ONE IN FOUR DOGS SUFFERS FROM DEPRESSION!!!
There are many causes of depression in dogs. When a stay-at-home owner takes a new job, a doggy may become sad and listless. Other causes of canine depression include recent relocation, the introduction of another pet or a new baby into the family, or the loss of a close companion. Dogs may become depressed when their caregivers die, but they can also become extremely depressed if another pet in the household passes away.
Dogs can’t use words to tell us that they’re sad, so loving dog parents must be proactive and look for signs of depression in their fur-babies. At PetFlow, we believe that symptoms of depression should be discussed with your vet before you seek treatment, but here are some major warning signs to keep in mind!
5 Signs of Depression in Dogs
1. Inactivity - Have you noticed that your dog is extremely listless? Does he prefer to lie around and sleep rather than engage in activities that he used to enjoy? If so, consult your vet immediately.
2. Loss of Appetite - Just like humans, dogs tend to eat less when they’re blue. If your pup starts eating less, or stops eating altogether, you should call your vet right away.
3. Personality Changes- A sleepy pup may begin to tremble or show signs of anxiety, or a hyper-active doggy may become sedentary. When a dog’s personality “switches,” you should monitor his behavior and look for other signs of dog depression.
4. Withdrawal from Others - This might be the most obvious sign of dog depression! You know something is wrong when your pup doesn’t want to play fetch or horse around with other doggies.
5. Change in Sleep Habits - If your dog is depressed, his sleeping patterns might begin to vary. He may become nocturnal, sleeping only during the day, or he may stop sleeping in bed with you.
If you notice any of these changes in your pup’s habits, it’s always best to consult your vet. While it is possible to put your dog on prescription antidepressants, you may wish to try to cheer your dog up with some natural remedies first.
Healing Dog Depression
Experts recommend extra TLC and lots of vigorous exercise. Keep your pup engaged and take him on long walks. Reward your doggy when he shows signs of happiness. If playing with his lamb chop toy is the only thing that gets him to wag his tail, then allow him to play with lamb chop for hours, and give him a treat when he perks up.
The most difficult part of practicing behavioral therapy is not rewarding depressive behavior. In other words, don’t reward a dog for crying or moping around. Hold off on treating your dog until he shows a sign – however small – of positive or happy behavior.
Often, pets mourn or become depressed when you lose another pet, so if you recently suffered a tragic pet loss, consider heading to a local rescue. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re ready for an additional pet, add a foster dog to your family!
Anxiety vs. Dog Depression
All too often, people mistake anxiety for dog depression. If your dog shakes or cowers during thunderstorms or car trips, or only under specific circumstances, it’s likely that he has an anxiety problem. Thundershirts can really help! These amazing anti-anxiety wraps use gentle compression therapy to soothe your dog and relieve anxiety. Click HERE to check out our Thundershirt!
Has your dog ever suffered from depression or anxiety? What did you do to help with your dog’s depression? Would you put your dog on medication, or would you rather attempt to try the TLC Method outlined above? Comment and tell us about it!
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The PetFlow Team