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Albuquerque VetCo

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Happy Winter Solstice

winter doldrums petsHappy Winter Solstice! Today is the first official day of winter. This is also the longest night of the year. Every day after this until the summer solstice will have a little more light than the night before. But this brings us to the issue of daylight. Though New Mexico is not as bad for winter doldrums as a lot of other places, people and pets can still get SAD, seasonal affected disorder. This is basically where you get a bit, or a lot, depressed in the winter because you are not getting enough sunlight.

Most people don’t think that SAD might affect their pet, but it can. A lot of pets are having significantly reduced outdoor time, or going on fewer walks because it gets dark so early. You may not be taking them to the park as much because it is cold. Though we often like to hunker down with a cup of cocoa and a warm blanket, our dogs only like to do that so much. They also need to play and get out.

Watch your dog and see if they seem to have less energy, or are a bit depressed. Are they less interested in their favorite toys? Maybe they are sleeping a lot more than usual. Some pets get more destructive in the winter. They will chew shoes or socks, destroy their toys, or have more anxious behavior. Even if you don’t notice these things, getting outside with your pet is important to their mental and physical health, it will help yours too. Make some extra effort to go out for those walks, even if it is getting a little dark. Play in the morning or go to the park on the weekend. This will be very beneficial to your pet’s mental health. If you are really having a hard time getting out during the daytime, just make some extra effort to play with them inside. Sunlight is good but exercise is the best medicine for fighting winter doldrums.