Animals have emotions, too. Far from what most people know, animals express their emotions better than humans. With this being said, it is also normal for animals to experience emotional troubles such as depression.
Based on study, the symptoms of depression among dogs is a bit similar to the symptoms experienced by humans. And same as the depression that humans undergo, this mental illness is also life-threatening to our furry companions.
This situation is alarming especially for those who are newbie in keeping a dog. This article aims to give you information about your dog’s behavior and how to tell if they are experiencing any emotional problems.
6 Signs That Your Dog Is Depressed
Many factors may affect your pets’ behavior including the change in environment, the people around them as well as changes in their routines. It is always best to call for help from your vet in case worst situations occur. Watch out for these signs and make sure to respond to them accordingly.
1. Hiding And Avoiding Contact With Anybody
Dogs are naturally sociable. They like being around with people including strangers. If your dog starts hiding in enclosed spaces and avoid close contact with anybody including yourself, it could either mean an illness, including depression or injury. This behavior could mean that something is bothering them. It could also mean other things. If this behavior continues for some time, it’s best to bring your pup to the vet and have it checked.
2. Loss Of Appetite
Depression in dogs can cause them to reduce or stop eating. A healthy dog can devour as much food as you show them. But if your dog starts to leave its bowl untouched, you must keep a close attention to it. It may be that your dog is giving you a sign that it is going through an emotional distress.
3. Loss Of Interest In Doing Activities
Even a slight change from your dog’s behavior can be a strong indication that it is dealing with a serious emotional illness. Each dog’s energy level, routine and favorite activities vary. Some dogs enjoy more physical activities than the others.
In order to understand your dog’s mood and feelings, you have to pay attention to your dog’s usual routine and how its daily activities change. For example, if your dog loves catching Frisbee and it suddenly stops doing so, it could be a telltale sign that your dog is sad or depressed.
4. Sudden Aggression
Depression isn’t only shown by sad faces. Moreover, aggressive behavior doesn’t always mean that your dog is going through an emotional problem. But in case your pup has always been cuddly and sweet and suddenly starts snapping and tearing things around, there might be something wrong. You need to worry about it immediately but if your pooch aggressive behavior aggravates, you’d better ask for your vet’s advice.
5. Sleeping Too Much
A dramatic change in your dog’s sleeping habit is also a clear sign that there could be something wrong. On average, dogs sleep 12 – 14 hours a day. This may change depending on your dog’s breed, routines and age. Aging dogs tend to sleep a lot longer. These things should be considered to tell whether your dog is having some trouble or not. If you think that your dog sleeps more than it used to, consider bringing it to the vet.
6. Excessive Paw Licking
Though paw licking is a normal habit for your pooch, it could also be a sign of depression. There are also other physiological reasons this behavior. Some examples are bacterial infection and other related diseases. What you have to watch out for is if your dog shows other signs of depression along with its excessive paw licking habit.
How to Cheer Up a Depressed Dog
As much as we need to know and understand what our pets are trying to say through their behavior, it is also best to learn how to comfort them when they start showing signs of too much sadness.
Below are ways to comfort a depressed dog:
Spend More Time With Your Dog
Whatever it is that is making your dog sad, the best way to make it feel better is to show your love and support for it. Watching with your dog by your side, feeding it or taking it for a walk can be a great way to spend time together. They are simple gestures, yes, but they make a big difference in your pup’s life.
Establish A Consistent Routine For Your Dog
Dogs sometimes start showing signs of depression after some changes. Establishing a new habit will help your dog get accustomed to the new things around it. Dogs feel great if they are given something to look forward to so setting activities for your dog will surely be of great help. Make sure that the routine includes healthy habits. This is not only for your dog but for yourself as well.
Give Your Dog Time To Socialize With Other Pups
Being a social animal, sometimes it is also good for your dogs to be with its own kind. It will help your dog experience something new and being with other dogs can encourage it to start doing some activities. Though you still have to care about your pet’s behavior towards this situation.
Take Your Dog Somewhere
Whether it’s just a short walk to the park or a short drive somewhere, it could mean a lot to your dogs. Like humans experiencing emotional trouble, dogs also feel better when travelling to and experiencing a new place. It could also include activities that you do together and most importantly, you are spending time together.
As dogs have emotions, too, we should also care about how they feel. They are always a great companion for us so why not be a good companion for them, too. Learning about simple things like these will help us understand our furry friends more. In case of situations that seem hard to handle, we can always seek for the vets’ help.