Top tips for winter walks with your dog

It is important to protect your pooch on walks during winter months as the temperature drops. You may be tempted to stay indoors where it’s nice and cosy but it’s vital to keep up with your dog’s exercise to prevent any unwanted weight gain and provide mental stimulation for them.

Emma Purnell, at Registered Veterinary Nurse at Nutravet comments: “winter walks are a great way for them to experience the smells and sights of the season, as well as keeping their joints mobile. Some dogs, such as smaller breeds and senior pets, are more vulnerable to cold weather and it is important to keep an extra eye on them.

“During wintertime it’s important to consider the temperatures. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. If it’s too cold to venture outside, you could exercise your pooch in the home with some fun games.”

How cold is too cold for a dog walk?

Generally, it is recommended for dog owners to take extra care when temperatures drop to 7’C or below. When deciding if it is too cold, it’s important to factor in your dog’s age, breed, size and acclimatisation to the climate you live in.

Wrap up warm

Despite your dog having a fur coat, adding an extra layer during winter months can be beneficial. This will not only keep them warm on walks but also dry. Make sure the coat is comfortable and fits properly to prevent overheating or sores. Don’t force your dog to wear a coat if they really don’t like it.

Consider shorter walks

In colder weather you could reduce the amount of time you walk your dog. The longer your dog spends outside, the lower their body temperature will drop. If they still need some exercise, consider playing indoor games once you return from your short walk.

Time of day

It’s usually colder early in the morning and late at night. Plan your dog walks around this by going out at warmer times of the day – mid morning or early afternoon, if possible.

Keep them on the lead

When the weather is particularly icy or snowy keep your dog on the lead during walks. Roads and pavements can become more slippery and keeping them on the lead, close to you, will keep them safe and prevent falls or injury. By walking your dog on the lead you can also keep closer control of where your dog walks. If your dog is off the lead they may venture onto dangerous ground, such as deep holes or frozen ponds or lakes.

Don’t let them eat snow

Some dogs enjoy catching falling snow in their mouth. However, don’t let your dog eat snow that is frozen on the ground. Toxic substances may have contaminated the snow such as de-icer or antifreeze and your dog is at risk of ingesting potentially harmful bacteria from other animal’s faeces. Eating snow in large quantities could also dangerously lower your dog’s body temperature.

Avoid frostbite

Walking on ice and cold surfaces could make your dog’s paws sore. If your dog seems uncomfortable or starts to limp, check their paws for ice balls and remove them while out walking. You could buy your dog some boots to wear during winter walks.

Paw care

When you get home from your walk, remember to dry your dog’s paws with a towel and clean them if they are muddy. You can also give them a warm (not hot) water bath when you get home. This will help remove any salt they may have walked in, which can be toxic if ingested.

Support their joints

Cold winter conditions can exasperate stiff joints. If your dog has joint stiffness or reduced mobility keep walks shorter and avoid slippery or rugged terrains. Consider using Nutraquin+ to support your dog’s joints. Nutraquin+ contains the necessary high strength ingredients that help maintain healthy joint function, whilst supporting the natural systems that control inflammation.

Dogs Trust issues advice to keep dogs warm and safe during cold spell

As the temperature begins to drop, and snow and freezing weather set to hit parts of the UK, Dogs Trust is urging owners to follow some simple steps to keep their dogs safe and warm this winter.

While many people enjoy a winter stroll, the cold weather poses several risks to dogs and their owners. To help ensure dogs remain healthy and happy, the nation’s largest dog welfare charity has published some easy-to-follow guidance.

Stay warm

Dogs feel the cold just like we do, so it is important to keep them warm. Some breeds grow thick furry coats all year round, so, as the weather gets colder, consider letting your dog’s fur grow longer to give them added protection. Some shorter-haired pooches and puppies may need a little bit of help staying warm, so consider buying them a sensible winter coat. Wearing a coat is a new experience for some dogs and needs to be introduced in a gradual and positive way.

