AS the post-festive buzz wears off, the ‘January blues’ to kick in. But it’s important to remember that our dogs still need the same level of care they would any other time of year - including walks, fresh air, and exercise.

PDSA Vet Nurse Nina Downing says: “As our busy routines resume after the festive break, it can be tempting to stay in, but it’s vital that we keep things as normal as possible for our pets.

“Christmas is such a fun time, family coming and going, long walks and time to spend playing with our dogs. Come January, things go back to normal and we return to work but it’s important not to forget to make time for your pet.”

Signs your dog may be struggling with January blues:

* Eating more: Even though cats and dogs are domesticated, the instinct to build up fat stores so they have the energy to stay warm over winter remains. Don’t feed them more just because they seem hungry as this will lead to weight gain. Keep an eye on them and if you notice they’re always hungry and are gaining or losing weight, contact your vet.

* Sleeping more: Less daylight hours in winter can affect hormones that control how much sleep we need. Let your pet nap as much as they need to, but make sure they’re still getting exercise they need.

* Stiff joints: As the temperature drops, pets who suffer from arthritis and stiff joints might find moving a bit harder. Try to keep them warm and comfortable, and discuss with your vet if you’re worried.

* Shedding: Your pet might moult as their thicker winter coat comes through. Give them a brush more often and check our fur-busting tips. Bald patches or itchy skin is a sign of a skin problem so contact your vet.

Helping your dog through the January blues:

* Company: Leaving your pooch home alone for more than four hours a day can cause loneliness, frustration, and misery. If you’re going out arrange for a friend, neighbour or dog walker to see your dog. Or book them into doggy day care.

* Daily walks: Not getting enough exercise can cause health problems, such as obesity and long-term behavioural problems. Bored dogs are really unhappy dogs - they can show their frustration by chewing, barking, toileting in the house, being destructive, and over-grooming.

* Home environment : Animals in our lives need to have their 5 Welfare Needs met. Their environment is one of these needs. They need a home that’s comfortable, where they can rest and feel safe. Dogs love to get outside for daily exercise but also love a cosy, warm home. Make sure their bed is in a warm spot with thick bedding.