No matter in which hemisphere you live, there will be a change of seasons. Hours of sunlight shortening or lengthening, temperature changes, and the overall energy shift during these transitions from winter to summer or vice versa are noticeable to all. You may notice some changes – subtle or obvious – with your animals as they adjust. It’s natural, so how can we best help our pets in the seasonal change?
Our job and biggest desire is to keep our pets safe. If it is too cold or too hot for our pets to spend significant amounts of time outside, we can help them understand. My dog loves to play in the snow but he can’t read the thermometer to know that the enticing blanket of snow on the ground coupled with single-digit temperatures equals frozen paws in less than five minutes. I hold a quick but detailed vision of going out the door, a quick sniff, a little romp or roll, do his business, and then I envision him hurrying back in the house feeling satisfied and comfortable. I often couple this vision with showing him a walk together later in the day – the sun is shining brighter and it’s higher in the sky.
As the spring season approaches I usually get a few consultations with behavioral and/or demeanor changes uncharacteristic of the pet. Yes, “spring fever” is a real thing! Longer, warmer days, new smells and bugs and fresh spring grass to eat are strong motivators to get outside. Indoor cats can be very hard to live with for a couple of weeks as spring takes hold and there is not a lot we can do about it other than recognize the signs and reassure yourself that “this too shall pass.” I’ve got nothing for you on this one! I am still looking for a reasonable, reliable communication that most cats can grasp. All I can share is keeping your own energy as calm as possible and encourage your wild feline to follow your example. I wish you all the best in this particular endeavor!
Longer days are glorious! Wildlife change their routines as the days become longer and those that hibernate through the winter will be hungry. Spring is also birthing/newborn season. We can help our pets by reminding them of their safety escape plan. Help them remember to be respectful of new life; new mommas will fight to the death to protect their young. Your practice communication can include holding the image of a charging deer, elk, bear, etc. Also hold the image of your pet staying by or returning immediately to your side and welcoming a leash or a scoop up into your arms. There are so many variations on communicating safety to our pets; you’ll need to come up with specifics according to your environment and training.
What had been frozen may be stronger in scent as it thaws and therefore becomes seemingly delectable. Previously frozen animal poop and thawing carcass are favorites of my guy. Even previously frozen bug remains are enticing to some outdoor kitties. Also enticing is the fresh, tender spring grass sprouting up. Many believe that dogs who dine on grass are doing so to settle an upset tummy. Yes, for sure this is true but some dogs just love the taste and smell of fresh grass and will take a nibble as the opportunity arises. Watch them for other signs of digestive woes and check with your Vet but if no other symptoms appear then let them enjoy. It’s like a fresh spring salad right from the garden for them! For the other I-must-eat-this-disgusting-thing items, I wouldn’t hold back on envisioning your pet eating it then throwing up, an upset stomach, and diarrhea. Immediately follow that vision with an image of them seeking out the offending smelly object and leaving it alone.
Enjoy the changing seasons, and help your pet enjoy it too!