Keep your dog on the lead

If it’s snowing, keep your dog on a lead to protect and prevent them from falling and hurting themselves. Snow can be disorientating for dogs, and they can become easily lost in it. Make sure your dog is wearing a collar, and their microchip details are up to date.

Wipe after walking

Make sure you wipe your dog’s legs, feet and stomach after a walk, as grit from the roads and dampness from rain or snow can irritate their skin.

Don’t let your dog walk on frozen ponds

The ice may not be thick enough to take their weight. If your dog does fall through the ice never be tempted to go in after them. If possible, encourage them to swim back to you and call the emergency services.

Avoid antifreeze

It is highly poisonous but tasty to dogs. Make sure you always keep antifreeze and other chemicals well out of reach and be sure to quickly mop up any spills. Always seek veterinary advice if you think your dog has ingested any.

Increase visibility

Your own safety is important too. Before heading out for a walk, make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the weather with a suitable coat and shoes, and ensure you and your dog are visible. As the days grow shorter, consider wearing a high-vis jacket, and use a reflective collar, lead, high visibility coat or flashing collar for your dog. Coats and flashing collars should be introduced gradually to ensure dogs are comfortable wearing them.

Check your lead

Regularly check your dog’s leads, collars and harnesses to make sure they’re all functioning safely and won’t get damaged by winter weather, as wet weather can cause metal clips to rust. It can be trickier to do up lead clips and carabiners and attach them to collars and harnesses when it’s cold, so do this indoors if you can.

Consider indoor games

You might be spending more time indoors if the weather’s very bad, so always make sure your dog has plenty to do. Indoor games like hide and seek, or ‘find it’, are fun and mentally stimulating for your dog. Hide a toy for them to search for and play with them as a reward when they find them. Long-lasting tasty chews, or rubber food-releasing toys and enrichment games are useful for giving your dog something enjoyable to do that is mentally stimulating.

Beckie Wheldon, Canine Behaviour Officer at Dogs Trust, says: “Winter walks can be a lot of fun for both people and dogs alike, and many dogs love to run and play in the snow. But this cold weather brings with it some extra hazards for dogs and their owners.

“The good news is that there are lots of simple things you can do to help your pooch stay safe and warm during cold weather, including keeping your dog on a lead as conditions worsen, wiping their paws after a walk, and taking steps to improve both your own and your dog’s visibility.”
For further information on keeping your dog safe and happy over the winter, visit:


Toyota partners with Yorkshire vet Peter Wright on safe travel and first aid tips when taking dogs out and about

Toyota has teamed up with Peter Wright, star of The Yorkshire Vet TV series, to provide advice on safety when travelling with a dog in the car, and simple animal first aid tips – from cuts and wounds to bee stings.

Peter Wright has almost 40 years’ experience, covering the Yorkshire moors and dales from his practice at the Grace Lane surgery in Kirkbymoorside. He uses his own Toyota RAV4 Plug-in hybrid electric SUV to visit his patients both large and small.  The car is also the perfect choice for pet owners who prioritise the comfort and well-being of both two and four legged passengers, as it was recently voted the Best Car for Dog Owners in the 2023 Auto Trader New Car Awards. It has all the space needed to carry family members and dogs, and owners can tailor their car to suit their pet with a range of Toyota accessories, including boot liners and dog guards.

Toyota’s top tips for transporting dogs by car:

Secure your dog in the car: The Highway Code states that dogs must be ‘suitably restrained’ in the car to prevent them from distracting the driver, or causing harm to themselves, or other passengers.

In the unfortunate event of a crash, an unrestrained dog can be thrown forward with significant force, leading to severe injuries to the dog and potentially causing harm to the driver or passengers, depending on the dog’s size.

Choose the right restraint: To keep your dog safe in the car, consider using a dog safety harness clipped to a rear seat belt plug, a travelling crate in the boot, or a dog grill that separates the luggage area from the rear seats.

