Mental Health

Dogs Can Have the Blues Too

| by LuLuSkye

Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows that they are incredibly emotional beings. And when your canine friend is feeling down, it’s like it’s happening to a member of your family. Unfortunately, knowing how to treat a dog’s depression is often at least as hard as addressing the problem in a human. Their inability to talk makes it difficult to identify the cause of their depression and even harder to help them through it.

There are steps you can take, though. The first thing to do is understanding what can happened to depress your dog and how to recognized when your dog is feeling depressed. The most common cause of depression and stress is a sudden change in the dog’s life. This can be physical trauma, a move, the loss of another dog or a human family member, or the addition of a baby. Some dogs even experience depression with changes in the weather.

Depression can manifest itself in many different ways:

  • - Lethargy or general sleepiness
  • - Loss of appetite or rapid weight loss
  • - Whining
  • - Clinginess
  • - Personality change

If your dog is exhibiting any of these symptoms, he or she may be feeling depressed. Generally, the best treatment is simply to pay more attention to your friend and show them your affection.

How to treat a dog’s depression may vary depending on the individual, but the following activities may help snap your dog of her funk:

  • - Play together. Go for a walk or another activity you can do together.
  • - Go shopping. Find some new toys that can engage your dog’s attention, like toys that make sounds or release food.
  • - Go for a ride in the car or take a trip to the park. Seeing other dogs may help, but obviously this will depend on your pet’s temperament.
  • - Sit on the floor. Getting down on your dog’s level helps him to feel that you are engaged.
  • - Consider doggy daycare or a sitter if your dog is left home alone all day.
  • - If you suspect the depression is related to the loss of another family pet, consider getting a new one. If this isn’t possible, set up some times for your dog to visit neighbor dogs.

It’s important to be patient and give your dog time to come around, but if you suspect there may be some other problems or if your dog just won’t begin acting like her old self, consider seeing a vet. There may be an underlying medical cause, and a vet can often offer advice, support, or referrals to a specialist who can help your dog through this trying time.

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