by Katrina Manning

Statistics indicate that 65% of American households currently own pets. These can be cats, dogs, hamsters, rabbits or any other type of pet. It is well known that people love their pets. The good news is pet ownership offers multitudes of benefits. Many feel that pets provide the type of unconditional love rarely exhibited from their human peers. Here are just some of the positive effects that come along with pet ownership:


Companionship:

In 2010, the American Animal Hospital association revealed that 57% of people who own pets actually prefer to be in the company of their pet over human companionship. Pet owners consider their pets trusted family members. Additionally, owning a pet can reduce feelings of lonliness and isolation, which can increase the pleasure of having purpose in life. Many of the elderly have pets for this specific reason.


Mood Improvement:

Mood improvement can arise from positive emotions that come about from associating with your pet. If you are having a bad day—there is nothing more soothing than being the recipient of the comforting joy your pet brings you. Even the Walter Reed Medical center utilizes pets to help traumatized soldiers heal more quickly.



Socialization:

Taking your pet for a walk around the neighborhood or the park is a must, especially on bright, sunny days. This practice, benefits not only your pet, but you may also meet other pet owners or people along the way you may not have met otherwise. Owning a pet helps you get the social activity you need to help deal with any possible feelings of isolation.


Heart Disease Reduction:

Heart diseases are among the world's biggest killers. However, health experts view this condition as preventable and curable if people own pets and use them rightfully. Taking your pet out for a run or brisk walk gives both you and your pet much needed exercise for the day.

Positive Use of Free Time:

Owning a pet may help you to use your time more wisely. Instead of thinking only of yourself and your needs—you start to consider the needs of your pet as well. Perhaps owning a pet prevents you from engaging in negative activities—making your life more positive overall.



Improved Education:

Learning about animals can help us learn more about ourselves .They have the same basic needs that we do, which includes food, water, sleep and love. Pets can teach children about mutual trust as well as responsibility. Those with disabilities can learn how to interact with others through interacting with their pets.

   
 

With all the advantages that come along with pet ownership—it would behoove you to take care of your pet, especially during the colder and darker winter months when symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may present itself. A happy pet certainly makes for a cheerful owner.




Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a psychological issue that affects people during the cold, winter months. It is characterized by depression through the time of year when days are more likely to be darker. Pets also have been found to suffer from this condition as well. 


 

Seasonal Affective Disorder - Signs and Symptoms

SAD in people is caused by the reduction of light during winter, and the symptoms that people tend to have include a decrease in physical activity.  There is also a sense of lethargy and hypersomnia which means you sleep for extended periods of time. In some instances, people can become sad and depressed with a few displaying suicidal tendencies or being easily agitated—which could possibly lead to violence. Other symptoms might be eating or drinking too much and a feeling of increased anxiety. These feelings are thought to arise from lower levels of melatonin and serotonin in the blood as a result of the limited exposure to sunlight. Melatonin helps prepare the body for sleep. Serotonin helps the brain relay messages from one area of the brain to another, and it can affect mood, appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, and some social behavior.
 

People with SAD are often treated by being exposed to bright lights for 30 minutes or more. For pets, the symptoms are more or less the same, and they exhibit symptoms similar to human sufferers such as decreased or increased appetite resulting in weight gain or weight loss, more sleeping, they also seem less playful, and they may have lower energy levels resulting in lethargy and inactivity. Other symptoms may include a loss of fur and body hair and lack of social interaction or no marked interest in what is going on around them. 


Is Your Pet SAD?

Pets are thought to develop SAD because of a decreased exposure to light--just like people. They may also develop SAD because of reduced activity. Some pets are also thought to mimic the symptoms of the owners, so that they will be less active as a result of the owner's inactivity. Dogs are more likely to suffer from SAD as compared to cats because cats are more inclined to be indoors. Pets that are often outdoors are more predisposed to suffer from SAD because their activities change during the winter months. However, SAD affects both cats and dogs equally. Cats love to sit on a windowsill to absorb some warm sun. If they don't have a windowsill to do this, or the days become darker—it certainly affects their health. Unfortunately, it can be too cold for your pets to be outside—or you are unable to take them out during the day because of work. If you suspect that your pet is suffering from SAD, it is best to get them treated immediately.


Treatment

Giving  your pets adequate light exposure on a daily basis is the first step. The last thing you want to do is get them addicted to medications that can have unforeseen side affects and may produce addiction. Therapy as natural as sun exposure is best, not only for their health but for their emotional state as well. As they get more light exposure—you may notice their mood change, and they may become more active overall.

Of course, you may be able to get prescriptions to help alleviate the manifestation of SAD in your pets--or you could take them outdoors everyday. However, medications could cause addiction, withdrawal, and in some cases--detrimental side effects. Not to mention, prescriptions and refills can start to feel costly after a while. If you have a job--it may be difficult for you to take your pet out everyday. Not to mention, it may just be too cold to be favorable for their health to be outside. If you live alone and your home has a limited amount of incoming light--you might be hard pressed with figuring out how to help your pet overcome their symptoms of SAD. 

 

Light Therapy for your pet

You do have options though. What makes the most natural and economic sense is light therapy. This type of therapy uses lighting that mimics sunlight and its effects. This form of therapy can help regulate sleeping and eating patterns, give your pet more energy and a better overall frame of emotional health.

While there are many light therapy boxes out on the market today--not all are created equal, nor are any marketed directly for SAD symptoms in pets the way Pawsitive Lighting is. If you want to get something to help your pet overcome SAD and work with a company whose whole premise is to love and care for pets--then Pawsitive Lighting's 10,000 LUX Sol Box is for you. 

What does 10,000 LUX mean you might ask? Well, this refers to the unit measurement of light intensity. If you use a traditional lamp--that does not mimic the effects of natural sunlight. However, a 10,000 LUX Sol Box does. 

When you get your pet started--30 minutes a day can be required to help them transition out of their SAD symptoms. As you do this on a daily basis, you may notice your pet having more normal sleeping and eating patterns--similar to what they have exhibited during the spring and summer months. You may also see your dog or cat becoming more playful, energetic and happy.  

 

 

Obesity is an epidemic in America, and it also very much affects pets. Obesity can cause heart disease, kidney failure, arthritic stress, asthma issues, immune system problems and more. When your furry best friends become lethargic due to SAD, they may end up burning less calories and instead--convert them to fat. Obesity is just as harmful to pets as it is to humans. You don't want to lose your favorite companion before their time. Getting your pet back to its normal and active routine with the Pawsitive Lighting 10,000 LUX Sol Box is one way to combat potential obesity. 

Additionally, you don't have to worry about cost-prohibitive prescriptions or side effects. With the 10,000 LUX Sol Box, you make a one-time investment for effects that can be conveyed within the first use. Furthermore, the LUX Sol Box is designed to be compact, so it can be placed in any location conveniently. Whether you offer your pet light therapy for 30 minutes a day or an hour or more, your pet will thank you for it. 

You no longer have to feel guilty over your pet's symptoms. You no longer have to feel helpless--not knowing what to do. You can start to experience exuberant joy knowing that you are contributing to your pet's overall well being with our 10,000 Lux Sol Box. Most importantly, if your pet is one of your biggest cheerleaders--keeping them as healthy as they can be, both physically and emotionally, benefits you both.