After a long, cold, and often wet winter, spring can’t come soon enough. And it doesn’t seem to just be us that are full of the joys of a new season… This spring fever seems to affect our dogs too.
Owners will often say they think their dog has more energy in spring (commonly know as spring fever) and is far more active. But does the change of season really affect them?
The answer is… We don’t really know!
Some dogs seem more active in the winter and love nothing more than bounding through puddles and mud, especially those who were originally bred to work all day every day. Whereas others would seemingly rather hibernate!
But spring certainly seems to put a bounce in most paws.
What puts a spring in their step?
When we consider why that might be, what we do know is the thing that affects our dogs most is us and our behaviour.
We also know dogs have a natural circadian rhythm – a daily cycle that is linked to the light/dark pattern of the earth and its seasons. This pattern of light affects sleep cycles, hormone levels, brain wave activity, body temperature – and, of course, behaviour and activity.
This makes dogs naturally more active in the early morning from sunrise for an hour or two and then again in the evening from around 5-11pm ish. If you’ve ever laughed at the ‘evening zoomies,’ you know what I mean!
The problem in the winter is for most of us, these periods of natural canine activity fall when we are already hard at work. And at times when the last thing we’re thinking about is going for a long walk.
In these fairly bleak months, our dog walks generally get shorter as there is less daylight. There’s not as much time to get out before and after work – when we do get out it’s wet, muddy and a bit miserable, and we tend to be less active too. This can often lead to dogs becoming less active, bored and even putting on a few kilos…
In contrast, when the clocks change, it’s far easier to have a long walk before you start your working day. Then get out for a break at lunchtime too – and have a long walk in the evening. This fits in far better with your dog’s natural sleep wake pattern and activity levels.
You’re also far more inspired to get to active training classes such as agility, hoopers, pet gun dog etc. Or meet up with friends for long dog walks, maybe stop in a café or pub garden along the way? Or just take a drive to a new location to walk.
So life gets far more interesting and fun for your dog and they’re spending more quality time with you. This makes their life far better, lifts their mood state, and is far more enriching. No wonder they’re full of the joys of spring!
This article refers only to the type of ‘spring fever’ that creates restlessness and excitement around the start of spring. You can find more information on hay fever and seasonal allergies in our other blog posts, or please speak to your vet for advice.
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