The season changing can bring about a change in ourselves and, by close association with our home-dwelling fur-companions, change in them too.
During this COVID time, the change in season may bring about some anxiety as we prepare to stay indoors more with darker evenings and cold weather. Our anxiety can absolutely rub off on our oh-so-clever pets. In leaving them to go outdoors to work or otherwise, the concern is then for the separation anxiety we are seeing more cases of, see our previous blog on this.
Dog walks may become shorter due to the shorter daylight hours and where we go for our walks may change. My dog swims less or not at all in winter as the colder water gives her rudder tail so trips to the river, the lakes and even the beaches become much fewer. Autumn in our area has shown increased cases of seasonal canine illness each year in particular forest areas so we no longer venture there at this time of year, choosing more field or road walks.
We are lucky that we find airfields with foot paths and fenced fields for doggy play time. We turn our attention to more sniffer training as this uses a different part of their bran. Whilst humans lead our lives using sight as our initial sense, dogs use the sense of smell. It’s a smelly world and they can get conditioned by us to look for cues and objects rather than sniff so developing this immense skill is very rewarding.
Our pets get so very used to creature comforts that I have no doubt that cosy nights in by the fire are enjoyed as much by them as they are us. This naturally leads to more playtimes, more cuddles and affection, more grooming and examinations from mummy and daddy which can only serve to help pick up any changes we want to detect. We also turn our attention more to dental care with chew toys, chewy treats and brushing teeth. Nature can be so distracting and some of these things do get omitted for an extra walk or extra playtime in the better weather!
The cat has her summer weight and her winter weight. In the summer months she is out all hours of the day and night exploring and, in the winter,, she takes on a different personality, one where she sleep most of the day and all night in her cosiest bed. Thereby, her weight increased. I try not to worry too much and keep a close eye on it (many health conditions in cats are linked to carrying too many pounds) waiting for lighter days and her exercising to return. If she would keep a collar on I would be making sure hers was a reflective one. Reflective gear is also donned on myself and the dogs evening in at dusk.
So, as with all things there will be positives and negatives for our pets. Don’t forget being loved, fed and exercised is all they need for a happy life, whatever the weather!