Just like people dogs can experience anxiety or depression. Here our vets in Hoquiam discuss the symptoms of anxiety and depression in dogs, and how you can help them feel better.
Does My Dog Have Depression or Anxiety?
If you have been asking yourself the question “Is my dog depressed?” your dog’s behavior might be able to provide you with an answer.
If you find 3 or more of the following signs and symptoms of depression or anxiety in your dog, you should schedule an appointment with your vet who will be able to diagnose their condition, or tell you if it is something else:
- Lack of appetite
- Hiding or avoiding you
- Aggression, growling or howling
- Not sleeping (or sleeping too much)
- No interest in playing with people or toys
- "Sad" facial expression
- Trembling, whining, or whimpering
- Panting or pacing
- Paw licking
- Destructive behaviors
- Spontaneous elimination (bowel movement or urination)
The Causes of Dog Anxiety and Depression
Dogs are creatures of habit, so any distressing events or major life changes could impact their emotions.
You first might consider the more obvious events such as an owner’s death or prolonged absence, but moving to a new home, an injury or illness, a change in their routine, any traumatic event, or even a new roommate could all cause their malaise.
Helping a Dog with Anxiety or Depression
Depressed or anxious dogs often benefit from predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction (if the cause is related to other dogs or people), and a consistent routine with lots of physical activity. Below we have listed some ways you might be able to help your anxious or depressed pooch:
See your vet
Your vet is an essential resource when it comes to all aspects of your dog’s health. Because some symptoms can have physical causes that need urgent medical attention, the first thing to do is to schedule a visit.
Although most dogs will recover from depression on their own (with a little extra love and attention from their human), your vet can provide medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to calm their nerves if things don’t improve.
Keep your dog physically active and entertained
Bored pets can become anxious or get into mischief. Make sure your dog gets exercise before you leave for the day and that they have enough toys around to keep them busy. Many toys are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep dogs amused.
Spend time with friends
Dogs are naturally social animals that love interacting with other dogs and people. Consider getting a companion animal or taking lonely pets to the park, classes, or doggie daycare for more interaction.
Show them love and patience
Our pets need lots of patience and love - especially when they are feeling anxious or depressed. So a simple way to help them is by giving them some extra attention and time.
At Raintree Veterinary Hospital we can provide you with tips, treatments, and medications to help your pup get back to their happy selves.
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.