Up The Entertainment Value
When youre feeling down, it may help to get your endorphins up by going for a jog or a bike ride. The same holds true for your dog he just cant reach the peddles.
A Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science study found that dogs who played games with their owners were less likely to experience separation anxiety than those who didnt. The study suggests that playing with your dog may increase your bond, which can help your dog through a difficult time. Its the closest thing youre going to get to a heart-to-heart with your pooch.
Rock Out to Some Reggae
Good news information from the Scottish SPCA indicates that dogs may really like music! Results from a study found that dogs respond differently when exposed to certain types of music. Their responses indicate that dogs taste in music may vary as much as ours, but they seem more likely to enjoy reggae and soft rock over other types of music. So throw on some Bob Marley and spend some quality time rocking out with your pooch.
Depression Medication For Dogs
While prescription antidepressants for dogs do exist, they shouldnt be the first thing you try. Its also important to know that while theyre called antidepressants, these medications are primarily used to treat different anxiety disorders in dogs.
However, if your dog isnt getting any better from the above tips, your veterinarian might consider prescription medication if she notices that your dogs depression is linked to anxiety.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antidepressants can be prescribed for anxiety, but these are considered last resort options if behavior and environmental changes are unsuccessful, Dr. Wigfall said. Antidepressants include medications such as fluoxetine and clomipramine .
Other antidepressants include benzodiazepines .Additionally, geriatric dogs suffering from cognitive dysfunction syndrome may benefit from selegiline .
If you think your dog is depressed, reach out to your veterinarian or a dog behaviorist in order to get her the help she needs to start feeling like herself again.
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Stick To Your Routine
No matter how your dog reacts to the loss of another dog, he is probably feeling some kind of stress over the changes in the household. One of the best ways you can help your dog adjust to the loss, is to stick as carefully as possible to his normal routine. Continue feeding him and walking him at the same time. Sticking to the usual schedule can help a great deal in reducing his stress. Keeping on a routine can also help you cope with your own grief.
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Training Dogs To Help People With Depression
Therapy and psychiatric service dogs perform wonders for people struggling to cope with depression. Where most of us have our ups and downs, there are those that cant find the way out of a deep well of despondency.
Thats where Psychiatric Service Dogs trained to perform everyday tasks like making sure their handlers take their medication, guide them through times of disorientation, and be there 24/7 – are an amazing support.
Some marvelous mutts with no training at all seem to know what to do when their owners are depressed. The Telegraph tells the story of Jane, who was floundering until a cute puppy called Zorro entered her life. This Jackapoo altered her perception. Zorro helped Jane to become social with her community and laugh again. She believes Zorro has been the best cure for her depression.
Emotional therapy dogs are making the world a brighter place for people whove lost their mojo, somewhere in the depths of depression. An energetic, fun-loving pooch can turn a dark mood around with their ability to smell the hormonal changes that take place in their guardian’s body. High levels of cortisol can be released into the bloodstream during a depressive mood.
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By a Japanese Chin lover Linda Cole
It Aint What You Do Its The Way That You Do It
All dogs should have some training so that they can have the freedom they need to be able to be let off the lead, where it is safe to do so, and so they are not a nuisance or danger to themselves or others. How you train your dog and how you relate to them day-to-day will have an impact on their mood.
Reward-based training methods and handling improve the bond between a dog and their owner. Heavy-handed methods that rely on punishment can however leave the dog feeling unable to succeed, resulting in a loss of confidence in their owner, and producing a state of learned helplessness. These dogs may appear quiet and well-behaved, but may actually be experiencing a very low mood state and chronic stress where it is far safer to do nothing.
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Should You Get Another Dog
One of the first pieces of advice many people hear when they lose a dog is to run right out and get another dog. This is not always the right choice. Before you get another dog, there are some things you should consider.
- Ask yourself whether you’re ready for another dog. Your life may have changed a great deal since you first brought your dog home, and new dogs are a lot of work. Make sure you are absolutely ready for this commitment before you bring home a new dog.
- Make sure your dog will accept another dog. Just because your dogs were inseparable until the day one of them passed away, does not mean the remaining dog will have the same relationship with a new dog. You may want to visit a dog park or plan some doggie play dates with other dogs to see how your dog reacts before bringing home a new dog.
