By Kelly Marshall
Much like humans, dogs also can suffer from depression and the symptoms are very similar. Your dog may not show much interest in activities that he used to enjoy, such as riding in the car, going for walks or playing with toys.
Watch for signs your pup has become a sad dog and take steps immediately to treat dog depression.
Signs of dog depression
Your dog’s usual eating habits may change; he may stop eating, not eat as much usual or begin overeating and begging for food.
Your dog’s sleeping habits may change too; if your canine was usually active, he may begin to laze about the house and sleep all day long. Conversely, if your dog slept often, he may begin to sleep much less to or be up walking around all night.
Sometimes canine depression can manifest itself in dogs as a sudden increase in aggression.
If you believe that your canine has begun to act strangely, you should consider the fact that your dog may be depressed.
Causes of canine depression
Sometimes canine depression can arise as a result of a physical condition.
Thyroid and kidney disorders can commonly cause lethargy and leave your dog not feeling like his usual self. Other chronic conditions such as diabetes also can cause this reaction.
If you think your dog is suffering from canine depression, you should take him to your dog to the veterinarian for a physical checkup to rule out any physical problems.
Canine depression can also be caused by mental factors as well. For example, if one of your younger children has started going to school and so is no longer around to play, your dog can feel lonely.
Or if you have older children who have moved away from home, your dog may become depressed because he feels like he’s lost one his pack mates.
If you were a multi-dog family and one of your other canines died, that also can leave your dog depressed.
Treat dog depression with social contact
Fighting dog depression is similar to fighting depression in humans.
If your dog seems depressed, try to increase your dog’s level of activity. You also should consider increasing your dog’s social interaction with other dogs by taking him for more walks, to a dog park or to doggie daycare.
If your dog’s depression is a result of boredom, then he will appreciate it and begin to have fun again.
Social contact is important for dogs. Don’t keep your canine isolated and away from other dogs. It’s important for dogs to have socialization time with other dogs.
If none of these options work, your veterinarian may need to consider prescribing antidepressant drugs for your dog. Keep in mind that antidepressant medication takes a while to take effect, so you do not expect immediate improvement.
After a period of two to four weeks, your canine should definitely be feeling the effects of the antidepressant regimen. For severe cases of canine depression, both increased activity with your dog and antidepressant medication may be necessary.
With patience, you can have your dog feeling like his old self again.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly visit Oh My Dog Supplies.