A large majority of pets are known for their positive, upbeat and happy spirit; however, if you notice that your pet goes through ups and downs, withdrawals, aggression and any other changes in behavior there maybe something that is wrong with your pet.
This could be depression!
Just like humans animals like dogs could also face depression and/or become depressed. However, it is hard to know for sure because we cannot verbally communicate with them and understand them one hundred percent; therefore, it makes it hard to determine if they are suffering from depression.
This is why it is important to visit your veterinarian if you see any changes in behavior to rule out any other possible medical conditions.
If everything is ruled out, there is a high possibility that your dog may be going through depression. There is a large range of things that may cause depression in your pet from something small to some larger issues.
Fortunately, if you as a pet owner read the signs and/or symptoms of depression at the early stages then there is a high possibility that your pet can recover from depression and return to their normal self.
What is Depression?
Depression has the same meaning with regards to animals as humans; which is the change in mood and/or behavior. It is known as a true medical condition with emotional, physical, behavioral and cognitive symptoms.
However, it is almost impossible for veterinarians to say that your pet has depression as an illness as it is almost impossible to actually tell how your pet is feeling without any verbal communication.
Therefore, the best judge to determine if your pet is going through depression is you because no one will know their dog better then the pet owner.
Depression is usually dealt with in regards to a behavioral issue rather than a medical one. Therefore, many veterinarians recommend changing the environment rather than medicating the problem.
Symptoms of Depression that You Should Look Out For
There is no one particular symptom that is caused by depression which is why it is so hard for people to recognize it in their pets. But just like humans there is multiple and sometimes more than one symptom of depression.
For that reason, it is important to rule out any medical conditions before you connect your dog’s symptoms with depression.
Here are some of the possible symptoms of depression:
- Decreased appetite
- Does not want to exercise or play
- Sleepy all the time
- Does not want to leave the home
- Lows and highs with mood
- Seems lost
What Causes Depression in Pets
From what researchers understand the causes of depression in pets including dogs are really similar to humans. There is no one hundred percent certainty for the causes of depression in pets because we cannot verbally communicate with them.
But from our understandings so far, here is a list of possible causes that may be making your pet depressed:
- Loss of a family member
- Change of furniture
- Moving homes
- New pet or person in the home
- Changes in daily routine (small or big)
- Empathy for an owner
All of these causes can trigger depression in dogs. However, it is important that the depression is not caused by the reaction of other people’s mood around them as dogs are very good at reading humans emotions and your dog can respond to the grief of others.
What Can You Do
As a pet owner you want to make sure that you can do everything possible so your pet can go back to its happy and positive self; however, there are some actions that need to be taken. The first step that needs to be taken is finding out the root cause and help alter that.
In addition, with regards to treating depression it really depends on the situation. For instance, your pet is depressed because of passing away of a loved one; all you can do is love them, spend time and give comfort.
Or in some cases your pet may be depressed because of the change of furniture. Therefore, in this case, you either bring back that furniture or bring something that would remind them of it. Despite, the cause of depression it is important to stick with the regular routine.
Additionally, if you find yourself doing everything to help your pet overcome depression and nothing seems to be working; then at this point it is important to visit your veterinarian.
Generally, there is no specific pet medication that are for pets to help deal with depression, but sometimes human medications like fluoetine may be given if the animals are suffering a lot with regards to depression.
However, it is important to understand if you are giving your pet medication to help them deal with depression is that it is just covering the issue and is not solving the root cause of depression in your pet.
Regardless, if you ever have any concerns with regards to your pet it is always a good idea to consult your veterinarian.
Note – NEVER give your pet any type of human medication or pet medication for depression without first consulting your veterinarian.