Last week there was a post on how dogs can help people and spoke about how they can help those in depression. But do you know that dogs can get depressed too? Yes, while pets offer unconditional love that can help people, they themselves are at the risk of slipping into the phase. Death of a close one, change in location or coming of a new dog may be the reason behind your precious pooch’s depression.
Here are some clear indications that your canine child is stressing it out:
Less activity: One classic symptom that dogs show is being inactive. They sit in one comfortable corner and refuse to budge. While some bit of inactivity is ok, depressed dogs become cut-off to the point where they refuse to indulge in games or going out.
Too much sleeping or restlessness: If you come home and your dog refuses to get up and acknowledge your presence, it is a clear sign that something is wrong. No wag, no lick when you come home shows a disinterested dog and is a sign that something is not right. On the flip side, too much anxiety is also an indication of something being wrong. Any change in regular pattern of a pooch’s daily life needs attention.
Behaviour changes: Most dogs love to play and go out. However, all dogs love attention. If your pet seems withdrawn and does not want to talk even when coaxed, then you need to visit a vet. Less energy and eagerness to play fetch or low energy to do things is also a sign that there is something wrong with your pet.
Poor appetite or over-eating: Anything that is out of the normal needs attention. A pet may show significant lack of appetite or disinterest in food. On the other hand some dogs may start over-eating. Like humans, dogs also over-eat to mentally cope with the feeling of depression. A significant weight gain over a short period is an alarm bell and needs medical attention.
Urinating indoors: A nervous or depressed dog may poop or pee inside the home. If your dog is well trained and usually goes out but still such incidents happen at home then something is up. Also, if you have strangers in the house and your pet shows this behaviour, there is a definite need for you to take your kid to a vet and understand the action. Abuse can also led to pets behaving in this manner.
What can you do as a pet parent to ensure that your pet is ok? The first and foremost thing is to make sure that you visit a vet and not start with home remedies. Once the pet is diagnosed, try and work with your veterinarian to rule out the various causes of depression. Medication and anti-depressant should be used as the last option. Whenever I interact with pet parents, I always tell them that owning a pet is more difficult than having a child. While a child maybe able to tell you how they feel, in case of a pet you have to be on constant vigil.