As with their owners, dogs can experience anxiety and depression from now and again. If you think that your pooch is feeling anxious or blue try these easy tips from our Citrus County vets.
Dog Anxiety & Depression
Are your dog's nerves on edge, or is your pooch acting in a way that leads you to believe they may be feeling anxious or depressed? Anxiety and depression are both surprisingly common in our canine companions. Below are some of the signs of anxiety and depression in dogs that you can watch for, and a few strategies for helping your pooch feel better.
Common Signs of Dog Depression
Common signs of dog depression typically include three or more of the following:
- 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
Symptoms of Dog Anxiety
Dog anxiety manifests itself in a number of ways, sometimes destructive, other times just upsetting for pet parents to deal with. Some of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs include:
- Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
- Obsessive paw licking
- Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
- Panting for no reason
- Pacing aimlessly
- Whimpering, trembling, or whining
If your dog is displaying any of the symptoms above it's time to head to the vet to find out what is causing your four-legged friend to feel anxious, and whether there may be an underlying health issue that needs attention.
Reasons Why Your Dog May Be Depressed or Anxious
Dogs crave routine, which means that any major life changes or distressing events can have a huge impact on their emotional state.
While obviously emotional events such as the death of their owner or a 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 household could be the cause of your pup's case of the blues.
Ways to Help Your Dog Feel Better
Dogs that are anxious or depressed generally 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:
Visit Your Vet for An Examination
Some symptoms linked to depression and anxiety can actually have physical causes that need urgent veterinary attention. If your dog seems sad or particularly edgy it's time 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 vet can rule out any underlying physical conditions and provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm your dog's nerves if things don’t begin to improve.
Keep Your Dog Busy
Bored pets often get into mischief, and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your pup 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 pup's body and mind active while you're out of the house.
Make Time For Social Interactions
Dogs love to socialize and spend lots of time around their people and other animals. If your dog seems lonely and sad try taking your pooch 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, especially when they are feeling depressed or anxious. By giving your pooch a little extra time and attention each day 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.