Is Your Dog Suffering from Depression?
Depression in dogs is becoming an unrecognised psychological issue. It has become widespread in dogs around the world, where everyone lives a very busy life.
A Few days ago, I came across a neighbour’s pet, a miniature pitbull that is quite friendly with me always, suffering from mood swings. In an attempt to solve her Oscar’s struggle with socialisation with other pets, I identified the growing symptoms of depression in the poor dog. He was barely eating, playing or jumping around. He was sleeping a little more than usual.
Along with my neighbour, I worked on the reasons behind depression, and it’s practical as well as effective solutions.
The article will be a good read for you to know everything about depression in dogs.
Symptoms of Depression in Dogs:
It’s very important to recognize the symptoms correctly before proceeding for the cure. These symptoms will appear collectivity in case of severe depression. One or two of these symptoms will not necessarily point towards depression.
Tip: You have to be aware of the dog’s physiological or other psychological issues before concluding your findings.
- Skipping meals or eating less
- Excessive licking or chewing
- Avoidance or Hiding from the crowds or the owner
- Loss of interest
- Less or no tail wagging
- No more waiting for the owner (here separation anxiety is marked differently from depression)
Depression is significantly different from anxiety because of the dog’s energy levels and way of behaving around the house. An anxious dog may chew or lick excessively and feel anxiety to see the owner after a whole day. He will never try to hide away or lose interest in “the waiting.”
Reasons for Depression in Dogs:
Dogs usually get depressed after a change in their environment. It can be a change of place, change of attitude, change of placement of furniture, change of routine, etc. Even a new baby or a visitor who has arrived home recently and become a part of the family, can become a reason for depression in dogs in case you pay less attention to your dog.
Dogs need love and care, exercise and freedom, and fewer alterations in their life. However, you can make him adjust to new situations gradually.
The owner’s stress and depression can be another reason for a dog’s depression. Pets pick up on their owner’s emotions quickly. Consult a therapist if it’s you! Or you can spend time together to help the mutual depression.
Aggression and harsh treatment by present dog owners or a history of abuse can be a reason for stress and depression in the dog.
Another reason is the death of another pet at home to whom the dog was quite attached.
Cure for Depression in Dogs:
Here are some of the cures for depression we came across and practically implemented for Oscar’s depression.
When the dog is involved in a negative, disinterested, and sad behaviour, never give him a treat to cheer him up. Pay more attention to his behaviours. Get involved in some playful activity and as soon as your pooch starts participating willingly, appreciate him. Positively reinforce the wagging of the tail and playfulness of the little pooch.
When we suffer from depression or a sad mood, there’s nothing better than a long walk. Wake up your all-time-sleeping dog and go for a walk. Involve him in a playful and fun activity without a moment of lack of interest from your side. The pooch will get the positive vibes from the playful activities and can recover from depression steadily.
One thing to be kept in mind is never force the dog because he is already suffering. If he is avoiding crowded places or getting attached to the new visitor at home, it’s better not to force him. Let him guide you and move with the flow. Add some creativity and fun along the way.
Physical activity and exercise helped Oscar a great deal to get out of his depression!
Bring Home More Companions:
This trick can work in rare cases but it can if you bring home a very responsible, energetic, and loving companion for your dog. If he recently lost a companion pet, the trick can do the magic.
If the dog is avoiding company and wants your attention the most, give him time to heal. Create new beautiful memories with the pooch alone, so that he can overcome the loss gradually.
Engage the Dog:
With interactive toys, mind-boggling games, and fun pool games engage the pooch at all times. With time, the dog will forget the minor or major change that has come into his life. If it’s a routine change, create more fun in the new routine. Or if it’s the furniture that’s been moved, create new fun memories around the place. If it’s a baby, play together with the new family member and create affection for the little child in the dog’s heart.
In any case, the dog will understand that change is inevitable and a part of life. Your dog can get out of depression without any kinds of pills if you recognize the symptoms early on and identify the reasons on time.
Fiona Appleton is a Labrador owner. She is the manager of https://ultimatehomelife.com/ that has been developed to help people solve the troubles of pet ownership. An active advocate of animal protection campaigns. She wants people to understand that dog-behaviour is reflective of our behaviour.