Peter Wright’s tips on simple first aid for dogs:

Once the car journey is over and the walk begins, there are a whole host of potential minor injuries and health issues that a dog can experience.  Peter therefore advises: “It’s really useful to keep a simple first aid kit for the dog, in the back of the car, containing the following items, which are relatively inexpensive and readily available from your vet or a local or online pet store:

  • A pair of 5” blunt ended curved scissors – to safely trim matted hair around a wound or to cut dressings as needed.
  • Tweezers or forceps: These are essential for removing thorns, small glass pieces, or other foreign materials from your dog’s paws or skin, including stings.
  • Dog nail clippers: if your dog partially breaks a nail while out walking, nail clippers can be very useful to prevent further discomfort.
  • Non-allergic disposable gloves: invaluable if your dog encounters something toxic or unpleasant. They allow you to clean your dog without direct contact with harmful substances. It’s also useful to carry water in the back of the car (around 5 litres) for washing off any contaminants.  This is useful to remove fox poo too.
  • Bandages: cuts and wounds on the dogs pads or limbs are common issues encountered when going for a walk, so 5cm vetwrap and conforming, sticky tape eg micropore and a small roll of cotton wool, are really useful to keep in the car. To address bleeding from a wound, a conforming bandage, vet wrap, and gauze dressing can be used to apply pressure and protect the wound until you can reach a vet.
  • Cotton wool: keep cotton wool in your first aid kit for additional layers in the dressing or for cleaning wounds with diluted antiseptic using Chlorhexidine and sterile water.
  • Antihistamine tablets, eg Piriton 10mg: if your dog is stung by a wasp or bee, having antihistamine tablets, like a 10 mg Piriton tablet, is helpful and safe for any size of dog.
  • Well-fitting muzzle: this can be extremely helpful in emergency situations, especially after a car accident when your dog might be distressed, frightened, or in pain. It can be used to protect both your dog and those helping.

Peter concludes: “While you can deal with minor health incidents yourself, you should always have your veterinarian’s contact details readily available. In emergencies, when stress levels are high, quick access to your vet’s information, or the details of an emergency local vet can make a significant difference.”

Charities working together to provide over a million meals to the Nation’s pets

Thousands of dogs and cats across the UK have been enjoying nutritious meals at no cost to their owners, through a programme set up by leading animal charities and the UK’s biggest food waste charity.

The Pet Food Partnership, comprising Battersea, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, RSPCA and FareShare, and supported by Petplan, recently passed the significant milestone of one million meals provided to dogs and cats in England, Scotland and Wales.

To date the programme has provided the equivalent of 1,043,095 meals, approximately 154 tonnes of pet food donated by pet food manufacturers across the UK, during a time when many owners are having to cut costs wherever they can, including what they spend on their beloved pets.

Over the last year the cost of living crisis has continued to have an impact on pets and the animal welfare sector, with many dogs and cats being brought to rescue centres by heartbroken owners no longer able to afford to care for them. FareShare has also seen skyrocketing demand for food, with more people needing support to feed themselves and their families as they struggle to make ends meet.

As the nation prepares to head into another cold winter, facing higher energy bills, the charities fear that many owners will be struggling to cover their living costs. With the programme’s pet food continuing to be distributed to those that need it the most, the partnership hopes that this will give pet owners one less expense to worry about.

A spokesperson for the Pet Food Partnership, said: “We know how important pets are to the people that love them, and that many owners would rather go hungry themselves than let their pet go without a meal. We believe no one should ever have to make that choice. That’s why we started this programme – to offer struggling owners a helping hand and fill pet food bowls across the UK.

“While reaching the million meals milestone is a great example of how effective working together can be, it is also a sad indicator of how many owners continue to struggle as a result of rising costs. From the dog owners up in Aberdeen, to the people with cats down in Plymouth, we’re here to help keep pets well-fed this winter.”

