Winter blues? Summer highs? Fall and spring doldrums? We’ve all experienced some sort of mood shift due to weather changes especially when it comes to extreme temperatures. When the temperature is over 90 degrees out, we feel sluggish, lethargic, and disinclined to do anything active. Similarly, in the extreme cold (below freezing), we wrap up in warm clothes, hunker down, and stay indoors if at all possible.
Just like humans are affected by the changes to the weather so are your pets. It may not be as obvious (since they don’t complain about the weather!), but the signs are there and as pet owners we need to be cognizant of them.
Signs to be on the Lookout for in Your Pet
- Changes in eating patterns. Seasonal changes have a significant impact on the eating habits of dogs and cats. A recent study of cats’ eating behavior showed that cats ate the most premium cat food during the months of January, February, October, November, and December--the coldest months of the year. During the spring and fall, the cats ate an intermediate amount. And during the summer months (June, July, and August), cats ate the least amount of premium cat food.
- Changes in coat and skin. We’ve all experienced this one: shedding of fur in the spring and thickening of fur in the fall. Remember cats and dogs are domesticated animals, meaning at some point centuries ago they were wild. Animals’ preparation for the winter and summer months didn’t change because we wanted a cat to warm our laps or a dog to sit by our side! Since our pets are now primarily indoor animals, their skin can get dried out by being indoors during the winter. One solution is to add olive oil to your dog’s premium food or your cat’s premium food. A consult with a veterinarian also can help to relieve itchy and flaky skin.
- Changes in movement patterns. Our pets can suffer from arthritis and joint issues in the winter months especially in the extreme cold just like humans do. It can be hard to know if your pet is in pain, so watch for signs of stiffness (especially when getting up), depression, a reluctance to go on their normal daily walk or run, or even grumpiness. Be aware of the physical cues your dog or cat is “saying” to you.
- Changes in mood. No one knows definitively if dogs or cats suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), but it is a fact that the moods of dogs and cats change. This could be due to seasonal hormone fluctuations of melatonin and serotonin, which occurs in humans. Another possible cause could be the changes in our mood. Our pets mirror us and when we’re sad and lethargic, our pets can be as well.
Some Possible Causes of Seasonal Changes
- The change in daylight hours. As the hours increase along with the temperature outside, mammals become less active and thus need less energy and food. Hormonal changes and body metabolism kick in. Conversely, as the hours of daylight decrease and temperatures lower, animals need more energy and more food. In addition, this signals the need to store fat due to the forthcoming winter months when food historically was harder to find so animals will eat more to obtain this fat storage phase.
- The change in hormone levels. Hormones are just as important and complex in animals as they are in humans.Responsible for so many of our actions and bodily functions, hormonal changes in animals vary with the seasons.
What Does This Mean for Pet Owners?
Changes in eating patterns are often signs of something wrong with your pet. As always, a high-quality diet of premium cat food and premium dog food will go a long way in minimizing these seasonal changes. A probiotic supplement can be added to improve mood, behavior, and overall well-being.
Variations in food consumption for your dog and cat are normal. If your cat suddenly doesn’t eat its premium cat food for a few days, this is not something you should fret over. If your cat doesn’t eat its premium cat food for a week and is losing weight, then this sign might entail a call to your veterinarian.
However, the important lesson from seasonal variations is to be aware of eating habits of your individual cat or dog. What holds true for one pet may not hold true for another. Keep in mind that seasons do affect your pet when evaluating its eating patterns.
Special Note for Pet Owners who Struggle with Obese Pets
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats in the US are obese or overweight. Interestingly, 22% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners said their pet’s weight was normal when it was actually overweight or obese. Just like in humans, obesity leads to a slew of health problems for dogs and cats: diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, skin disease, thyroid problems, heart, respiratory, and kidney disease, some cancers, and decreased life expectancy just to name a few.
Knowing the research behind eating habits and seasons can help pet owners manage obesity in pets especially if you have a pet that eats past the point of fullness. A pet owner can adjust the amount of food offered during meals based on the seasons. Thus, feed your pet less premium cat food or premium dog food in the summer months when they require the least and more in the winter months.
Some of us may struggle with this. We should not feel guilty because we’re feeding our pets less. No, they’re not starving despite the “sad eyes” they may be giving you. Just like children (and yes, our pets are our ‘fur babies’), you are 100% responsible for the care of your pet. It’s up to us to keep our pets at a healthy weight so they can be with us longer. Dogs and cats lead such short lives compared to humans. This is one reason we here at Viand Pet are so passionate about what we do: providing pet owners with the highest possible grade healthy food for dogs and cats in combination with specific herbal products.
If you haven’t yet considered Viand Pet’s holistic premium dog food or holistic premium cat food for your pets, we urge you to contact us today and get started. We all know the saying “you are what you eat.” The same goes for our pets. If we want them to lead the highest quality of life possible, we need to feed them the best pet food on the market. Viand Pet’s products are the epitome of premium dog food and premium cat food today. Visit us online today!
Not a lot can compare to losing a precious family member. Do what’s best for your pet and your pet will be with you for years to come, enriching your life in ways you never could have imagined.