Beating January blues with the help of our pets

By vet Graham Lewis

When all the Christmas festivities are over, the wrapping paper has been tidied up, the decorations are back in the loft and the last turkey sandwich has been eaten, there can be a bit of a come down for us all. 

The nights are still long and dark, the weather is often ‘interesting,’ and all the excitement is over.

Blue Monday is coming up on the 15th of January, supposedly the most depressing day of the year. So how can we counter this feeling of ennui that can affect us in January? Well luckily our animals can help!

Pet owners have been found to be 41 per cent less depressed than non-pet owners. Pets provide great companionship, they provide routine in the day for people and also require exercise which is another natural antidepressant.

Regular exercise has been shown to reduce depressive episodes by up to 25 per cent and as a dog owner I know myself that having dogs means regular exercise! They want out twice a day no matter what the weather is doing, and even though it is tough when the weather is less than ideal, I always feel better for getting out with them in the fresh air. 

At this time of year, I am always careful to make sure we are visible in the dark and ensure that I and the dogs are warm enough. Road grit can also be a hazard and can really irritate dogs’ feet. If your dog is affected by this then please take this into consideration when choosing dog walking routes. January is National Dog Walking Month so get out there (put on your thermals and hi-vis) and enjoy the fresh air of 2024.

January is also often a time for resolutions, sometimes these are weight or fitness related. With all this exercise you will be doing it will be great for you and your pets, but if are worried about your pet’s weight then talk to your vet. Many vets run weight management clinics designed to help keep your pet at a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight can lead to problems with animal’s joints, heart and increased risk of some diseases such as diabetes so weight control is a vital part of responsible pet ownership, and we are here to help owners with this sometimes challenging issue.

So, beat those January blues with your pets’ help, enjoy their company, laugh and smile and get out into the great outdoors with your dogs. We wish you all a Happy New Year!