How Seasonal Changes Affect Your Dogs

Winter Jack

Little Kernal, the Chihuahua, might need more than just a sweater with the weather getting colder as Fall turns to Winter. How exactly does seasonal change affect our pets? Here are a few interesting facts we have discovered…….

1.  Appetite     Seasonal changes in daylight and temperature trigger significant hormonal changes in mammals, altering metabolism and influencing food intake. The lengthening of daylight during the warmer Spring and Summer months signals this change to the most primitive part of the brain and its hormonal responses, resulting in decreased food seeking behavior and shifts in cellular metabolism. As winter approaches, the opposite response occurs. Lower temperatures require greater energy consumption to maintain body temperature. The shortening of daylight during this time triggers the brain to promote food seeking behavior and alter metabolism in order to promote fat storage in preparation for lean food sources during the winter months. So it’s not surprising to see dogs wanting more food in the winter.

2. Coat

Our pets shed during the spring to prepare their coats for a warmer climate in spring and summer, while the thickness of the coat increases in Fall to prepare for the colder days ahead. Warmer whether comes with tick and flea problems. Cold and dry winter weather causes dry skin and dandruff.

Tip: Add a couple of drops of olive oil to your dog’s food to promote healthy skin and coat.

3. Psychology

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that commonly occurs in humans, especially in the winter months when we spend less time outdoors, have minimal access to bright, sunny days, and have fewer hours of daylight each day. Evidence suggests that dogs, too, are affected by the lack of sunlight this time of year.

The dark, gloomy days and longer, colder nights of winter can cause dogs to develop Seasonal Affective Disorder, just like humans. In dogs, symptoms include lethargy, neediness, behavioral changes such as aggression and inappropriate pottying. In extreme or extended cases, even hair loss can occur.

4. Paws Health

Winter can be brutal on our dog’s paw pads. Exposed to the elements and toxic chemicals, the paw pads are at risk for drying, cracking, trauma, frostbite and chemical burns from salt and de-icers.

Tips: Apply a thin even layer of balm just before going out for a wintery walk. After the walk wipe your dog’s paws with a warm washcloth to remove snow, ice and ice melt. Then apply another layer of balm to soothe any irritation and to keep them from drying out. Dog boots are another good solution but just need a few trials for your dog to get used to wearing them.

5. Joints

The colder weather seems to bring up the stiffness and inflammation associated with arthritic joint disease in dogs. A lack of exercise due to being indoor more often probably contributes to the problem as well. Signs to watch out for which may indicate that a dog is suffering with arthritis include lameness in one or more limbs, stiffness, reluctance to jump, depression or grumpiness.



Seasons affect your pet’s appetite, Dr. Ken Tudor,, retrieved 9/2/2014

Winter Proofing Your Dog’s Paws, Ceasar’s Way,, retrieved 9/2/2014

Do Dogs Get Seasonal Affective Disorder in the Winter Months?, Brandy Arnold,, retrieved 9/2/2014

Caring For Your Dog In Winter, Dogs Life, retrieved 9/2/2014

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s