What You Should Know About Dog Depression
Some may find it hard to believe, but dogs can be depressed. Dog depression can be mild to severe, and is more than simply being down for a few days. Dogs can experience long bouts of depression just as humans do. Here is some information on dog depression and what you can do to help your pet.
Possible Causes of Dog Depression
Any number of factors may induce depression in your dog. Consider life from the dog's point of view: did you leave your pet alone for an extended period of time? Has their child grown up and moved out of the house? Maybe their long-time playmate moved away? Any change of scenery, change in routine or loss of a close friend or human may have triggered your dog's depression. A chemical imbalance may also be to blame.
Signs of Pet Depression
If you think your pet may be depressed, look for signs of lethargy and lack of interest in activities that are usually fun. Your dog may not eat as much as usual, or drink less water and might lose weight. A lack of initiative may also be a sign of depression in your dog.
Depression or Physical Illness?
Consider your dog's normal behavior. If it's not acting the way it usually does, this is a sign something is wrong. Be sure to see your veterinarian; you want to make sure your dog's lethargy and weight loss isn't due to a serious illness or disease. Your vet will want to rule out all possible physical ailments before treating for depression.
Treating Your Dog's Depression
Your veterinarian may recommend an anti-depressant medication. However, there are other ways to naturally treat your dog's depression. Be sure to show your dog your love and try to play with it. Your pet will pick up on your positive mood. If the source of the depression may have been the loss of a playmate, try taking your dog to doggy day care or a dog park to meet new friends. Increase their activity level bit by bit, encouraging them to play with you. If you are gone from home for long periods of time, consider getting another playmate that will provide company for your dog while you're away.
Prevention is Key
The best way to treat depression is to make sure it never happens. Consider your dog's feelings when making major decisions. If you have a sensitive pet, a sudden change may cause anxiety. Try and introduce them to the change gradually. If you're moving, bring your dog over to the new place a few times. Be sure to keep at least some of the furniture your pet is used to and comfortable with, or arrange furniture in the same way as it was before the move. If your dog will be staying with friends while you're away, bring it to their house a few times before you leave. Make sure your dog gets comfortable with them and their new house. The most important thing to do is to keep your dog's feelings in mind. If your dog tends to be affected by minor incidents, introduce them gradually if possible. Small steps can go a long way in improving your dog's quality of life, and reducing or preventing depression in your beloved pet.
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