'SAD' pets now have their own light to boost a blue mood

PORTLAND, Ore. - Here in the Northwest you've probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD. It's where you get depressed during the gray, winter months. But have you heard of SAD in pets?

A Portland man says the condition exists, and he's created a treatment - a light-box for your dog or cat. It's the first of its kind to be made specifically for pets.

The light itself is the same as the human versions, but it's all about the design that makes it different. It's small, portable, has safe corners and it easily sits on the ground.

Max Marvin is the founder of Pawsitive Lighting. He said he got the idea when he was having sleep problems and a specialist suggested a light-box for him. But he was surprised when his golden retriever, Luke, like it just as much. Now they both use the light.

"It does give him that boost of energy in the morning as it does myself," he said. "Instead of maybe crawling back into bed and going back to sleep, he's anxious to go out and go jump around in the water."

Marvin said the recommended dose of light is 30 to 45 minutes a day; and it can't hurt to let your dog be in the light for longer.

Portland animal behaviorist Dr. Christopher Pachel said there aren't enough studies to know for sure if Seasonal Affective Disorder really exists in pets.

"It's theoretically possible. I see no reason to suggest why it couldn't occur. I just don't have any reason to say it does. I'd be curious to see how animals would respond to it," he said. "Certainly we're willing to reach any and all options for helping some of the pets that we see for behavior disorders."

Marvin is selling his pet-friendly device around the world for $200.

He said: "The response has been overwhelmingly 'pawsitive.' Pardon the pun."