Our canine companions, like us, can experience depression or anxiety. While your pup's symptoms may indicate one of these conditions or another, the good news is that you may be able to help him feel better by following these tips from our Stockton veterinarians.
What does depression or anxiety look like in dogs?
Is your dog exhibiting behaviors that make you wonder if he is depressed? If this is the case, take a look at the list below. If your dog exhibits three or more of the following symptoms, a veterinarian visit is necessary to determine whether the symptoms are the result of depression, anxiety, or something else:
Symptoms of Depression in Dogs
- "Sad" facial expression
- Hiding or avoiding you
- Aggression, growling, or howling
- No interest in playing with people or toys
- 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
What causes dogs to become depressed or anxious?
Dogs love routine and tend to be creatures of habit, any major life change or distressing event can have an impact on their emotions.
While more obvious events such as an owner's death or prolonged absence can trigger anxiety or depression in dogs, less obvious events such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or even a new roommate could be to blame for your pup's ill health.
How can I cheer my dog up?
Depressed or anxious dogs frequently benefit from predictable environments, carefully supervised social interaction (if the cause is other dogs or people), and a consistent routine that includes plenty of physical activity. Here are some additional tips for reducing dog depression:
Visit Your Vet
Because some symptoms of depression and anxiety can have physical causes that need urgent medical attention, the first thing to do is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
Although the majority of dogs recover from depression on their own (with a little extra love and attention from their pet parent), your veterinarian may prescribe medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if they do not improve.
Keep Your Dog Entertained & Physically Active
Boredom-stricken pets are notorious for mischief and anxiety. Assure that your dog receives adequate exercise before you leave for the day and that they have enough toys to keep them occupied to help alleviate dog anxiety. To keep your dog occupied, look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats.
Spend Time With Friends
Dogs are inherently social creatures who thrive in the company of humans and other animals. Consider purchasing a companion animal or bringing lonely pets to the park, classes, or doggie daycare to increase their social interaction.
Show Your Pooch Love & Patience
The truth is that both humans and animals require a great deal of love and patience - even more so when we are depressed or anxious. Giving your dog additional time and attention may assist in resolving 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.