Dogs, like people, also experience behavioral changes and mood swings. However, these changes are often short-term and can be linked to recent happenings in the dog’s life (or his human family). Hence, it is difficult to conclude if your dog is suffering from depression, but they certainly do.
Usually, these changes occur when the dog feels left out. For instance, kids who have left home or a new dog becomes an addition to the family. Dogs who have gone through losing a member of the family will also experience the stages of grieving. Much more, the dogs that have been handed over to dog shelters, for a time, they would feel melancholic and vagueness.
Diagnosing clinical depression is always a problem not only to pets but also to humans. It is because the doctors rely on the symptoms showing during the time of consultation and to what the patients are telling them.
It is even more challenging to diagnose dogs because they cannot speak out what they are feeling. That is why veterinary behaviorists or veterinary doctors diagnose a dog as depressed if there is a change in their usual behavior.
Ascertaining That A Dog’s Behavioral Change Is Not A Medical Problem
It is always an excellent decision to have your dog checked out when you notice even a slight change in their behavior. Symptoms of depression in dogs like loss of appetite, change in sleeping pattern, no interest in physical activities, sudden aggression, and potty accidents may also be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
However, if after a thorough physical and medical examination and everything comes back as negative, getting your dog lively again is not that difficult.
5 Tips For Helping A Depressed Dog
- Dogs should have a daily routine schedule that should be strictly followed.
- Meals should be given at the same time each day, and the menu could be spiced up a little bit if the dog has lost its interest in food.
- It is okay to comfort the depressed dog but does not reinforce undesirable behavior by giving too much attention. Instead, provide positive behavior reinforcement such as playing a game or a walking to the park.
- Give the dog his “time.” Do not force the dog to return to his happy self. Usually, mild depression will be gone within a few days to a few weeks.
- Natural remedies can help dogs overcome their depression.
Is the Dog Depressed Since He is Ignored?
Now and then people become busy with work and life. More often than not, dogs are always the last one to get noticed. Hence they feel left out and begin to get sad and lonely. The following are usual signs that dogs need more time and attention.
- The dog is sleeping more often than usual. Bored dogs usually sleep throughout the day. Hence, to stimulate the brain, the dog should have access to playtime and physical exercise.
- The dog’s defecation habit has changed drastically. This change is often noticed on house-trained dogs when they are stressed out. However, this change can also be a sign that the dog has a medical condition which is why a visit to the vet’s clinic is highly recommended. On the other hand, if the dog has no medical issues, then there is a great chance that it is stressed out. There are dog walkers and doggy daycare centers that can help you deal with the dog’s stress if you cannot excuse yourself from work.
- There is a sudden weight gain on the dog. Pet dogs do not need to hunt for food like their counterparts in the wild. Hence, the difference between the weight and size of the two are very visible. Usually, busy people compensate for their absence by feeding the dog more food. The result is that there is an increase in the number of dogs that are overweight and obese.
- The dog becomes disobedient. Naturally, dogs will do everything to please their masters. That is why not paying attention and not listening to your dog are signs that it needs attention. It is to be known that different dogs need a different approach when it comes to getting their attention.
- It is challenging to housetrain a dog. It may be true that not all dogs are easy to train. However, that should not be the case of an adult dog especially if he has been with the person or family since he was a puppy. If an adult dog frequently urinates or defecates inside the house, there is a possibility that the dog is longing for time and attention. To be successful in housetraining the dog, da daily routine should be followed religiously.
It is not too late to improve the health of your adult dog. There are insights and tips all over the internet to achieve the optimum well-being of your pet such as the best diet for your dog, recognizing the dog’s emotion, natural remedies for the dog’s health, training tips to keep the dog physically and mentally fit.