; there are less ambitious solutions. The major emphasis in finding ways to keep your dog happy and keep that tail wagging is by each day getting them outdoors right away. I know for me if I don’t get moving in the morning, I can get lulled into the stupor that forced indoor heat and grey skies induce. Giving my dogs that routine walk is really important in keeping her tail wagging and weight down (for both of us). So I bundle up (the experts on S.A.D. emphasized the importance of that detail) to ensure I’m “dressing for the weather” and embrace the elements with him/her. A big bonus is if I can give her interaction with other dogs. I try and do that at least once a week. After all, I don’t want her to develop the doggie equivalent of becoming a “Seattle freeze” type. I love watching her run around in circles with other dogs and bowing down to the Alpha types in the crowd. She needs to keep her social skills fresh and see herself as part of the pack. These two things in and of themselves have helped keep the symptoms of S.A.D. at bay for both of us.

Nutrition

On the nutrition end, research has found that adding vitamin D supplement and Omega 3 oils to their food can help with S.A.D. as well as keeping their coat and skin healthy. I’m especially curious about this last idea because my sweet little Labrador is experiencing excessive shedding and a dry flaky coat which causes her owner itchy eyes. I want to know if these supplements will work so I ordered some from a company called DINOVITE and am going to track her progress. The people at DINOVITE assured me that by giving her this supplement I can cut the shedding by 75%. I’m skeptical but am going to film a before/after video that I’m hoping will substantiate their claim. If it works, my Labrador and I will be ecstatic.If it doesn’t work, they offer a “full refund”. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping to resell my Furminator when I get the stunning results from my experiment. I’ll keep readers updated on my progress so you can watch before you buy.

Extra warmth and love

For all this talk of the blues and S.A.D. in dogs, like us, I think they just need some extra warmth and love during the grey and wintry times. I’m sure if they could read, they’d be happy cozying up by the fire with Old Yeller or Where the Red Fern Grows just like I do. The truth is that S.A.D. doesn’t affect my dog half as much as it does me. I think she’s fine with slowing down a little as long as she still gets a little outdoor time everyday and maybe a little more indoor attention from me and the rest of her human family. Dogs, after all, are the quintessential Carpe Diem beings. They live in the moment all the time and are not plagued by existential thoughts on the Universe and Mankind – well except that thought of “I wonder if am I going to get an extra biscuit for bringing in the Sunday paper?.” Would break my (and her heart) if I take that biscuit away so I might just switch it to low fat until the sun comes out again.

Category : Feature Story, Health

Happy Mason

About the Author ()

Happy is a mother of two teenagers and married to Roy who had black labs growing up in Scottsdale, AZ. Happy grew up in a family of eleven children and so feels a den-like kinship with her dog, Jazzy (a black English lab), who is the most loveable affectionate dog she’s ever had. Jazzy has lots of quirky traits that are quite endearing to her owners. One of them is her habit of waiting for her owners to roll over in bed and then leaping onto it (even though she knows she’s not supposed to). She also obediently gets the paper every morning for a simple treat but never tires of the job and meets each morning with so much excitement that Happy often hears her tail wagging against the bedroom door when she knows it is almost time to go retrieve it. Happy loves walking with Jazzy and cuddling with her. She also likes cuddling with the rest of her human family Roy, Isabella, and Roy Jr.

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