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Anxiety & Depression in Dogs: How to Help

From time to time, dogs can suffer from depression and anxiety just like humans. If you notice your pup seems to have the blues, here are a few steps from our Rainbow City vets you can take to help them feel better. 

Is my dog depressed?

Does your dog seem on edge or out of sorts? Are they sleeping a lot and disinterested in playtime? If so your dog may be suffering from depression or anxiety. If you notice your dog behaving strangely, your first step should always be to make an appointment for a routine exam. You'll want to rule out any underlying physical changes that could be causing your pup's symptoms. 

If the vet deems your dog physically healthy but they still seem down, there are a few steps you can take, including extra exercise and extra attention. 

What are the signs of depression in dogs?

Common signs of dog depression typically include three or more of the following:

  • Disinterest in playing with people or toys
  • Lack of energy
  • Avoiding you or hiding
  • Growling, howling, or aggression
  • Sleeping too much
  • Decreased appetite
  • Not sleeping

What are the signs of anxiety in dogs?

Dog anxiety manifests itself in a number of ways, some of which can be destructive. The most common signs of an anxious dog are:

  • 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. 

Why is my dog 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.

How can I help my 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 The 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.

A Busy Dog is a Happy Dog

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.

Dogs Love Their Friends Too

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.

If your dog is showing signs of anxiety or depression, contact our Rainbow City Vets to book an examination for your canine companion today.

New Patients Welcome

Central Valley Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Rainbow City companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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