Pet Depression FAQ's
We all know pets can help relieve human symptoms of depression, but what's a human to do for their depressed pet? Below are some common questions pet owners have about pet depression.
Can My Pet Really Be Depressed?
Yes. Pets can experience many emotional disorders such as depression, separation anxiety, social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Untreated, depression or other emotional disorders can dramatically reduce your pet's quality of life.
What Causes Pet Depression?
Depression in your pet can be caused by a number of factors. Any major change in their life or routine can induce a bout of depression. Consider if your pet has recently lost a playmate or friend, or if their owner has left them. Changes in scenery have been known to cause symptoms of depression in pets, for example, if you move suddenly or send your pet to stay with someone without introducing them to the new place. A chemical imbalance can also trigger depression in your pet.
What Are Signs of Pet Depression?
Signs of pet depression include lethargy, reduced appetite and thirst, loss of initiative, weight loss and lack of interest in usually fun games.
How Do I know it is Depression and Not an Illness?
Its very important to thoroughly diagnose your pet's depression. Often times, weight loss and lethargy are caused by an illness, not depression. Be sure to monitor your pet's symptoms closely and share everything with your veterinarian, who may want to do some tests before settling on a depression diagnosis.
How Can I Treat My Pets Depression?
Consider the possible source of your pets depression. If their long-time playmate died, consider getting another pet to play with. If their child moved out of the house, be sure to give the pet plenty of love and play with them. Try to increase their activity level with walks and play time. Occasionally, a veterinarian will prescribe medication for your depressed pet.
How Can I Prevent Pet Depression?
Keep your pet active. Boredom and stress for pets can lead to other social disorders such as OCD and social anxiety. Establish and follow a routine so your pet can look forward to certain things. If you have a house sitter, explain thoroughly the pet's routine so its cycle is not thrown off. Avoid sending your pet to a kennel if that triggers depression. Consider regular doggy day care where you pet can play with other friends, or take them on play dates or to parks to meet others. If your pet is going to stay in a new place, introduce them to the place and their new care giver slowly. Bring the pet to the new house a few times and let them get used to it and the person who will care for them. Don't be sad; make sure to maintain a positive attitude that will rub off on your pet. Pet depression can be a serious problem, but it doesn't have to. By noticing your pet's behavior and immediately taking steps to help it, you can provide a happy life for your pet.
Photo Credit: killroyo5