Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cheer Up Pup! (Part I)

As Ottawa residents, we are not strangers to winter’s harsh temperatures, treacherous weather conditions, and dull, dark, dismal days. Unfortunately, for some of us, winter can take its toll as we succumb to what is commonly known as the "winter blues." Common symptoms of the winter blues include loss of energy, increased appetite, and feelings of depression.

Fortunately, when feeling the brunt of the winter season weighing down, we can find comfort and cheer in both the benefits and responsibilities that come with caring for our pets. Here’s how:
  •  Pets provide a unique form of simple, unconditional love and companionship. With a pet, any time together is uncomplicated, quality time spent: pets don’t complain; they don’t ask us to talk about our feelings; they don’t give advice we didn't ask for. Just love.
  • Caring for a pet keeps us active and engaged. Knowing we have to get out to walk the dog might be the only thing that gets us some fresh air and exercise on a gloomy winter day. Keeping active for our pets will help improve our energy levels and mood as well. And, simply caring for a pet each day can help keep us engaged and feeling valuable and needed, with a positive focus to get us through the winter.
  •  Pets connect us to people. Pets can be the easiest conversation starters with other people when we are feeling isolated in the dead of winter. Taking the dog for a walk or to the park might turn into a positive social experience meeting other animal lovers who may need a friendly chat as much as we do.
  • Pets keep us healthy. Research shows that owning a pet can be linked to lower blood pressure, a better balance of natural hormones and chemicals in our bodies, better fitness, and fewer visits to the doctor than those who choose not to keep an animal companion around.
So as we endure another frigid February here in Ottawa, hang in there, and know that comfort, companionship, and some help cheering up are just a tail-wag away.

Stay tuned: Next week we discuss how WE can help our pets cope with the winter blues. 

Andrea Tatarski
OHS Co-ordinator: Humane Education

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