- Consider letting your dog help select your new dog. If you do feel that you and your dog are ready to add another dog to the family, let your dog help you choose a companion. Many shelters and breeders will allow you to bring your dog to meet their dogs. Allowing the dogs to meet first gives you the chance to find the best companion for your dog.
The Spruce / Missy Schrott
New Ownership Or Temporary Home
There are those tragic moments when pet parents have to find new homes for their furry kids. And there are times when its only a temporary situation, like vacation. The thing is, your dog doesnt know the difference. If you leave your pooch for an hour, five days or forever, it feels the same in the moment. Your dog is likely to become withdrawn in his new environment until he gets more comfortable or you return.
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Buy Him Some New Toys
Let your dog know how much you love him. Pamper him a little by shopping for him. You dont have to go all out and splurgejust get him a couple of new toys to play with. It could be a new chew-toy or a new ball for him to play with. Your dog will appreciate the gesture and having some new things to play with might help in cheering him up.
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Spending Too Much Time Inside
Dogs need space to run around and might become sad if they havent been given the chance. Staying indoors all the time, away from nature and sunshine and friends, can take a serious toll on both human and canine mental health, says Dr. Simon.
Know how much exercise your pup needs. Then take the time to bring your dog on long walks or to the parkits good for both of you! Once your pet starts getting the freedom it craves, it might slowly get its energy back.
Learning what makes your pup upset is a good first step. From there, its important to recognize the signs of depression in a dog. Keep reading to learn the most common dog depression symptoms, according to our experts.
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Signs Your Dog Might Be Unhappy Or Depressed
When it comes to our beloved dogs, we often think of how happy-go-lucky they are. We tend to think of them at their best, tongues out while running and playing in the backyard and having a great time.
But sometimes things happen in life, and we, as pet parents, are not the only ones who can be affected emotionally. Our dogs can also be affected, which can lead to anxiety and even depression.
So why do dogs get depressed? And how can you tell if your dog is suffering from depression? Heres what you should know.
Sleeping All The Time
Dogs sleep a lot. Thats old news. But typically this happens when their owners are gone. If you leave your dog for a long time and he continues to sleep after you get home, barely reacting to your presence, something is probably wrong.
Check for physical problems first, but if you cant find anything and the symptoms continue, he may be depressed. Also know that this can work in the opposite direction, with your pup having trouble sleeping and becoming restless.
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Expose Them To More Sunlight
Guess what, dogs can also suffer from winter blues.
Or seasonal affective disorder, a.k.a SAD. And it has the same signs as depression.
Its when canines sleep more and become less motivated.
And Stanley Coren, a famous psychologist, says its due to the lack of the hormone serotonin.
What does sunlight have to do with this?
Well, the release the hormones melatonin and serotonin is related to sunshine.
First, melatonin is produced when its dark.
This makes dogs sleepy. So less or no sunlight will produce more of this. Resulting in inactivity and oversleeping.
On the other hand, sunshine is needed to make serotonin. A feel-good hormone that affects the mood and appetite of canines.
Like what we usually get by eating our comfort food. Such as ice cream and chocolate.
But dogs shouldnt have things like these. So the best way for them to get that feeling it is by exposing themselves to more sunlight.
What to do?
- Place your dogs bedding near openings.
- Roll up your window curtains to let in more sunlight.
- Always take your dog for walks. Preferably 8 to 10 am to get safe morning sunshine. Because later than this can be too hot for their skin.
What if my dog refuses to go?
For pups and small dogs: Pick them up and distract them with treats/toys. Then stay outside where theres light for up to 20 minutes.
For bigger dogs: Try to lure them outside with a yummy treat . Or their favorite toy.
If they go out, dont force them to go any further.
Being Alone In The House
Your dog probably gets lonely when youre gone, so if your job constantly keeps you out of the house for long periods of time, your pet might stop jumping up to see you the minute you come home. Dogs are social beings, and theyre not content with just being alone for many hours like that, says Hartstein. Hire a dog walker or ask the usual walker to add another walk to your pets schedule, suggests Dr. Nelson.
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How Can You Help Your Dog If It’s Depressed
Our dogs can’t verbally tell us how they are feeling, so it can often be a challenge to understand exactly what they are going through. Once you have spotted the visible signs of sadness in your pup, it’s important you know what can be done to help.
