Set Him Up On Play Dates
If you have a relative, a friend or a neighbor who has a dog, it would be a good idea to set your dog up on a play-date. This idea will help especially if your dog is lonely after the loss of a companion, or separation from a family member . Depending on your dogs nature, you can arrange him to meet other dogs and spend some time with them. Spending time with other canines will help your dog get over depression.
The aforementioned ideas are just some small things which you can do to help your dog get over his/her depression. However, if these ideas dont seem to help, ask the vet for advice. There are some medical treatments to help cure depression in dogs, but not many people are comfortable with using them. Make sure to get appropriate advice before you take any action.
Disclaimer: The ideas mentioned in the article are not meant to be used as substitutes for medical advice. Depression in your pet could be the result of an underlying medical condition. Please take your pet for regular checkups to make sure he/he is free from medical ailments.
Sleeping More Than Usual
Every animal is different, so theres no one-size-fits-all number of hours of sleep that would signal dog depression. Just pay attention if your dog is spending more time in bed than usual. If your 15-year-old dog normally sleeps 14 hours a day and now its 20, that would be a big difference, says Dr. Ryan. Heres how you can become your dogs favorite human.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dog Depression
Dog depression symptoms are very similar to those in people, said John Ciribassi, DVM, past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. Dogs will become withdrawn. They become inactive. Their eating and sleeping habits often change. They dont participate in the things they once enjoyed.
But vets warn those symptoms also can mean a dog has a medical problem, so the first course of action should always be a full checkup by a veterinarian. A pet that mopes around and no longer wants to go for walks could simply have pain from arthritis, Beaver says.
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What Causes Dog Depression
There are many factors that can impact on a dogs emotional state these include changes to routine, environment, social group, or as a result of chronic stress or anxiety resulting from fears and phobias or lifestyle. Some of these can produce what looks like a canine version of depression but so often owners dont recognise the change in their dogs mood or know they can do some very simple things to transform their dogs life for the better and make dog depression a thing of the past.
Most dogs like routine and are happiest when they know and are confident in their environment. Dramatic changes such as house moves, building work or major home re-organisations can leave your dog feeling uncertain, and you may well see changes in their personality or behaviour as they try to process the changes and regain their routine and feelings of safety.
Dogs fit into our lives so well because they bond very strongly to us. Most dogs will bond to their entire perceived family and changes to this social dynamic can strongly affect dogs.
This could be changes in the home as a result of divorce, bereavement , children leaving home or even a change in working patterns. Dogs dont understand where their friend or loved one has gone and of course we cant explain it to them.
Do Dogs Get Depression
Believe it or not, dogs can experience depression just like us humans. Dog depression can have a negative impact on a dogs overall health and quality of life. Therefore, its important for owners to know what to look out for and what to do if you suspect your dog has a persistent low mood. In doing so, you will be able to take steps to help your dog.
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Signs Of Depression In Dogs
Common symptoms of depression in dogs include:
- Lack of interest in their favorite activities
- Spending much more time sleeping or lying quietly
- Loss of appetite
- In severe cases, they may stop eating and drinking altogether
Sometimes, a depressed dog may also choose to go off into a quiet corner and not interact with the family or other pets in their normal way. The signs and behaviors you see in a depressed dog can also fit with a number of different health problems. So even if you think your dog is simply depressed, it is always a good idea to have a check up with your veterinarian to rule out other illnesses. While it is unusual for a dog to die from depression alone, if your dog has a chronic health condition such as diabetes, not eating could contribute to a life threatening situation.
How To Get Her Out Of A Funk
If your pups acting sad all of a sudden, you might be wondering if dogs can get depressed.
The idea that dogs can get depressed might seem crazy at first, especially considering the fact that dogs are seemingly always happy, and people who suffer from depression actually get dogs in order to help manage their own depression.
But dogs actually can get depressed. In fact, your dogs emotions are more similar to a humans than you might have initially thought.
The Dodo reached out to Dr. Corinne Wigfall, a veterinarian working with Spirit Dog Training, and Dr. Jonathan Roberts, a veterinarian working with Pet Keen, to find out more about depression in dogs.
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But Excessive Sleepiness Might Also Be A Sign That Something Is Wrong
Some dogs seem to spend all day napping, but you should take note when a formerly energetic pooch seems especially sleepy.
“I have seen some dogs that are mourning for the loss of a loved one be quite subdued and sleep more than would be expected,” Jones said.
If your dog has recently suffered the death of an owner or close human companion, be sure to take note of frequent napping. A dog that doesn’t seem to react to your presence or seems groggy throughout the day may need to be evaluated by a vet.