The partnership was created at the end of 2022 with the goal of helping owners struggling to feed their pets during the cost of living crisis. With the animal charities working together to secure pet food donations from leading suppliers including Mars Petcare, Lily’s Kitchen, Pets at Home and Purina, plus additional support from trade industry body UK Pet Food to help co-ordinate and bring in further donations, the food is then distributed to the people and their pets who need it via FareShare’s network of over 8,500 community groups and charities across the UK, supported by a generous donation towards transportation costs from Petplan, the UK’s number one pet insurer.

Dalton-in-Furness dog lover hopes to raise hundreds of pounds for homeless hounds with her Santa Paws grotto

A Dalton-in-Furness dog lover is hoping to help homeless hounds have a paw-sitively amazing Christmas by hosting a Santa Paws Grotto at her home throughout December.

Laura Curtis is setting up the cosy Christmas stop-off outside her Market Street home and from Friday (1 December) is inviting passers-by and their four-legged friends inside to take a festive photo in return for donating to Dogs Trust, which has a centre in Penrith.

Plus, in the week running-up to Christmas and on Christmas Day itself, visiting furry friends will be able to have some festive fun by sniffing out a special present for themselves.

Laura, who is 35, says: “I absolutely adore dogs and have two, which I can’t imagine living without. To think that many dogs don’t have families of their own and won’t be spending Christmas in a loving home is really sad, so I wanted to do something fun for dogs and their owners whilst raising money to help Dogs Trust give their dogs everything they need throughout the year, not just at Christmas.

“I have bought around 100 presents so wrapping them has been a mammoth task, but it will be worth it to see lots of waggy tails and smiling faces and know that dogs without a home are benefiting too.”

Dogs Trust Cumbria opened in January last year and thanks to a network of foster carers has gone on to find forever homes for more than 400 dogs in need. Throughout the UK, Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, cares for around 14,000 dogs every year.

Lisa Spence, Manager at Dogs Trust Cumbria, says: “This is such a lovely idea. Laura will bring joy to local dogs whilst helping others that are less fortunate than them. The fact that she is fundraising on Christmas Day itself too is amazing.

“We always make sure our dogs have a very special Christmas, but we can only do what we do all year round because of incredible people like Laura. We want to say a huge thank you to her and all the Dalton-in-Furness dogs and owners that support her over the next few weeks.”

If you would like to support Laura, please go to

RSPCA reunites cat who was missing for two years (and found in neighbouring street)

A microchip has helped the RSPCA reunite an elderly cat who was found just metres away from her home in Greater Manchester after being missing for two years.

Black cat Alfie, 13, was returned to her shocked owner Judith Moss after the charity had been called to Herbert Street in Droylsden, where the friendly feline had been turning up at John Street Social club for a couple of months.

She was collected by RSPCA animal rescue officer Lee Ferrans at the beginning of November after people at the social club became concerned that she wasn’t bearing weight on one of her front legs.

A scan by Lee revealed she was microchipped and had been missing from her home in John Street – which is just around the corner – for two years.

Although it’s not known where, and how far, Alfie may have been going, Mrs Moss – who walks past the social club several days a week on her way to work – said she was such a friendly-natured cat it’s likely she could have befriended a number of different people during her time away.

The RSPCA says the story illustrates why microchipping – which will be compulsory from June next year for cats aged 20 weeks and older – is the most reliable way of ensuring owners are reunited with lost, injured or stolen pets, no matter how far they have travelled or how long they have been missing.

“Alfie has always been a bit of a wanderer and she’s a very friendly cat with the loudest purr who’ll go up and say hello to anyone,” said Mrs Moss. “She had a collar on and I’d got her microchipped, and if she went off she came back.

“But obviously this time, when there was no sign of her for so long, I was beginning to think she wouldn’t return.

“It was a bit of a shock when I heard from Lee to say she’d been found, especially as I go past the social club on my way to work, it’s literally just round the corner. I’d love to know what she’s been up to for the past two years. My guess is that she’s made some friends and been getting fed somewhere, although I’d searched the area and never seen her. Maybe now she’s two years older she’ll have put her adventures behind her and stay put – I hope so!”

