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Anxiety & Depression in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & How To Help

Dogs can sometimes experience feelings of depression and anxiety, just like humans. While it's normal for them to show occasional signs of these emotions, there are instances when you should seek advice from your vet. Our Palmyra vets have compiled a list of symptoms that may indicate depression or anxiety in dogs, as well as when it's recommended to schedule an exam.

Depression and Anxiety Affecting Dogs

Are you worried about your dog's recent behavior? Do you suspect that they might be feeling anxious or depressed? Look out for the following telltale signs of anxiety or depression in dogs.

If you notice three or more of these symptoms, it is advisable to contact your vet immediately and schedule an examination.

Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

    • Disinterest in playing with people or toys
    • 'Sad' expression
    • Lack of energy
    • Avoiding you or hiding
    • Growling, howling, or aggression
    • Sleeping too much
    • Decreased appetite
    • Not sleeping

Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs

    • Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
    • Obsessive paw licking
    • Spontaneous bowel movement or urination
    • Panting for no reason
    • Pacing aimlessly
    • Whimpering, trembling, or whining

What are the causes of depression in dogs?

It's important to maintain a routine for your furry friend. Any changes in their routine could lead to changes in their behavior.

Emotional events such as the death or prolonged absence of their owner can cause anxiety or depression in dogs.

However, less extreme events such as moving to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or introducing a new pet or person in the home could also lead to your pup feeling down.

What can you do to help your dog?

Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction and lots of physical activity. Here are a few tips to help reduce your dog's depression:

Bring Your Dog in For a Checkup

If your dog is showing symptoms linked to depression and anxiety, it's possible that they might be suffering from some serious medical conditions that could be life-threatening, and may require immediate veterinary attention. Therefore, the first thing you should do is schedule a visit to your vet. Although most dogs do recover from depression with a little extra love and attention from their pet parent, your veterinarian can provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if you don't see any signs of improvement.

Give Your Dog Some Attention 

Bored pets often get into mischief and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house for the day, and supply your pup with enough toys to keep them busy and help curb dog anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your dog's body and mind active while you're out of the house.

Let Them Play With Other Pets and People

Dogs usually enjoy spending time with people and other animals. If your dog seems lonely or sad, you could try taking your furry friend to a dog park, group classes, or doggie daycare for additional social interaction. It might also be worth considering getting a companion animal for your dog.

Show Them Patience

Dogs need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented - even more so if they are feeling depressed or anxious. You may alleviate these issues by giving your pup a little extra time and attention.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you are concerned that your dog is feeling more than just a little down or that there may be more to the issue, contact our vets in Palmyra to schedule an examination.

New Patients Welcome

Palmyra Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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