Do Dogs’ Feelings and Behaviors Change When Winter Approaches?

As the seasons change, so do many peoples’ emotional well-being. As the days grow longer and the first blossoms appear, many peoples’ hearts soar. When fall arrives and the days get shorter and colder, some people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Do dogs’ feelings and behaviors change with the changing of the seasons? Yes and no. It all comes down to the dog’s unique disposition, but breed can make a difference. With the onset of winter, many people claim their dog’s behavior changes. It is certainly a fact that plummeting temperatures and shorter days cause metabolic and hormonal changes in dogs. It makes sense, then, that this will affect some dogs’ behavior.

Breed-specific changes

Perhaps not surprisingly, breeds well suited to the cold, like Siberian huskies and Samoyeds, are more likely to become increasingly active and playful as the temperatures drop. But breeds that are sensitive to the cold and have very thin coats might be less interested in going outside. A dog who is too often feeling cold is apt to curl up and lay in a warm spot for most of the day. This type of behavior over a prolonged period can lead to anxiety. Make sure your home is heated to a temperature that makes your dog comfortable.


If your dog doesn’t like the cold, or if you don’t like the cold and don’t give your dog enough time outdoors, your dog might start to suffer from boredom. Bored dogs are prone to acting out in destructive ways. If this happens, make sure your dog receives adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

Alleviating winter-related behavioral problems

If your dog appears to suffer from canine SAD, there are several steps you can take to make them happier. As touched on above, be sure they get a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. Consider the lighting in your home. A brightly lit home can reduce the effects of SAD. There are even special lightbulbs that mimic sunlight that some people, and dogs, find helpful. You could also move your dog’s bed closer to a window or skylight.

Another important factor is nutrition. Born Free kibble and canned recipes give dogs the nutrition they need to maintain optimal physical and emotional health. Any dog, whether a lover of the cold or not, will appreciate regular rotations of Born Free’s specially formulated dog food.