Much like their pet parents, dogs can experience anxiety and depression from time to time. If you think that your dog is feeling anxious or blue the good news is that you may be able to help your dog feel better with these tips from our Western Veterinary Hospital 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 dog'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 emotional events such as their owner’s death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other 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 dog's case of the blues.
Ways to Help Your Pooch Feel Better
Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction, and lots of physical activity. Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:
See Your Veterinarian
Some symptoms linked to depression and anxiety can 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 will often recover from depression with just a little extra love and attention from their pet parent, your veterinarian can provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if things don’t show signs of improvement.
Keep Your Dog Occupied
Bored pets often get into mischief, and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house for the day, and supply your dog 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.
Keep in mind that dogs are social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. If your dog seems lonely and sad try taking your dog to the dog park, group classes, or doggie daycare for additional social interaction. You may even want to consider getting a companion animal for your dog.
Show Lots of Love & Patience
Dogs need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented - even more so if they are feeling depressed or anxious. By giving your dog 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.