“The first thing that you should do if you suspect that your dog is depressed is seek advice from your vet. Sudden behavioural changes can be the initial signs of illness, so it is important to check that these symptoms aren’t happening due to a physical ailment before anything else,” the experts say.
1. Offering your dog more attention: One of the best ways to help your sad pup is by ensuring they get more attention. The experts at Canagan explain: “It’s important to offer this added attention in moderation as you will need to allow your dog time to deal with their feelings at their own pace.”
2. Keep your dog active: Similar to humans, spending time in the fresh air can drastically help to boost your dog’s mood. Again, you may need to build this up slowly, but taking your dog out on regular walks will help them both physically and mentally.
The experts say: “When they aren’t properly stimulated and can’t expend all of their natural energy, a dog’s boredom levels can turn into sadness. Just like humans, when dogs are active their brains release dopamine and serotonin – the ‘feel good’ chemicals which supercharge their mood.”
Can You Treat Depression In Dogs
If you can identify the issues with your dog, then yes, depression can be cured within a matter of a few days or months.
It is important to praise your dog when they seem happier and realizing not to encourage negative behavior by lavishing them with treats or attention.
If your dog has shown signs of moping because of the loss of another pet, then sometimes it can help to introduce them to a new furry friend.
However, if none of this is working then there are medications your dog can take to help with depression. Medications used for depressed dogs are often the same as those used by depressed humans: Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft.
Clomicalm, an FDA approved drug, can also be used for the treatment of .
According to Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviourists, it can take up to two months for drugs to become effective.
But, unlike people, she says, who often remain on antidepressants for years, most dogs can get better in six to 12 months and then be taken off the drugs.
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Depression & Anxiety In Dogs
Do your dog’s nerves seem to be on edge, or is your pooch behaving in a way that leads you to believe they may be anxious or depressed?
Check out the list of symptoms below. If your dog is exhibiting three or more of the following signs of depression or anxiety, a trip to your vet can help to pinpoint whether your pup’s symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:
Signs of Dog Depression
- Won’t play with people or toys
- “Sad” expression
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
- Obsessive paw licking
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
Reasons Your Dog Is Depressed
The unconditional love dogs show their owners is a constant source of joy. And its reliable: Dog owners know they can walk through the door after a long day at work and have their pup shower them with kisses while she barks, cries, and jumps excitedly and almost uncontrollably. Theres nothing quite like that feeling, which makes the rare occasions when your dog reacts in a more subdued wayor doesnt react at allstand out so much.
Depression isnt typically diagnosed in dogs, but veterinarians and behaviorists know the signs of depressive behavior well. Jane Bowers, a certified dog trainer and certified canine behavior consultant, says symptoms of depression in dogs include becoming withdrawn, no longer participating in things he or she used to like to do, becoming inactive, sleeping more, and being less interested in food.
But because we cant ask dogs why theyre behaving this way, its important to pay attention to the context around this behavior and know the common causes. Here are six reasons why your dog might be acting depressed.
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Thy Shall Not Worry Too Fast Dog Depression Symptoms
#10: Increased appetite
Every dog is made different.
So in some cases, instead of eating less, other dogs might always be hungry.
This could be their own way of coping with stress. Like when people eat more snacks to make themselves feel better.
Other canines can be so food motivated as well. So you may not even notice that theyre having the blues.
Should I be alarmed once they eat more?
If this is a new behavior, yes. And if youre also sure that youre feeding your dog well based on their breed and size.
So monitor your dog more. Also, watch out for other symptoms they might show aside from this.
Because although it doesnt look like it
An increased appetite can also be one of the many signs of an illness. Such as:
#11: Becoming clingy
A dog in distress can also seek comfort in their humans.
So theyll always stick by their parents side. Or will often paw at them for attention.
This is proven in a study about 159 dogs and 152 cats who lost a furry friend.
And according to the researchers, 74% of the canines have become clingier.
So if you have a cuddly pooch, theyll be even needier this time.
Or if you have an aloof one, they may start asking for more snuggles. As they need your emotional support.
This is because physical contact with a loved one is said to be healing. Not only for humans but also for dogs.
But, it might be a different case for some
#12: Distant behavior to everyone
Depression can also make dogs become withdrawn all of a sudden.