Most of us have had a bad day where we just couldn’t seem to shake the blues. For dogs, this feeling can be more than just a bad day it can be clinical depression. While it may be tempting to write off your dog’s low mood as them “just being a dog,” the fact is that dogs are susceptible to depression just like humans are. The good news is that there are ways to treat your dog depression and help them feel like their old selves again.
What Is Dog Depression?
Just like in humans, dog depression is caused by a combination of factors, including chemical imbalances, changes in hormone levels, grief, and stress. Dogs who suffer from depression may exhibit signs of lethargy, weight loss or gain, changes in sleeping habits, excessive licking or biting, and withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed. If you notice any of these changes in your dog’s behavior, it’s important to take them to the vet so they can rule out any medical causes and develop a treatment plan.
Signs of Dog Depression
There are a few key signs to look out for that may indicate your dog is suffering from depression. They include:
- Lethargy or unwillingness to play
- Frequent sighing
- Eating less or not at all
- Sleeping more than usual
- Panting for no reason
If you notice any of these changes in your dog’s behavior, it’s important to take them to the vet right away. Your vet will be able to rule out any medical causes for the behavioral changes and develop a treatment plan if necessary.
How to Treat Dog Depression?
The first step in treating your dog’s depression is to identify any potential causes and make changes accordingly. For example, if your dog is depressed because they’re not getting enough exercise, then you’ll need to adjust their daily routine to make sure they’s getting adequate exercise. Likewise, if your dog is depressed because of changes in their home life (e.g., a divorce, a move, etc.), then you’ll need to help them adjust to those changes as best you can.
In some cases, antidepressant medication may be necessary to help your dog recover from depression. If this is the case, your vet will work with you to find the right medication and dosage for your dog. In addition to medication, there are also natural supplements that can be helpful in treating depression in dogs. These include omega-3 fatty acids, probiotics, vitamin B complexes, and herbals such as St. John’s Wort.
Depression is a real problem for dogs but it’s one that can be treated with patience and care. If you think your dog may be depressed, the first step is to talk to your vet about it. They will rule out any medical causes and develop a treatment plan tailored specifically for your dog. In some cases, this may involve antidepressant medication or natural supplements. With love and attention from you, your dog will soon be on the road to recovery!