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Monday, 18 August 2014

New season trends?

How do the seasons affect dogs?
Does their behaviour change depending on the season? Humans can get SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) where we feel more depressed when the days are longer, but can dogs suffer from a similar thing? And does day length affect them?

Anon, via email.


  1. Dogs are affected by the seasons but, therefore, these changes tend to be seasonal and not permanent.
    Day length drives many behavioural changes. Dogs tend to stir with the dawning of a new day, unless there are black-out blinds where they sleep, so they will wake up earlier in the summer than in winter.
    As the seasons move from winter to spring with a rise in environmental temperature, once the central heating is switched off the back door is more often left open. With easy access to the garden, I certainly notice that my Lab Smudge no longer spends the day asleep inside but is wandering around the garden - when he is not asleep in the sun on the lawn! My patients certainly find it easier to lose weight in the summer with this general increase in activity, coupled with the urge for owners to go out for longer walks more often. Conversely, bodyweight often rises in the winter.
    Some allergies are seasonal, for example tree and flower pollen, so changes in season can bring licking and paw-chewing behaviour when pollen counts are high.

    Alison Logan

  2. Dogs are subject to the Circadian Rhythm just like people. We share similar brain chemistry too. Organs in the brain such as the hippothalamus regulate the ability to sleep and anything that disturbs this will cause changes in the sleep pattern. There is also a gene that is responsible for sleep the DEC2 gene.

    Photoperiodism, (the physiological reaction to the length of day or night), is vital to animals, and the circadian system plays a role in the measurement and interpretation of day length. Day length is the most important environmental cue to animals that they will need to react to changes in the weather.

    Melatonin is secreted from the pineal gland during the hours of darkness, this hormone tells the body to be ready for seasonal changes, such as the coat changing and it chemically causes drowsiness

    I don't personally know any dogs with SAD but I do know that during the shorter days they will become less active, just like people.