Dogs are very sensitive animals who can easily understand our emotions like happiness, sadness and even exhaustion. Fortunately, they are also very loving creatures and their affection and company can be very comforting during these times. However, we humans often don’t reciprocate their sensitivity as well as we should.
Although dogs and humans experience depression differently, both are susceptible to it. The causes may differ, but if we are attuned to our dog’s behavior, we should be able to identify when they are experiencing a bout of depression, regardless of how long it lasts. If a dog has only recently been adopted into our family, however, we may not be as aware of their normal behavior pattern and thus may not be able to as easily identify when they are depressed.
It can be tough to tell the difference between a dog’s regular behavior and depression. The most common signs of depression in dogs are lack of appetite, apathy, sluggishness, and reduced affection for their guardians. Other signs may include hiding, sleeping more than usual, or unwillingness to play. However, some of these behaviors could also be caused by an underlying health condition. The underlying causes of depression in dogs are varied, but they typically appear after a significant change to their routine, a traumatic experience, or hormonal changes. Determining the underlying cause is essential to solving the behavioral problem. The death of a loved one or the introduction of a new family member, such as a baby, are common causes of depression. There are many possible underlying causes of depression in dogs which, if left untreated, can lead to serious health problems. If your dog is exhibiting signs of depression, it is important to seek professional help from a veterinarian or dog trainer/behaviorist. Without treatment, the situation could worsen and become dangerous.
The well-being of dogs can be improved by giving them three to four quality walks a day, during which they can take in the sights and smells of their surroundings and interact with other dogs. In addition to the mental benefits, these walks provide much-needed physical exercise and play. Spending time with your dog doesn’t mean being by their side without doing anything; it requires quality time speaking to them, petting them, and generally offering a lot of love and affection. Mental Stimulation is as important as physical exercise, so in your day to day, you shouldn’t neglect basic obedience training, mental stimulation exercises, and intelligence toys. Kong toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained and exercised. Providing quality food is an important part of their care, and you may want to experiment with homemade options. Keeping their environment clean and tidy is also crucial for their health and wellbeing.
If your dog is still depressed after a few days, you will need to visit a veterinarian who specializes in ethology to get a diagnosis and assess whether drugs or behavior modification may be necessary.
Just like us, dogs also have emotions and feelings, keep your furry friend in check and make sure they are feeling loved and happy today.