The winter blues for your pet starts when the sun doesn’t shine as often and colder weather sets in. Yup, all that fun seems to come to screeching halt! If you also don’t have as much time to pay attention to him or her, all the worse for those pesky winter blues. And since today is Valentine’s Day, why not give ’em extra love?
Here’s how to help fight off your pet’s winter blues…
One of the best ways to avoid this is by maintaining your habit of taking them outside. They need fresh air and sunshine as much as you do. Take them outdoors even if the temperatures are cold and the wind is a little nippy. Their trip outdoors doesn’t have to be long. Being outside even for five or ten minutes can make a huge difference in your pet’s frame of mind.
Take them for a walk or a romp in the snow. Depending upon the type of pet you have, you can purchase a coat and booties for them so they stay warm. Let them run around in the fenced yard for a few minutes. When they come back in the house, dry their paws and coat so they won’t stay wet and possibly get chilled.
If your cat is used to going outdoors to tour the neighborhood, they may decide it simply isn’t worth getting cold to do it. They may sit longingly at the window watching people pass by in cars. Give them the opportunity to go out but don’t force them. They’ll go back out when they’re good and ready.
You can provide them a spot on a window sill to sun themselves in a southern-facing window. If you don’t have windows which will provide natural sunlight, clear off an area close to a heat vent for your pet to warm themselves. Even if they can’t get outdoors, they will appreciate a warm spot to take a nap.
Turn on a few more lights than normal to brighten your home. Your pets will respond to more light the same way you do. Open up the drapes to let in natural sunlight or replace your normal light bulbs with UV lights which might be used for indoor plants.
Light and heat are particularly important during winter months for reptiles such as snakes or lizards. Check with your veterinarian or do research to ensure you provide the right amount of both for your reptile friends.
Try to determine how much your pet’s food needs have changed, if any. Your pet may not eat as much during the colder months as they do in the warm ones. Begin by offering their normal amount of food and cut back if you notice they’re not eating.
Pay attention to how your pet acts as the days become shorter. If you notice they’re acting depressed, you can use some of these ideas to help them fight off the winter blues. Pets which are acting particularly depressed may need to see their vet to determine if there is a more serious problem or if they’re simply having winter blues, too.
And… Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too!