Just like humans, our canine companions can sometimes experience anxiety and depression. If you believe your pup is feeling anxious or depressed, there is several ways that you might be able to help them feel better. Today our Moreno Valley vets explain the possible causes of your dog's distress and how you can help them.
Anxiety & Depression in Dogs
Are your dog's nerves appearing to be on edge? Or, is your pup displaying behaviors that are making you think they might be anxious or depressed?
If your notice three or more of the symptoms listed below, visit your vet who will be able to help you determine whether or not your canine companions symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:
Common Signs of Dog Depression
- Not sleeping
- "Sad" expression
- Lack of energy
- Avoiding you or hiding
- Growling, howling or aggression
- Sleeping too much
- Decreased appetite
- Disinterest in playing with people or toys
Common Signs of Dog Anxiety
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
- Obsessive paw licking
- Pacing aimlessly
- Panting for no reason
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
Causes of Depression & Anxiety in Dogs
Dog's can feel anxiety or depression for many reasons, especially because they love having a good routine and anything from minor to major life events can cause them to become anxious or depressed. Below we have listed some of the most common reasons why your dog could be feeling distressed:
- Emotional events ( ex. owners death or prolonged absence)
- Moving to a new home
- Change in routine
- New pet or person in the home
Ways to Help Your Pooch to Feel Better
Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction, and tons of physical activity. Following are a few more tips on how to help lower your dog's anxiety and depression:
See Your Vet
Some symptoms associated with depression and anxiety could actually have physical causes that require urgent veterinary attention. The first thing you should do if your dog doesn't seem happy is to schedule an appointment with your vet.
Even though dogs can often recover from depression with just a little extra love and attention from their owner, your veterinarian can provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if they don’t show signs of improvement.
Keep Your Dog Busy
Bored pets often cause mischief, and get anxious or depressed. Make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise before you leave the house for the day, and give your pooch 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 are away.
Keep in mind that dogs are social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. If your dog appears lonely and sad try taking them to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction. You might even want to consider getting a companion animal for your dog.
Show Lots of Love & Patience
Dogs require lots of love and patience to feel safe and content - even more so if they are feeling depressed or anxious. By giving your canine friend a little extra time and attention you could 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.