Like people, dogs can feel anxious or depressed now and again. If you think that your pooch might be suffering from depression or anxiety our Somerset County vets have a few easy strategies you can try to help your dog feel more relaxed and contented.
Anxiety & Depression in Dogs
It can be very upsetting for pet parents when their pooch becomes anxious or depressed. Our Somerset County vets often see dogs suffering from anxiety and depression due to a variety of reasons. If you believe that your dog is anxious or depressed a trip to your vet is in order. Your veterinarian can diagnose your pup's symptoms and whether those symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else.
Is your dog depressed?
If your pup is feeling blue you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- No interest in playing with people or toys
- "Sad" expression
- Lethargy, lack of energy
- Avoiding you or hiding
- Growling, howling or aggression
- Sleeping too much
- Not eating
- Not sleeping
Could your dog be suffering from anxiety?
Anxiety in dogs leads to behaviors that are very different from those caused by depression. Below are some of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs.
- Destructive behaviors such as chewing
- Obsessive paw licking
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Pacing aimlessly
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
What are the causes of anxiety and depression in dogs?
Our furry friends are creatures of habit that are happiest when there are steady routines in their lives. Any major life changes or distressing events can have a significant impact on their emotions.
While it's true that more obvious events such as their owner’s death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other less extreme 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 gloomy demeanor.
What can I do to help my dog feel more relaxed and contented?
Anxious or depressed dogs will often benefit from predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction (if the cause is related to other dogs or people) and a consistent routine including lots of physical activity. Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression or anxiety:
Book an Appointment With Your Vet
- Some symptoms of depression and anxiety can actually have physical causes that need urgent attention. The first thing you should do if your dog seems anxious or depressed is to schedule a visit with your vet. While some dogs may recover from depression with just a little extra love and attention from their pet parent, your veterinarian can provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if things don’t show signs of improvement.
Keep Your Dog's Body & Mind Busy
- Boredom can often lead our furry friends to become anxious or depressed. Make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise before you leave for the day, and supply your pup with enough toys to keep them busy in order to help quell your dog's anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your pup's body and mind active while you're out of the house.
Let Your Pooch Enjoy Social Time With Other Dogs & People
- Dogs are very social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. If your pooch is suffering from anxiety or depression you may want to consider getting a companion animal for your pup or take your lonely dog to the off-leash park, group classes or doggy daycare for additional social interaction.
Give Your Canine Companion Lots of Love
- Naturally, our four-legged friends need lots of love and patience in order to feel safe and contented - even more so when they are prone to feeling depressed or anxious. By giving your dog some extra time and attention you may be able to alleviate these issues and restore your pup's sense of fun and happiness.
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.