Keeping Your Dog Comfortable And Healthy Is The Best Way To Combat Depression
If you suspect that your pup is suffering from depression, make sure all their basic needs are being met. Give them warmth, healthy food, comfortable bedding, and plenty of attention. You should also make sure that your dog knows what to expect and how you want them to behave.
“When the owner provides a clear and stable set of balanced rules to live by, a dog gains a sense of security,” advised Jones.
“Maintaining a leadership-based style with the dog regardless of recent changes can help a great deal in my experience, as a routine provides emotional security.”
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Here Are The Biggest Signs Of Depression In Dogs According To Vets
A sudden change in your dogs behaviour or mood is often a clear sign that something is wrong. Whilst a change in behaviour could be due to a number of reasons, there are specific traits you can look out for in order to determine whether your dog may be depressed. Some signs of depression in dogs may include some or all of the following:Loss of appetite/increased appetiteWhen a person becomes depressed, their relationship with food may change. They may be so overcome with emotion or lethargy that they lose their appetite. Some people may have the opposite experience and may eat more often as a way of comforting themselves. Dogs can also experience changes to their appetite depending on their mood. Keep an eye out for any sudden or extreme changes to their eating habits.
Being lethargic and sleeping often
If your dog starts sleeping a lot more than unusual or seems to lack energy and becomes lethargic, then this could be a sign of depression. Adult dogs may sleep up to 14 hours on average, in a 24-hour day, with puppies needing even more sleep than that! So it could be quite difficult to distinguish a sleepy dog from a run-down, depressed dog. However, if you know your canine, you should be able to spot any extreme or sudden changes in their sleeping pattern.
Hiding or becoming withdrawn
It Ain’t What You Do It’s 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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Ways To Help Your Dog To Feel Better
If your dog is showing signs of anxiety or depression here are some tips that may help your pooch feel better.
See Your 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 dont show signs of improvement.
Keep your Pooch on a Regular Schedule
Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction, and lots of physical activity. Try to feed your pup and provide walks and exercise at the same time every day, even on weekends. Your pooch will know what to expect each day and begin to look forward to their walks and mealtimes.
Keep Your Dog Occupied
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.
Show Lots of Love & Patience
Know What To Look For
If you don’t have any specialized training, you might not be familiar with what is normal when it comes to your dog’s mental health and what isn’t. The thing is, you know what’s normal for your pup, so you can spot any abnormalities. Has your dog’s behavior changed? If so how? If they are less enthusiastic about eating, playing, socializing, or being pet than they usually are, this might be a sign that something isn’t right, Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, a certified professional dog trainer and founder of Fun Paw Care, tells Bustle. Watch out for changes in personality and body language, and if they’re lasting, check in with the vet.
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Getting A Depressed Dog Happy
Turning your dogs mood around isnt always as easy as waving the ball around, but with a little investigation and time, you can treat your pets depression.
This time for you and your dog is a season in life. Once you solve the underlying issues, you can get back to those sunshiney days of worry-free romping around the park.
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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The Very End: What Happens At The Vet
If you decide on euthanasia, and a home visit from your vet isnt possible, you will need to take a trip to the vets office.
This can be upsetting, soyou may want to bring a support person.
Larger dogs may need someone to hold them in the car, which can make a support person very valuable.
Euthanasia is often very quick and will be painless. But you will need to call ahead and make an appointment.
Usually, the appointment will be late at night or early in the morning when the office is not busy. Most vets will build time into the appointment for you to say goodbye to your pet, once the injections have been administered.
The procedure itself is very simple. Your vet will likely give your dog a strong sedative, which will make him very sleepy and calm.
Then, the vet will inject pentobarbital. This is a medication used for anesthesia, so your canine will drift off to sleep.
In this case, the dosage will be much higher than is safe, so it will halt your pets breathing.
Your dog will fall asleep before this happens, so he will not feel any pain or know what is happening. This process takes about 10 to 20 seconds, and you will likely be able to hold your pet throughout the entire thing.
The only pain your pet will feel is the prick of the needle, which does not hurt more than your average shot. After that, they will drift off to sleep and just not wake up.
What Are The Signs Of Dog Depression
A depressed dog will display particular behaviours that dog owners should familiarise themselves with. Its important to know what these signs are so that you can step in and address them.
Signs that a dog may be feeling depressed include:
- Low energy or disinterested behaviour
- Less interest in playing, walks or toys
- A pattern of eating much more or less than normal
- Excessive licking or chewing
- A change in sleep pattern
- Anxious behaviours such as pacing or chewing
- Destructive or aggressive behaviour
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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.
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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How Can I Help My Dog Cope With Grief
When signs of grief become evident following the loss of an animal or human family member, concerned owners can help their dogs deal with grief:
When a member of that family unit is gone, there is a huge void in the dogs life and he may need help in dealing with loss.