Dogs On Thursday: Do Dogs Get SAD?

SAD, as in "Seasonal Affective Disorder", the one that affects people when they are deprived of adequate sunlight. It is a type of depression, and like most of the psychological disorders, people can experience SAD from a mild to a disabling degree. The only known effective treatment is getting enough exposure to full-spectrum light through either sunshine or therapy lamps.

Like clockwork, every day Abbie plants herself in a pool of sunshine and follows the sun as it moves across the southern sky. She starts off in the lower level, catching the early morning rays, moves upstairs to our bedroom where she gets sunshine through mid-afternoon. At that point, you can always find her basking on the stairwell.

Yet with all of the sunshine exposure she gets, Abbie still seems depressed. You can see it in her eyes, but it's especially noticeable in her ears - they just droop lately. She acts like she doesn't have any energy. She drags herself around, instead of her normal little trot. She doesn't get out of her bed to welcome me home at night and greets me with the barest little thump of her tail (one of her nicknames is "Thumperbelle" because of how furiously her tail is usually wagging). She sighs frequently - deep, heaving sighs. She's not as interested in grooming her stuffed animals. In short, she is Pathetic.

Chloe, on the other hand is fine. It's true she sometimes stays snuggled in her warm bed a little longer on cold mornings, but don't we all? I'm sure she's not sick - not only did she recently have her annual checkup with the wonderful Dr. Don, but she's eating, drinking and pooping normally.

Mr. C said he just thinks she's bored (but he didn't follow up on my suggestion to take her to Disneyworld). I believe that my poor little beagle baby has SAD. Unfortunately, she has a mommy who believes that if you're not bleeding or vomiting you'll be okay so we aren't going to be shelling out enormous sums of money for light therapy lamps. Instead, I'm making an extra effort to have longer playtimes with her, giving her regular deep-pressure puppy massage, and trying to find new routes (with new smells) on our weekend walks to get by until springtime.
And being much more tolerant of her using the back of my knitting chair as her personal hammock. It is, after all, therapy.

(For more information on SAD, check out this website.)


Dianne said...

It looks like she has found the perfect spot to relax while waiting for Spring. You'll just have to find somewhere else to knit!

Nichole said...

Dogs naturally seem to follow the sun spots - esp in the house when its colder... our dogs lay in them for warmth and comfort.
I think all dogs get the winter dumps just like us too... They are VERY much like humans you know!
Don't worry too much about it... just give some extra scratchies & playtime!

BeccaU said...

I think you're on to something. Jackson does the same thing, following the sun puddles - he's a solar charged dog. When it's a gray day, overcast, rainy or snowy it's like he calls in sick - he just wants to curl up on your lap under a blanket!

lora said...

Poor pup. If she's bored, you could provide challenges for her while you're gone. Ideas from the book Caninestein include kibble-dispensing balls, peanut butter inside pvc pipe, and toys & treats & crumpled paper inside a taped cardboard box the dog has to destroy to get the goodies. Or maybe its just doggie hibernation. Good luck.

Rhonda said...

Gr8 photos - esp of the one where doggie is upside down in the sun! But Saaaad (pardon the pun) situation. I give mine supplements-the human kind, inexpensive. You should consider the same.

Come by mine and see how unbelievable the wrinkly pups are I posted - Happy DOT!

vegasangelbrat said...

Aw poor Abbie, her and Cleo are really cute! Love the chair position..lol

Anne said...

Aw :( She looks sad in that top photo that's for sure! I'm sure more lovins will go a long way to making her feel better1

Mindy said...

Maybe Chloe's energy will rub off a little bit on Abbie. The extra playtime should make her feel better too. I love the hammock chair!

Life's a Stitch said...

I can so identify with Abbie. I LOVE a nap with sunlight shining on me through the window. We have portable therapy lights at work that people can check out and use on their desks while they're working.

Sonya said...

Give her some extra pats and doggie love from me.
I know how she feels. What's worse than seeing them like this, is watching them grieve for a lost dog/cat buddy. You are sad anyway and then your heart breaks a little more for the one left behind.