Many of us feel trapped in our homes during the winter season because of the cold, snow and other weather associated with this time of year. If your dog or cat is an outdoor pet, goes outdoors occasionally or rarely at all, they too can be affected by the gloomy days of winter. As we get restless throughout the winter, we are described as having “cabin fever” although there is an actual condition known as seasonal affective disorder or “SAD.” The friendly staff at your local Rockford Petsmart or Petco (or a location nearest to your home) can help you with necessary supplies to help your pet through the cold winter season.
Seasonal affective disorder is described as a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance. Human with this condition may show signs of crying, binge eating, excessive fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, depression and lethargy. So how does seasonal affective disorder affect your pets? Your dog and cat may not actually suffer from “SAD” although your pets are probably mirroring your symptoms. Felines seem to adapt a lot easier since most cats are indoor pets, so the changing seasons may not affect them as much. Dogs however to go out in order to do their business, and it can be a problem for some of them that can get lost in the snow. There is not as much a problem with the snow as it is with the frigid temperatures. Despite the size of your dog, they should be limited to the amount of time they are outside, as they can be prone to frostbite, especially on their feet.
Being the pet parent of small dogs, I can tell you firsthand that it was quite a challenge to get them outside this morning after it snowed all day yesterday. On top of that, the temperatures have dropped. I had to go out to shovel a path for them and coax them to do their duty. As a pet parent you do what you need to do in order to protect your pets. When we bring them back inside, we have concerns with their pads of the feet, as you can imagine how cold it would be if you were to stand outside barefoot.
Smaller dogs usually aren’t real fond of the cold and snow, but there are many dogs that love to roll, romp and play in the fluffy white stuff. That is certainly not a problem as long as you limit the amount of time outdoors. Your dog may experience cabin fever for the lack of exercise that is not so easily accessible when the weather is not cooperative.
Because most cats are indoor pets, they may not experience cabin fever although may not have access to a sunny window or screened in porch that they have at other times of the year. Physical dynamics are altered during the change of seasons and dogs and cats can get depressed or anxious due to lack of certain activities that may be limited during the winter. Some of the signs and symptoms that your pets may be depressed are –
· Not wanting to play
· Loss of appetite
· Weight gain or loss
· Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
· Lack of interest in the family
· Lack of social interaction
Before bringing your dog or cat into the vet to get the depression diagnosed, consider how you have been feeling. Since your pets are so close to you and in tune to your feelings, the dog or cat can actually be reflecting off of how you are feeling. After all, your pets look up to you for guidance, and if you are feeling the effects of cabin fever, your pet will mirror those feelings.
If your dog or cat has shown any of the above signs of depression without any effects from you, call your vet to rule out any possible physical or medical issues. If you are the type of person that is not affected by cabin fever, but your dog or cat is showing signs of depression or anxiety, it is best to check with your vet for advice on how to care for your pet through the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder or “SAD.”
Depending on where you live, the length of the winter season can vary. If you and your dog feel a bit cooped up, get outside for normal activities as soon as the weather permits, even just for short periods of time. As for kitty, provide a safe sunny window when available, or try and get in a little playtime. In due time, activities will be back to normal and so will the pets in your life.
For Vet assistance in the Rockford area, you can check out – http://www.rockfordvetclinics.com/, http://bellwoodvets.com/, http://www.petswelcome.com/illinois/rockford/veterinarians.html http://www.perryvillepet.com/, http://bellwoodvets.com/services_surgical.php – for all cat issues, go to – http://local.catster.com/Spay_Neutering_Rockford_IL-p3154-Rockford_IL.html
For all your pets needs in Rockford, go to your local PETCO – 6305 East State Street, Rockford, IL 61108, (815) 229-0184 – http://www.petco.com/or your local PETSMART – 6320 East State Street, Rockford, IL 61108, (815) 397-7880 – http://stores.petsmart.com/result-details.php?store=493 – PETLAND, (815) 332-4200 – www.petland.com/
For many of your pets essentials, visit your local Rockford area CVS pharmacies. There are four convenient locations – 3134 11th Street, Rockford, IL 61109, (815)398-0048 – 110 S Alpine Rd, Rockford, IL 61108 – 3718 Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103, (815)877-9620- 2454 S. Alpine Rd.,
Rockford, IL 61108, (815)399-5421- http://www.cvsphoto.com/home
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