By Kelly Marshall
It may come as a surprise to some people that dogs can experience canine depression.
Much like humans, dogs can suffer from depression too and the symptoms are very similar. Your dog may not show much interest in activities that he used to enjoy, such as riding in the car, going for walks or playing with toys.
Your dog’s usual eating habits may change; he may stop eating, not eat as much as he used to, or begin overeating and begging for food.
Your dog’s sleeping habits may change too; if your canine was usually active, he may begin to laze about the house and sleep all day long. Conversely, if your dog slept often, he may begin to sleep much less to or be up walking around all night.
Sometimes canine depression can manifest itself in dogs as a sudden increase in aggression.
If you believe that your canine has begun to act strangely, you should consider the fact that your dog may be depressed.
Sometimes canine depression can arise as a result of a physical condition that you may be unaware of. Disorders of the thyroid and kidney can commonly cause lethargy that can have your dog not feeling his usual self. Other chronic conditions such as diabetes can also cause this reaction.
Regardless, you should bring your dog to the veterinarian for a physical checkup to rule out any physical problems.
Canine depression can also be caused by mental factors as well; if, for example, one of your younger children has begun to go to school and so is not around to play all the time, your dog can feel lonely.
Older children who move out can also similarly have a dog feeling like he has lost one of his pack-mates, and can cause depression. In addition, the death of another canine in your family can have a similar effect in making your dog depressed.
Fighting canine depression is similar to fighting depression in humans; if your dog seems depressed, try to increase your dog’s level of activity and social interaction with other dogs by taking him for more walks or to a dog park.
Even if at first your dog doesn’t show any joy in these activities, if the depression is a result of boredom then he will appreciate it and begin to have fun again.
Social contact is important for dogs; if your canine is kept at home all the time and rarely has contact with other canines, it will be important to get him some socialization time with other dogs.
Failing these options, your veterinarian can prescribe antidepressant drugs for your dog. Keep in mind that antidepressant medication takes a while to take effect, so you should not expect immediate improvement.
After a period of two to four weeks, your canine should definitely be feeling the effects of the antidepressant regiment. For severe cases of canine depression, both increased activity with your dog and antidepressant medication may be necessary.
With patience, you can have your dog feeling like his old self again.
Kelly Marshall is a featured author on Oh My Dog Supplies. For more articles by Kelly visit Oh My Dog Supplies.