As dog owners, we all want our pups to be happy. When your dog is happy, it waggles its tail whenever it sees you, loves to play with you, and maintains a relaxed body when spending time with you. But when your dog is depressed, it may behave differently.
When you start noticing behavioral changes in your dog, it’s critical that you pay extra attention to your four-legged friend. Dogs have feelings just as humans do. Just because they aren’t able to talk about it with us, doesn’t mean their emotions should be ignored.
If you suspect that your dog is going through depression but aren’t sure about it, watch out for these 5 common warning signs of dog depression, which are quite similar to the signs of depression in humans.
1. Appetite and mood changes
While some people eat more when they’re depressed, some people lose their appetite for food. Dogs do the same, too. They either lose interest in their food and treats or eating more than usual.
Depressed dogs also experience mood changes. If your pet starts to whine and mope around a lot, something is definitely bothering it.
2. Loss of interest
In general, dogs are always happy when their owners take them out for walks. They also enjoy their playtime and are socially active with those around them. In short, they get excited about everything that excites them, such as toys, treats, and companionship.
If your dog suddenly becomes anti-social, prefers sleep over playtime, and doesn’t respond to whatever that usually excites it, then your dog might just be suffering from depression.
3. Avoidance or hiding
Depressed dogs usually tend to avoid people. They want to be left alone. You may find your depressed dog hiding somewhere all day long. It’s either because it’s not feeling physically well, or it’s actually emotionally unwell. When dogs are depressed, they become withdrawn.
To determine what is causing these behavioral changes, consult your veterinarian for a full checkup for your dog. A dog that doesn’t want to play or go for walks anymore might be suffering from arthritis instead of dog depression.
4. Paw licking and excessive chewing
Dogs that are constantly licking their paws or chewing whatever it finds to chew (maybe your slippers) are probably going through depression. Such behaviours could also be signs of physiological problems. Dogs do these to soothe themselves.
To prevent your things from getting chewed on, take your pup to the vet the minute you notice the excessive paw licking and chewing behaviours.
5. Sleeping too much
I believe you should know by now that dogs love to sleep. They spend more time sleeping than doing anything else. But when your dog sleeps all the time (even when you’re around), you should be wondering why. That’s not normal.
Likewise, consult your veterinarian first. Maybe your dog is having some physiological issues after all. There have also been cases of depressed dogs being restless simply because they aren’t able to sleep. This is a sign of dog depression, too.
What causes dog depression?
There are various reasons to why dogs become depressed.
It could be due to the changes in its life. These changes might involve a death of someone (or something) special, a new environment, a new baby in the house, medical issues, or a new pet joining the family.
A dog depression could also be caused by the changes in its schedule. For example, if you (a stay-at-home mom or dad) are used to staying at home with your dog, but then you take a day job that forces you to leave your dog alone at home, this could emotionally affect your dog.
Dogs are very attached to their loved ones, which is why they’re also famous for their loyalty. Some dogs won’t even leave their owners for a second — a condition known as the “Velcro dog” syndrome.
As mentioned earlier, the death of someone or something special could potentially lead to a dog’s depression. There are many stories about dogs getting depressed after their companion animals or owners died.
If you’ve heard about the story of Hachikō before, I believe you already know that the bond between a dog and its owner is strong. Of course, a strong friendship between a dog and its owner starts with a strong, loving foundation.
A dog can also be depressed when it doesn’t get the attention it needs, or if it gets abused. In the past, there were leaked videos of dog owners bashing up their dogs, which angered so many pet lovers and animal activists around the world.
Treatments for dog depression
Dogs are independent creatures. They can bounce back from depression on their own or with the support of those around them. If your dog is going through depression, keep it engaged by encouraging it to go for walks, or playtime at your nearby park.
Taking your dog out for a holiday is a great idea, too. Many dog owners take their dogs to the beach with them. Some even go travelling with their furry friends across towns, and even across countries.
Taking your dog out for exercise is fine, too. Reward it when it starts showing signs of happiness. Also, determine what makes it happy. If your dog seems happy when you take it to the beach, then continue doing that.
If your dog is depressed due to the death of an animal companion, getting a new pet might help. Just as long as everyone in the family is fine with it, and your pet’s needs aren’t neglected.
Remember, it’s every dog owner’s duty to keep their pups healthy and happy. It’s important to detect the symptoms of dog depression before the condition gets worse. When a dog’s depression gets worse, antidepressants like Prozac are used to treat their conditions. You don’t want it to get to that point. Therefore, if you notice any signs of depression in your dog, don’t wait too long to consult your veterinarian.
With the use of drugs to treat dog depression, dogs can recover within a year. It’s also important that everyone in the family is supportive towards their pet’s well-being.
Even when you travel, your dog can be affected by separation anxiety. To avoid this, please contact Petsodia and get a pet sitter. We want your dog to have fun and feel loved even when you’re away. www.petsodia.com