Is your dog feeling blue, does your energetic pooch seem lethargic and withdrawn? It is possible that your dog might have depression. Here are some dog depression symptoms to look out for in your dog.
Symptoms Of Dog Depression
- Decreased Appetite: When your dog has a decreased appetite or appears uninterested when offered food, this could be a sign of depression.
- Sleep: When a dog is depressed, they sleep for more hours than usual.
- Aggression: Depression can cause aggression in dogs. Aggression can be biting, snapping, and lunging. This website provides more information on how to stop dog aggression.
- Disoriented: If your dog seems lost and confused at home, it is possible that he is suffering from depression.
- Lethargy: When your dog shows a lack of interest in exercising and any activity, chances are your pooch is depressed.
Dogs are sensitive creatures that respond dramatically to sudden and unexpected changes in their lives. When changes such as death or a sudden move occur, it is common for dogs to experience depression.
Anything that throws your dog off can cause it to be depressed. Things, like getting a second dog, or a cat, or changing their routine, can affect them. When your dog shows signs of a change in behavior, consult a veterinarian to make a complete and accurate diagnosis.
There are several factors that can cause periods of depression in dogs. These include the arrival of a new baby, introducing a new pet or moving house. The two most common triggers of canine depression are the loss of an animal companion and the death/loss of an owner.
Causes Of Depression In Dogs
- Grief: Dogs also mourn the loss of a human or animal companion just as we do. Grief is one of the most common triggers of depression in dogs. Provide your dog with more attention and show more affection, this will keep his mind off the loss.
- Fear: When your dog has a phobia, it may lead to depression and anxiety. Knowing the signs can help you to identify the cause behind this fear. When your dog is feeling anxious, his body language will communicate this to you. Look out for flattened ears, a tucked tail, and failure to make eye contact. Consult a veterinarian if your dog is frequently experiencing anxiety/fear.
- Separation Anxiety: Changes in your routine or schedule can cause your dog to experience separation anxiety, which may lead to depression. Perhaps you are sick and have been admitted to hospital, your dog will worry about you, this may lead to depression. The move of your dog’s playmate/companion can be a triggering factor of depression in your dog.
- Environmental Changes: Dogs are very sensitive to sudden changes such as renovations, moving to a new home, or any environmental changes that affect its routine. Your dog may lash out by destroying items of value in the house, showing hyperactivity and exhibiting aggressive behavior.
Treatments And Solutions For Dog Depression
Dogs are known to overcome depression on their own and with a little extra care from their owners, this can take anything between a few days to a couple of months. There are some steps you can take as a pet owner to help your dog out of its gloomy state.
- Engage in special activities with your dog to keep them active, do more things that they like to do. Taking regular walks and playing with your dog can help to improve your dog’s mood significantly. If your dog’s mood improves, reward him with dog treats to encourage him. Avoid rewarding your dog for negative behavior, don’t baby your dog when it is withdrawn.
- Offer your dog some TLC, paying more attention to your dog with cuddles and hugs will remind them that they are loved.
- If the loss of a companion is the cause of your dog’s depression, getting another dog might be the solution. Make sure that this is ideal for your situation, alternatively taking your dog to the park where it can socialize with other dogs might make him feel better.
- Keep your dog’s routine the same as much as possible. Your dog feels better when it knows what to expect from each day keeping mealtimes, playtimes, grooming, and bedtime the same will help your dog to feel less disoriented.
If the above solutions don’t work, it is possible that your dog might be experiencing severe depression. There are medications that treat canine depression, these can take effect after a period of six to twelve months.