Alfie (who was Mrs Moss’ daughter’s cat originally and at first thought to be male) has settled in well since she returned home and has been reunited with Rosie, the other cat in the household.

“More often than not when I pick up a stray cat, the animal isn’t microchipped which is frustrating, especially when you suspect the cat is owned and is probably someone’s pet and you want to be able to return them home,” said Lee, who thanked everyone at John Street Social for looking out for Alfie.

He added: “I was a bit flabbergasted when I found out how long she’d been missing for. Apart from a minor issue with her leg, she was in really good condition for a cat of her age. Her coat was lovely and I think she’s definitely had people looking out for her. Stories like this show that microchipping works, and how important it is to keep your contact details up to date, and I’m delighted to have been able to reunite her with Judith.”

It was announced by the government in March that from 10 June 2024 it will be a legal requirement to microchip pet cats once they reach 20 weeks of age. Owners will also be required to keep their contact details up-to-date on a pet microchipping database. People who fail to do so will have 21 days to get one implanted or they may face a fine of up to £500.

The easy and painless procedure involves a tiny microchip being quickly and simply inserted under the animal’s skin, which then gives the pet their own unique code. The microchip can be scanned and matched to the owner’s contact details which are kept on a database. The RSPCA believes the optimum time to microchip a cat is when they are neutered as a kitten at around four-months-old and under anaesthetic.

If an owner moves house or changes their telephone number they must also make sure that they tell the database they are registered with so that they have up-to-date contact details. If the information on that database is old and out-of-date then the chip is useless. Telling your vet does not automatically update the details on the database, but this is something owners can do themselves online.

Whilst the RSPCA is delighted to see cat microchipping laws being introduced in England, the charity is also hopeful that the Welsh Government will act and introduce compulsory microchipping for cats too.

In January this year, a microchip helped the RSPCA to reunite a cat who’d been missing for seven years. Black and white Raffael disappeared from his home in Old Trafford in December 2016. He was picked up by one of the charity’s officers in Longsight after someone had reported him injured in their garden. A scan revealed he was microchipped and the charity was able to return him to his delighted family who lived about five miles away.

Information about what to do if you find a lost or stray cat is available on the RSPCA’s website.

Pet owners spend £140 a week on holiday pet care, says Go.Compare

One-quarter of pet owners spend an average of £140 per week on care for their animal companions when they go on holiday, according to recent research.

Animal lovers across the UK are adding hundreds per week onto their holiday costs to ensure their pets are looked after while they’re away. Although almost half (47%) of pet owners spend nothing by relying on family and friends to care for their pets, many are forking out to cover the costs of professional services.

A new survey by Go.Compare Pet Insurance found that when going on a staycation, a quarter (26%) of pet owners spend between £10 and £30 per day on care. One in five pet owners spends less than £10 a day, but for 8% of owners, daily pet care costs can climb from between £31 and £50 to more than £71.

These prices affect the majority of animal-loving Brits, as more than two-thirds (70%) of pet owners must organise care for their animals when they’re on a staycation holiday. Luckily, 69% of these pet owners can leave their animals with family or friends, saving money on professional care costs.

However, close to a third (30%) of owners choose to take their pets with them. As well as saving money on professional care, Go.Compare’s research reveals that pet-friendly accommodation is cheaper on average than non-pet-friendly options, meaning owners could save more all-round.

According to data gathered by the insurance comparison site, accommodation for one week for two adults costs an average of £920. Yet, adding one pet to the stay reduces the cost by £80 to just £840 on average. The price for two adults and two pets is still lower on average, by around £7.40 per night.

Ceri McMillan, pet insurance expert at Go.Compare, said: “As much as we love our pets, it’s not always possible to bring them away with us, which means that arranging care for our animals is a necessity for most owners. For some, this can equate to hundreds in added holiday costs or reaching out to friends or relatives for help.

