Humans aren't the only ones that get a bit down or overwhelmed sometimes, this can happen to our beloved pets as well. Here our Grass Valley vets talk about what to do if you think that your dog is experiencing the symptoms of anxiety or depression and what the cause may be.
Depression & Anxiety in Dogs
Have you noticed a change in your pup that is leading you to believe that your pup is suffering from the effects of anxiety or depression?
If your dog is exhibiting three or more of the following signs, a trip to your vet can help to pinpoint whether your pup's symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:
What are the Signs of Depression in Dogs?
- Disinterest in playing with people or toys
- "Sad" expression
- Lack of energy
- Avoiding you or hiding
- Growling, howling or aggression
- Sleeping too much
- Decreased appetite
- Not sleeping
What are the Signs of Anxiety in Dogs?
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
- Obsessive paw licking
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Pacing aimlessly
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
What Might Cause Anxiety & Depression in Dogs?
Our pets can be extra sensitive to any changes, whether just around the house or in their daily routine, which can cause a major shift in your pet's behavior.
While obviously emotional 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 pet or person in the home could be the cause of your pup's case of the blues.
How Can You Help Your Dog Feel Better?
Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction, and lots of physical activity. Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:
Bring Your Dog To See The Vet
Some symptoms linked to 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.
Help Your Dog Get Plenty of Exercise
Bored pets often get into mischief, and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house for the day, and supply your pup with enough toys to keep them busy and 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.
Allow Your Dog To Socialize Lots
Keep in mind that dogs are social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. If your dog seems lonely and sad try taking your pooch to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction. You may even want to consider getting a companion animal for your dog.
Have Patience & Give Your Dog Lots of Affection
Dogs need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented - even more so if they are feeling depressed or anxious. By giving your pup a little 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.