Just like people, dogs can become depressed or experience anxiety from time to time. If your think that your pet is feeling anxious or depressed, follow some of the tips here from our Gilbert veterinarians to try and help them feel better.
Anxiety & Depression in Dogs
Does your dog seem to be on edge? Are they acting in a way that makes you think they might be anxious or depressed?
Dogs suffering from anxiety or depression will typically display three or more of the following symptoms:
Common Signs of Dog Depression
- Not sleeping
- Growling, howling or aggression
- Disinterest in playing with people or toys
- "Sad" expression
- Lack of energy
- Avoiding you or hiding
- Sleeping too much
- Decreased appetite
Common Signs of Dog Anxiety
- Pacing aimlessly
- Obsessive paw licking
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
If your dog is displaying any or all of the above symptoms, it's time to bring them to the vet to find our what may be causing your pup's blues and whether there may be an underlying condition which requires treatment.
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 emotional events like their owner's death or a prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other, less extreme events like a move into a new home, an injury, a change in routine, an illness, or even a new pet or person in your home could be at the root of your pup's depression or anxiety.
Tips For Helping Your Pup to Feel Happier
Dogs that are anxious or depressed will generally benefit from predictable environments and routines, lots of physical activity and closely monitored social interactions.
Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:
Visit the Vet for An Examination
Some symptoms linked to depression and anxiety can actually have physical causes that need urgent veterinary attention. If your dog seems sad or particularly edgy it's time to schedule a visit with your vet.
Although dogs will often be able tor recover from depression with some extra love and attention from their pet parent, your vet will be able to rule out any conditions which may be influencing their mood and prescribe antidepressants or antianxiety medications top help calm your pup if they don't improve.
A Busy Dog is a Happy Dog
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.
Dogs Love Their Friends Too
Dogs love to socialize and spend time with people and other animals. if your dog seems sad or lonely, try bringing them to a dog park, to group classes, or to daycare for extra social interaction. You may even want to consider getting an animal companion for your dog.
Show Lots of Love & Patience
Our canine companions need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented, especially when 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.