Blue Monday – Dog Days of Winter

Today is Blue Monday, considered the most depressing day of the year, but I have to wonder if our dogs get the winter blues as well?

Dog Days of Winter

I’m no expert, nor do I have any scientific facts, but I personally believe it’s possible for dogs to get the winter blues. Perhaps dogs aren’t affected the same way humans are when we feel blue, down or are depressed, but I think it may be more that our dogs are bored from lack of stimulation, exercise, and being outdoors less.

Blue Monday - Dog Days of Winter

Will summer ever return?

In my personal experience, winters, some years more than others, can be difficult for me and my pug Edie. Living in Canada you’d think we’d be used to the cold wintery weather by now. Canadians for the most part are a hardy breed, we think nothing of lighting up the barbecue in a winter snow storm, sitting in a hut in the middle of a frozen lake to fish, when the weather calls for temps to go above 5C we pull out our t-shirts and start planning our gardens. But even the hardiest of us Canadians and Canadian dogs start feeling the chill when the weather drops to -34C with windchill. Yes, there are still a few that can be found skating or playing hockey on outside ice rinks, but when we start breaking weather records for cold temperatures we tend to hunker down.

Not wasting any time being outside in this weather!

Over the past weeks we’ve broken records with extreme windchill advisories, cold weather alerts and been warned of potential frost bite within minutes for exposed skin. It’s days like these that not only effect me but effect my dog as well, and no matter the temperature or extreme weather warnings, my dog still need to go outside to do her “business” and she still needs some form of mental stimulation and physical activity to fend off the boredom.

So what do my dog Edie and I do to get through the long dark, cold snowy, dog days of winter?

Stimulation and Indoor Dog Play

On days that are not safe to be outside for any length of time, I play indoors with Edie. These indoor dog games can range from playing fetch back and forth in our hallway, hiding a favourite dog toy or treat for Edie to search for, even playing hide and seek where I go into another room and have Edie come find me. Cold weather days are the perfect opportunity to brush up on my dog’s commands, teach her new tricks, and get her used to wearing the all important dog boots needed to survive these freezing days.

My goal is to stimulate and ultimately, tire my dog out!

Socializing my Dog:

As much as I’d like to think I’m the light of my dog’s life 😉 Edie absolutely loves meeting and visiting with others, and if that includes a car ride then her day is made complete! When the winter weather does not allow to take my dog outside for any length of time I’ve been known to drive to local pet stores to walk up and down the isles, get in some exercise and meet up with other dogs and dog parents.

Blue Monday - Dog Days of Winter

Edie loves visiting at the Seniors Residence!

Over the past year I’ve been taking Edie to a Senior’s residence to visit with a family member. I honestly don’t know who gets the most joy out of these visits, my dog Edie, or the people she comes in contact with? Visits to the Senior residence is a great opportunity for Edie to learn self control, the importance of being gentle, and becoming comfortable coming in contact with wheelchairs, walkers and other health care products that dogs may not normally encounter on a daily basis.

What do you do with your dog to stay active, be happy, and keep motivated during the dog days of winter?

Author: Kelly Harding with Edie The Pug

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23 Comments

  1. I don’t know how you Canadians survive in such frigid weather. We have had -11 here in Pennsylvania where I am temporarily staying. My American Eskimo loves the snow and helps me clear the snow by pushing the shovel with his nose. He could stay outside all day and play…or at least until he gets hungry…lol

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    • I have to admit that the extreme temperatures we’ve been experiencing are not an everyday thing, and Canadians do love to talk and complain about the weather – cold or hot 😉 I imagine your American Eskimo would love the weather here!

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  2. I love seeing videos and photos of cats and dogs in snow. I also think they do get SAD (seasonal affective disorder) well, at least some pets. Nice that Edie still gets to ride in cars and enjoys it!

    Right now in the extreme temps In Montreal, our cats still wait by the closed catio door to go out. When I open the window, they give me a look as if to say “We were only kidding, we don’t want to go out in that!” But Jimmy is always the adventurer and will test the waters or in this case, the snow, always the first to dive into the snow. He actually ends up shoveling a pathway!

    But definitely being indoors we have to think of creative ways for enrichment to stimulate the sense and keep boredom at bay!

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    • Being on the inside and looking out it doesn’t seem so bad until you open that door and get a blast of cold! I can just envision the look on your cats face when you open the window lol! I couldn’t imagine either of my cats wanting to even test the waters, or in our case, test their paws in the snow like your Jimmy!

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  3. That cold can be so brutal! Last year was our first Alaskan winter, and we definitely ran into issues with the -20 and below days. Roxy & Rico didn’t get enough indoor play or mental stimulation and laid in front of the fireplace for pretty much the entire day the first time it got that cold. It made for a super cozy, sweet day…and then they were wide awake at 4am the next day. I’ve learned my lesson now!

