Much like their pet parents, dogs can experience anxiety and depression from time to time. If you think that your pooch is feeling anxious or blue the good news is that you may be able to help your pup feel better with these tips from our Mechanicsburg vets.
Dog Anxiety & Dog Depression
Do your dog's nerves seem to be on edge, or is your canine companion showing behaviors that lead you to believe they may be anxious or depressed?
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:
Common Signs of Dog Depression
- 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
Common Signs of Dog Anxiety
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
- Obsessive paw licking
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Pacing aimlessly
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
Causes of Depression & Anxiety in Dogs
Our four-legged friends crave routine, which means that any major life changes or distressing events can have a huge impact on their emotional state.
While obvious emotional events such as their owner's death or prolonged absence can cause anxiety or depression in dogs, 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 blues.
Ways to Help Your Pooch Feel Better
Predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction, and plenty of physical activity benefit anxious or depressed dogs. Here are a few more suggestions for reducing your dog's depression:
See Your Veterinarian
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 can often recover from depression with just a little extra love and attention from their pet parent, your veterinarian can prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help calm their nerves if things don't improve.
Keep Your Dog Occupied
Bored pets frequently misbehave and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house for the day, and provide plenty of toys to keep them occupied and help reduce dog anxiety. To keep your dog's body and mind active while you're away, look for interactive toys that can be stuffed with treats.
Remember that dogs are social creatures who enjoy being around people and other animals. If your dog appears lonely and depressed, try taking him to the dog park, group classes, or doggie daycare for more social interaction. You might even want to consider getting your dog a companion animal.
Show Lots of Love & Patience
Dogs require a lot of love and patience to feel safe and content, and this is especially true if they are depressed or anxious. You may be able to alleviate these issues by giving your pup a little extra time and attention.
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.