“Dog owners are lucky to have a little more flexibility for staycations, as Britain becomes increasingly more pet-friendly. If you’re able to, it’s worth considering the cost of taking your dog with you – something that only just over half of dog owners currently choose to do. Our research shows you’ll not only save on care costs, but accommodation might be cheaper, too!”

More information about our pet care cost comparison, including the cost of different types of professional pet care can be found on Go.Compare’s website.

Burns Pet Nutrition partners with Mog the Forgetful Cat

Burns Pet Nutrition is excited to announce the purrfect pet partnership with Judith Kerr’s timeless picture book, Mog the Forgetful Cat.

To celebrate 100 years since the birth of Judith Kerr, one of the most loved children’s authors and illustrators of all time, the collaboration is treating a lucky family of four to a fun-packed day out to any UK Safari Park, plus travel and spending money.

Burns, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, launched a new dry cat food range a few months ago, which is designed to cut out common allergens and includes four tasty new vet-developed recipes including Kitten Chicken & Rice, Adult Cat Chicken & Brown Rice, Turkey & Brown Rice and Sensitive Duck & Potato.

Burns has officially teamed up with HarperCollins Children’s books, giving cat-lovers across the UK & Northern Ireland a chance to win a family UK Safari day, along with runner-up prizes of Judith Kerr book sets including Mog the Forgetful Cat, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, a Mog plush and Mog cat bowl.

John Burns, Founder, commented: “As our brand continues to grow and expand, we are delighted to collaborate with an iconic fictional cat. Our aim is to evoke the same joy that readers experience with Judith Kerr’s timeless stories.”

To enter for a chance to win, scan the QR code of Burns Natural Dog and Cat food, or head to

Created by Judith Kerr the author/illustrator and based on the antics of her first family cat, the Mog series of books started with Mog the Forgetful Cat, which was first published in 1970 by HarperCollins Children’s Books and has never been out of print.  The warm-hearted and funny adventures went on to inspire a further 17 picture books in the series, selling over four million copies worldwide and translated into 21 languages.

The competition will run until 31st Dec 2023.

Charity vets share Christmas chocolate warning

With the festive season about to be in full swing, vet charity PDSA has issued a chocolate warning for all pet owners before the nation opens door number one on their choc-stocked advent calendars.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Shauna Walsh, said “Christmas is a fun-filled time for many, and often very chocolate-filled too! We all want to be able to enjoy festivities without any disasters, so it’s really important for pet owners to keep chocolate safely away from curious paws.

“It’s no surprise, over the last 15 years, more chocolate poison incidents are reported in December than any of the other months*. Chocolate contains a substance called theobromine, which is perfectly safe for humans, but toxic for dogs, cats and rabbits.

“The seriousness of chocolate poisoning depends on how much chocolate your pet has eaten, how big they are, and the cocoa content of the chocolate – the darker the chocolate the more toxic it is for your pet.”

In PDSA’s 48 Pet Hospitals the charity sees a 35% increase in a medication used to treat poisonings around Christmas, which could be linked to the abundance of dangerous food in the home such as chocolates and mince pies.

It can cost as much as £300 to treat a dog for chocolate poisoning, but the real risk isn’t the cost, it’s the serious risk to their health.

“The most severe cases of chocolate poisoning in pets can lead to heart failure, coma and even death. Although this is rare this is why it’s really important to keep chocolate safely away from prying paws. Especially during celebrations like Christmas when there’s likely more chocolate than usual in the house – with an estimated over 16 million chocolate advent calendars sold in the UK each year**.”

Symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually appear within two to four hours, but can take up to 12 hours. In severe cases, toxicity can cause:

  • Fast breathing or panting
  • Shaking, trembling and tremors
  • High temperature (fever)
  • Seizures
  • A fast heart rate
  • High blood pressure

It’s also important to be aware of mild symptoms too:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Signs of abdominal discomfort/pain

If you think your pet could have ingested some chocolate, don’t wait for chocolate poisoning symptoms to appear, keep the packaging and call your vet immediately.

