Like their human family members, dogs can feel depressed or anxious. Although your pet's symptoms could indicate these conditions or other problems, the good news is that you could help your dog to feel better with these tips from our Lithia Springs vets.
Depression & Anxiety In Dogs
Is your pup displaying behaviors that lead you to wonder whether your dog is depressed? If so, check out the list below. If your dog shows three or more of the following signs, a vet’s visit is in order to identify whether your pup's symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:
Symptoms of Depression in Dogs
- 'Sad' facial expression
- Hiding or avoiding interaction with people
- Aggression, growling or howling
- Lack of interest in playing
- Lack of appetite
- Not sleeping (or sleeping too much)
Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs
- Destructive behaviors
- Paw licking
- Spontaneous elimination (bowel movement or urination)
- Panting or pacing
- Trembling, whining, or whimpering
Causes Of Anxiety & Depression In Dogs
Dogs love routine and tend to be creatures of habit, any major life change or distressing event 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 malaise.
How To Cheer Your Dog Up
Depressed or anxious dogs often 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 some more tips on how to help lessen dog depression:
Visit Your Vet
Since some symptoms of depression and anxiety can have physical causes that require urgent medical attention, the first thing to do is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
Although most dogs will 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 or improvement.
Keep Your Dog Entertained & Physically Active
Bored pets are notorious for getting into mischief, and becoming anxious. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise and playtime before you leave for the day and that they have enough toys around to keep them busy in order to help curb their anxiousness. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your pooch occupied.
Spend Time With Friends
Dogs are innately social creatures who enjoy being around other people and other animals. Consider getting a companion animal or taking lonely pets to the park, classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction.
Practice Lots Of Love & Patience
The fact is, both people and pets need a lot of love, patience, and support – even more so when we feel depressed or anxious. Giving your dog some extra time and attention could help with 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.