Dogs, like their owners, can suffer from anxiety and depression from time to time. If you think that your furry friend is feeling anxious or blue the good news is that you may be able to help your dog to feel better with these tips from our Greensboro vets.
Is my dog depressed?
Is your canine companion showing behaviors that lead you to believe that your dog may be anxious or depressed? If your pup is displaying 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:
Symptoms of Dog Depression
- No interest in playing with people or toys
- "Sad" expression
- Avoiding you or hiding
- Growling, howling or aggression
- Sleeping too much
- Lack of appetite
- Not sleeping
Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
- Destructive behaviors such as chewing
- Obsessive paw licking
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Pacing aimlessly
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
What causes dogs to be depressed or anxious?
Our furry friends are creatures of habit that crave routine, any major life changes or distressing events can have an impact on their emotions.
Although 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.
How can I cheer up my dog?
Anxious or depressed dogs typically 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:
See Your Vet
Some symptoms of depression and anxiety can actually have physical causes that need urgent veterinary attention. The first thing you should do if your dog doesn't seem happy is to schedule a visit with your vet.
Although dogs will often 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 Active
Bored pets often get into mischief, and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your dog 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 curb dog anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your dog's body and mind active while you're out of the house.
Dogs are social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. Consider getting a companion animal for your pup or take your lonely pooch to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction.
Show Your Furry Friend Lots of Love & Patience
Pets need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented - even more so when they feel depressed or anxious. By giving your pup 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.