Depression is a serious mental health issue affecting humans and dogs. While it's normal to feel sad or blue sometimes, if these feelings last for more than a few days, your furry friend might need extra help to get back on his/her feet.
It's not your fault if you don't know how to tell if your dog is depressed. Dogs are not like us. They can't tell us how they feel about something, so we have to be able to read their body language and behavior. So if you see your dog acting differently than usual, it could be because he's depressed.
Their Behavior Changes
Your dog's behavior may change as well. Some symptoms include:
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Lack of interest in playing with toys
Lethargy and lack of energy
Restlessness or pacing, especially at night
Excessive barking, whining, or howling
Your dog may also show signs of depression in his body language. For example, he may appear less affectionate, be more aggressive towards other dogs, and seem exhausted by even simple activities like walking around the block.
They Can't Sleep, or They Sleep Too Much
When dogs are depressed, they may sleep more than usual. If your dog is depressed, he's probably sleeping a lot of the time because he's not happy or energetic enough to do anything else. Some dogs will also try to sleep more when they're sick or in pain, so your dog could be sleeping more due to illness instead of depression.
If you think the problem is boredom, try giving him more interactive dog toys and games that make him exercise his brain and body. It should help both his physical health and his mental state overall. However, if it doesn't work after trying this method for a few weeks straight, then maybe there's something deeper going on, like depression.
On the other hand, if your dog is facing issues getting proper sleep, then calming treats for dogs or Royal Canin calming dog food can be a good option.
They Don't Play or Eat as Much
You may notice that they are not as playful as they used to be or don't want to play with the same toys. It is because your dog is depressed and doesn't feel like doing anything. You can try giving him a new toy or going on a walk. But if he still doesn't want to do it, his health may be wrong.
If you're wondering how long your dog will be depressed? In most cases, it depends on what has caused them to become depressed in the first place. For example, if your dog has been hit by a car or lost its owner, there will probably be some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder. The treatment could take longer than usual, depending on its severity.
They Show Aggression, Fear, and Anxiety
If your dog shows aggression, fear, and anxiety, it means something wrong. The following are some of the signs:
Aggression: If your dog exhibits aggression, for example, when you try to touch him or he doesn't like being petted by strangers, this may be a sign of depression.
Fear: If your dog has become scared of unfamiliar things such as people, noises, or places, it could mean he is struggling with depression because he feels unsafe in his environment.
Anxiety: When you see that your dog spends more time hiding than playing around with toys or running around outdoors. It could indicate that he is depressed and anxious about something in particular. Your vet can prescribe Clomicalm to give your pet some relief from anxiety issues.
Tips for Getting Your Dog Out of Depression
Don't Get a Second Pet
Many dog owners will assume that getting a second dog will help their depressed pet. While this is true sometimes, it doesn't always work out. Your dog may not like the other pet's smell or sound so that they won't feel comfortable around them. They may also fear them because of their size or behavior and end up feeling more stressed.
You should also think about what kind of relationship you have with your current pet before adding another one to the mix. For example, if you already have a strong bond with your dog and can spend lots of time together, adding another pet might be fine. But if things haven't been going well between you two later, bringing home another furry friend isn't likely to help.
Go Easy on the Exercise
Exercise is a great way to get your dog feeling better if he's depressed, but only if it's done right. Exercise can cause your dog to feel worse because of the adrenaline rush that comes with it. If you decide to take him on a walk or run with him, be sure not to overexert yourself or go too fast. The last thing you want is for him to get tired out and have an anxiety attack. It would be best to put him on a retractable dog leash so that he can walk or run close to you and explore his surroundings to relax.
If you do decide that taking walks isn't enough for your dog, consider adding some agility training into your routine. Agility training is great because, unlike walking or running around outside, it gives them something specific every time they go through each obstacle course. In addition, it will give their minds something interesting and challenging enough to distract them from any negative thoughts they may be having at home.
Don't Take Away His Favorite Toys or Activities
Do not take away your dog's favorite toys or activities. The best way to help your dog is to provide him with new, positive experiences and encourage him to enjoy them. Removing many of his favorite things can make his depression worse.
The opposite approach will work better: encourage playtime, physical activity, and exploration by regularly introducing new toys and destinations. Kong dog toys can be a good option for your dog. They are known for their sturdy and long-lasting nature. Give him plenty of attention while playing with these new Kong toys so that he knows what they're for. It will help build up his confidence in the world around him again by showing him that there are still plenty of fun places out there he hasn't been yet.
You might also try giving Fido some treats or dog chew toys. Treats like carrots, apples, or Milk-Bone dog treats can be a good alternative to relaxation since these foods are tasty and low in calories and won't cause weight gain.
Take Him to the Vet
If you have a dog who seems depressed, take him to the vet. Your vet can provide you with information on how to help your dog, and they may be able to recommend medicine, like Fluoxetine for dogs or other treatments that can improve his mood. The vet will also likely be able to advise on what food is best for your dog and how often he should exercise.
Give Him a Warm Bath With Soothing Music Playing
Another way to get your dog out of depression is to give him a warm bath with soothing music. Dogs love bathing, and it's a great way to help relax them and smell good. If you're having trouble getting your pup in the tub, try spraying his favorite treats on the edge of the tub so he smells them as he enters. Once in there, though, be sure to praise him. You can also play upbeat music while he's in there; it will help keep his mood up while getting clean.
Feed Him Green Leafy Vegetables
Feed him green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and so on. These are extremely high in antioxidants and other nutrients that can help your dog with his depression.
You can use these as treats or add them to his food. If you choose to give them as treats, make sure you don't overfeed them because of the high nutrient content of these foods.
Give Him Love and Attention
If a dog is depressed, he may not want to play or be petted. If this is the case, try giving him time to himself and just hanging out. He'll come around eventually, but don't force yourself on him. Instead of pushing yourself on the dog, give him some space and love when he's ready for it.
If your dog doesn't feel like playing with you or even looking at you, start by giving him kisses and hugs. Then slowly progress into talking to him in a calm tone of voice while petting his head or back gently.
As long as they feel safe and secure around humans, dogs will remain happy even when depressed because they know that we love them unconditionally no matter what happens in life.
Comfort Him With His Favorite Treats
One of the simplest ways to comfort your dog is through treats. Most dogs have their favorite kinds of treats and will do just about anything for them, so it's a great way to curb their negative feelings and make them feel good. Milk-Bone dog treats or Greenies for dogs can be a good option to start with.
You should give your dog treats any time he looks like he needs something special.
You are responsible for caring for your four-legged friend as a pet owner. You can't just leave him alone when he's feeling down; you need to help him through this difficult time. All you need is love and patience to help your dog out of his depression and back into the light again.