Dog Anxiety & Depression
Have you noticed that your dog's nerves seem to be tenser lately? Perhaps your canine companion is displaying behaviors that have lead you to believe they may be anxious or depressed.
If you've seen three or more of these signs, a visit to your vet can help pin down whether your pooch's symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety or something else.
Common Signs of Dog Depression
- Lack of energy
- Hiding or avoiding you
- Disinterest in playing with toys or people
- "Sad" facial expression
- Not sleeping
- Sleeping too much
- Howling, aggression or growling
- Decreased appetite
Common Signs of Dog Anxiety
- Panting for no reason
- Trembling, whining or whimpering
- Aimless pacing
- Spontaneous urination or bowel movement
- Obsessive paw licking
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
Causes of Depression & Anxiety in Dogs
Our four-legged best friends thrive on routine, which means that any major changes to their life or distressing events can significantly impact their emotional state.
You might immediately think of emotional events as an owner's prolonged absence or death. While these can absolutely bring on symptoms of depression or anxiety in dogs, other less extreme events such as an illness or injury, new pet or person in the home or even a move to a new home or environment can cause your pet to experience a case of the blues.
How You Can Help Your Pup 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:
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 for a wellness exam.
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.
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.
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.
Show Lots of Love & Patience
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.