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    • Oh laying in front of the fireplace having a cozy relaxing day sounds so nice! Can’t say the same about waking at 4am though 😉

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  4. Thank you for the helpful tips on indoor stimulation and play! I do think dogs get the winter blues. I was not aware of blue Monday though!! It is so cold here my little Doxie can’t handle the weather to play and run. My elder pup Lyla can barely walk on the icy snow to go potty let alone play. We do inside play and stimulation exercises but it’s not like being out in nature for them.

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    • If we had the choice we’d rather be outdoors playing and enjoying the warmer weather, however that will not be the case for a couple of months at least, until then, indoor games it is!

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  5. We are quite fond of winter weather but when it’s too cold it’s simply too cold. I hear that at -40 Celsius and Farhenheit meet. We had way too many days that cold this winter.

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  6. I agree that pets do seem to get the winter blues, except they get over it a lot faster as soon as the first decent day occurs. Indoor activity and obedience / agility classes help a lot. Buffy is a real couch potato in the winter!

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  7. Aww, I bet Edie LOVES her visits to the senior home and her car rides and store socialization trips! It can be hard in the winter. Thankfully, we don’t get THAT cold here, so we’re still hiking and going on adventures. With lots of layers and jackets, of course! But we don’t have negative windchill temps. I think the lowest we’ve gotten on a hike day is like 5F. For the Southern US though, that’s crazy cold! Stay warm and have a great winter. Spring will be here before you know it!

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  8. We just don’t get your cold or I think I would have a house full of cats in winter!! At the moment its C23 here and a bit damp.

    I ams surprised pugs don’t have an annual migration to Florida. Now THAT would be a sight to see Edie and friends heading off to the warmth of the sunshine suitcase in paw 🙂

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    • I think you’ve come up with a super idea! A pug migration to Florida during the cold, wet months! I know Edie would love it – well, so would I for that matter 😉

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  9. It rains a lot in the winter here but doesn’t usually snow. Although I think Mr. N would rather take the snow. We go out unless it’s pouring. Mr. N gets chilled even with a rain coat.

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    • If Edie had to choose, she would prefer the snow over the rain. Apparently snow doesn’t feel as squishy under her paws lol!

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  10. I believe it! It think it’s true for cats too. I noticed that my cats would be less active in the winter and sleep more. When it’s freezing outside they cannot sit in the window sill like in the summer months…it’s too frosty! Love the booties Edie!

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  11. I agree that dogs get the winter blues, too. It makes sense without fresh air or sunlight that they might feel a little lethargic and down.

    We live in the Chicago area and it gets pretty cold here, too (maybe not quite as cold as you). Ruby hates the cold so we are always searching for fun inside activities.

    Love your idea about driving to the pet store and walking around!

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  12. Interestin’ little Canadian winter fact: There are lots of doggies livin’ in my subdivision, and I see ’em bein’ walked all the time. But in the winter, I see even more! Some of ’em don’t live in my subdivision at all. Now, you’d THINK that in the winter, peeps wouldn’t want to be doin’ extra walkin’ out in the cold, and therefore they’d be spendin’ as little time out there as possible, and actually, maybe they are, but… But where I live, we all have wells, so the county only uses sand on the roads. no salt. Just outside of our subdivision, they use salt. SO… So peeps have been known to come from outside our subdivision to walk their doggies, so that the doggies aren’t gettin’ icky road salt on the their paws and stuff. I think those peeps must love their doggies lots. PURRS.

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    • Our roads and sidewalks get salted by the city and if your dog won’t wear protective paw wear, the salt can really burn their paws making walks very uncomfortable! I can understand why dogs come to you subdivision to go for walks since they use sand not salt.

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  13. I commiserate with you on this cold! Although not Canada, the northeastern US has been colder than usual with these arctic freezes. My dogs both love the snow but still, they aren’t allowed outside for an extended time. Mental stimulation and play is so important. I love that Edie visits the senior center. I’m sure she brings so much joy!

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  14. That running video is too cute! We don’t have to worry about winter weather as much here in Southern California (or at all, really). But with the rare occurrence of rain, our dog does hate going outside. So, that means more playtime indoors! That’s awesome that Edie goes to the senior residence building. I bet the residents LOVE that! (Our dog’s name is Eddie with two Ds!)

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    • It’s freezing cold winter days like these that I think a trip to California should be on the agenda 😉 Rain is an entire different story all together – although Edie doesn’t isn’t a fan of the cold, rain and muddy paws are in her opinion the worst! Hi Eddie with two D’s 🙂

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  15. -34 degrees is way too cold! I’m glad that Edie has some places to go during the winter. I think my dogs get the winter blues too.

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