Depression in dogs – symptoms, causes, and recovery

Depression in dogs

Depression is not such a rare condition, and it doesn’t only affect humans, but also animals. Maybe you just moved, or you brought home a new puppy, and you feel he is withdrawn and lifeless. Is it possible that your furry companion is depressed? Based on many experts and doctors’ opinions, this condition can affect dogs as well, and it’s quite similar to us, humans. Many pet parents state that dogs can feel the emotions and the loss of their owner. They go through a mourning period which disturbs their balance and makes them feel depressed. Symptoms of loss of appetite and weak physical activity are strong indicators. But, let’s break down the facts and see how dogs get depressed.

Can your pet suffer from depression?

depressed dogWhen you are trying to establish their condition, it’s tough to get a confirmation. Veterinarians don’t really know whether your dog is depressed because he can’t ask him. But, based on clinical practice, there are a couple of situations which lead to only one explanation. In most cases, it’s not uncommon for pets to get down, especially during the time of change, but it’s rare for dogs to suffer from long-term depression.

What are the symptoms?

The dog depression symptoms are very similar to those with people. During this stressful period, dogs will become withdrawn, inactive, and their eating and sleeping habits will change. They will not enjoy the things that once brought them happiness. On the other hand, many vets will warn that these symptoms can also indicate a medical problem. For instance, a dog that mopes around and doesn’t want to go for a walk could merely have pain from arthritis. Or, if you are trying to teach your pet to retrieve and he won’t move, that may indicate that he is struggling with some pain.

Causes of dog depression

Significant changes in dog depression can lead to periods of depression. This can include various factors, for example, moving to a new home, new spouse or baby, or adding another pet to your household. Even if you make changes in dog schedule, for example, a stay-at-home owner who takes a job, can cause a dog to feel depressed. But, there are two most common triggers of severing dog depression, the loss of owner and the loss of companion animal. But, you should be careful that your pet isn’t responding to reactions to other people in your household. They are known for soaking up the emotions, and when they feel that people are sad around them, the dogs tend to behave in the same way. On the other hand, if the owner has died, the dog may not be getting the attention he is accustomed to, and this situation is stressing him out.

Treatments you can use

Many dogs overcome this condition within a few days to a few months. But, owners need to keep them engaged, do more things they like to do, provide them more exercise and they should feel fine. Every time they show the sign of happiness, you should award them. If even the small activity makes them happy during the day, make sure to repeat it a couple of times. Make sure not to encourage negative behavior and lavish your dogs with treat and attention while he is moping. In this case, dogs will think you are awarding them for their behavior, and they will continue the same habits when they get better. If you want to encourage them and boost their spirit, then everything needs to be done carefully, and the entire family needs to get involved in this process.

What medications can you use?

Medications should be your last option, but they can help dogs get past their depression. In this case, medicines for depressed dogs are the same used with humans, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. Some vets also use Clomicalm, which is an FDA approved drug, that is used for separation anxiety in dogs. It is essential that pet owners deal with this problem before it gets too bad. By the time owners notice the signs of depression, they are usually bad. But most cases can successfully be treated with behavioral therapy and environmental enrichment. In this case, owners can avoid using drugs on their pets.

Another method

In the end, if nothing works in the way you have imagined, you may think about getting another dog. It can be a huge commitment, especially if you have a packed schedule, but it can tremendously help your pet. Since they are the same kind, dogs understand each other and have a positive influence on themselves. Getting your dog, a new friend can have a powerful impact on him and help him fight this challenging condition. We can guarantee you will notice a difference in a couple of days.


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