Like us, our furry friends can feel anxious or depressed from time to time. If you think that your pup is suffering from anxiety or depression the good news is that you may be able to help your dog to feel better with these tips from our Somerset County vets.
Is my dog depressed?
Is your pup displaying behaviors that lead you to wonder whether your dog is anxious or blue? If your pooch is showing three or more of the following signs, a trip to your vet is in order to identify whether your pup's symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:
Signs of Dog Depression
- "Sad" expression
- Avoiding you or hiding
- Growling, howling or aggression
- No interest in playing with people or toys
- Lack of appetite
- Not sleeping
- Sleeping too much
Signs of Dog Anxiety
- Destructive behaviors
- Paw licking
- Spontaneous elimination (bowel movement or urination)
- Trembling, whining, or whimpering
What causes dogs to become depressed or anxious?
Our dogs are creatures of habit that love routine, any major life changes or distressing events can have an impact on their emotions.
Although more obvious events such as an owner’s death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other more mundane events such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or even a new roommate could be the cause of your pup's melancholy.
How can I cheer my dog up?
Anxious or depressed dogs tend to benefit from predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction (if the cause is related to other dogs or people) and a consistent routine with lots of physical activity. Here are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:
Visit Your Vet
Some symptoms of depression and anxiety can have physical causes that need urgent medical attention, the first thing to do if your dog doesn't seem like their usual self is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
Although dogs will often recover from depression on their own (with a little extra love and attention from their pet parent), your vet can provide medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to calm their nerves if things don’t show signs of improvement.
Keep Your Dog's Body & Mind Active
Bored pets are notorious for getting into mischief, and becoming anxious. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave for the day and that they have enough toys around to keep them busy in order to help curb dog anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your pup busy.
Dogs are naturally social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. Consider getting a companion animal for your pooch or take your lonely pet to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction.
Show Your Canine Companion Lots of Love & Patience
Both people and pets need lots of love and patience - even more so when we feel depressed or anxious. By giving your dog some extra time and attention you may be able to alleviate these issues.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.