Do Pets Get Depressed?

By October 13 | See Comments

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When it comes to pets, owners tend to become extra concerned with even the slightest change or odd behavior. It’s understandable. We all love our pets like our own family.Speaking of odd concerns, one of the most common ones that veterinarians come across involves the topic of depression. They keep getting complaint from owners stating that their dog/cat seems depressed. More often than not, it just happens to be that the animal in question just happens to be lazy or lethargic.However, all this brings us to the primary question – can animals experience depression?The simple answer to that question would be “Yes! Animals do get depression”. Pet depressions is the same as human depression and not as rare as one might think.

How is it caused?

There are a wide range of reasons that lead to pet depression. It could be something as simple as a routine change or something more complex like the death of a human or even another pet. Animals do experience sorrow and sometimes, this can escalate into depression.Dogs, specially, have been known to show signs of depression often. This is because dogs are, by nature, pack animals and isolation often triggers depression in them. Similarly, there are also other animals/pets that experience depression when left alone.Another reason for animal depression has a lot to do with biology. Like humans, even animals have hormones and chemicals carrying out various bodily functions. An imbalance in these hormones/chemicals can trigger depression.Other than that, particular illnesses have also known to cause depression in animals.

Symptoms and treatment for pet depression

Not all animals show the same signs of depression. In general, it is best to have a good idea of your pet’s usual behavior. When your pet begins to deviate from his/her normal behavior and continues this for prolonged periods of time, it would be safe to assume that he/she has depression.Common behavioral signs of depression in animals include anxiety, destructive behavior, aggression, loss of interest, excessive sleeping, loss of appetite, pacing, and moping etc.As for treatment options, they depend on what triggered the depression in the first place. It is best to consult your veterinarian in this case. Your vet will likely carry out some blood work and other examinations to first determine if it’s truly a case of depression.Once the vet is sure, he/she will suggest the ideal treatment.For example, a grief induced depression is normally treated by increasing playtime and other activities. Your pet must get all the mental and physical stimulation he/she needs in order to recover fully.If the depression is caused due to isolation, he/she will have to socialize more. So, a few play dates with other dogs and even, humans, should do him/her some good.So, do talk to your

vet

for more on this topic.

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