Thousands of people could suffer a devastating loss because they can’t afford their pets veterinary treatment, together this Christmas we can save pets lives. For more information on how you can help PDSA keep people and pets together this visit:

*Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) data, 2023

**Business Waste,


Dog behaviourists reveal why our pets can feel SAD, just the same as humans

Whilst it’s common knowledge that 2 million people in the UK suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD), did you know that dogs can be impacted by it too?

Vet charity PDSA found that 1 in 3 dog owners notice their pets appear down or depressed during the dreary, cold months, which equates to around four million dogs across the UK.

With this in mind, the outdoor dog gear experts at Ruffwear have collaborated with Rachel Rodgers, clinical animal behaviouralist at Nose to Trail, on how dogs can suffer from SAD, how to spot if your dog is experiencing SAD and how to overcome it with your four-legged friends.

Speaking to Ruffwear, clinical animal behaviourist Rachel Rodgers said, “When the clocks change, and the dark nights draw in, this can be the time where people notice their dog showing signs of ‘sadness’ or ‘doggy depression’ similar to SAD. Dogs typically thrive off routine, so when this changes, it can throw them off.

“Many breeds, particularly younger dogs with lots of energy, really do need ample amounts of exercise. Hence, if you’re out working all day and then not doing as much with them in the evening, what we may see is them being quite bored and miserable. It isn’t just the physical activity they are missing out on, but walks provide mental stimulation.

“Sniffing releases dopamine which has a calming effect on the brain, it also lowers heart rate and blood pressure so has other benefits for the dogs which they may be missing out on at this time of year.”

Photo credit: Ruffwear

Six signs that your dog is suffering from SAD

In order to spot if your dog is suffering from SAD, Ruffwear have provided the top six signs to look out for this winter.

Changes in their sleeping patterns

Much like humans, dogs can experience a change in sleeping patterns which can be influenced by their owners. Excessive sleeping or difficulty sleeping can be indicative of emotional distress.

Decreased energy levels

If your dog seems unusually tired, lacks energy, or is less interested in activities they usually enjoy, it might be a sign of SAD. This can also manifest itself in your dog not wanting to go on walks or not being as physically active as usual.

Naughty and destructive behaviour

During the winter months, in comparison to low energy levels, some dogs may exhibit destructive behaviour. This can include the likes of chewing furniture or personal items.

These naughty and destructive behaviours tend to occur when they are feeling stressed or anxious, and also a result of boredom.

Withdrawal and less interaction

Dogs that are feeling down may withdraw from social interactions. They might not greet you at the door as enthusiastically as usual or may prefer to be alone.

Changes in appetite

A decrease or increase in appetite can be a sign of emotional distress. Some dogs may lose interest in food, while others may start eating more than usual.

Increased vocalisation

Some dogs may express their distress through increased whining, barking, or howling. On the other hand, some dogs may become unusually quiet.

Four expert tips to overcome SAD with your dog

If you’ve spotted these signs of SAD in your dog, Ruffwear have also provided their top tips on how to help overcome it and set a new routine.

It’s important to note that the first thing you should do is to check with your vet to ensure there is no underlying pain causing your dog to seem depressed, as this can sometimes cause behavioural changes in our pets.

Teach your dog a few new tricks

The saying goes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but when it’s dark and miserable outside, work through some new training.

Make feeding fun

If your dog isn’t getting excited about their feeding time, something is definitely up. Try to make meal times a little more exciting for them by using puzzle games or fun treat dispensers.

Increase your one-on-one time

Spend more one-on-one time with your dog. Rachel advises “As we get closer to the festive season some people will be out more vising friends and family, or at the office Christmas do and your dog may just be missing that social companionship with you.”

Prep for next year

Once you’ve figured out what works for both of you, you can keep this in mind for next year. You know your dog better than anyone, and if you notice something isn’t right with your dog, it’s always best to have a plan in place for when the miserable weather comes back around.