Depression in dogs is said to be on the rise in recent years. In this article, we will introduce the early symptoms and causes of depression in dogs, so please use it to manage your dog’s health.
Early symptoms of depression in dogs
Depression in dogs is said to be on the rise in recent years. Since dogs cannot communicate using human language, owners need to be aware of this at an early stage.
So this time, we will explain the early symptoms of depression in dogs. Be sure to check carefully so you don’t regret it when it’s too late.
If your normally calm dog starts walking around restlessly or doing tricks he hasn’t done before, he may be feeling mentally strained.
Mental burden and stress are major factors in depression, and if left unchecked, they may lead to an increase in mischief and misbehavior.
Additionally, dogs that used to be calm may become aggressive or repeat the same behavior over and over again (stereotypic behavior).
loss of appetite
If your dog usually eats well, but he or she starts leaving the same food behind when you put it out, or if he no longer enjoys food, he may be suffering from depression.
When you are stressed, you may lose your appetite, and if things get worse, you may become lethargic and lose interest in eating.
So if you’re not feeling sick and you’re not eating or you’re not interested in the snacks you normally enjoy, consider that you might be suffering from depression.
Slow response to calls
When you are depressed, you tend to spend your time feeling absent-minded. Your dog may start to lose interest in various things and may stop responding to your owner’s calls.
You should be careful if your dog, who used to readily respond to invitations to play, eat, or go for a walk, becomes less responsive or no longer happy. If you are not feeling well, consider the possibility that you are suffering from depression.
When it gets worse, the person becomes completely lethargic, loses the motivation to do anything, stops responding to calls, and loses facial expressions. You may sleep throughout the day, or you may experience sleep disorders such as insomnia.
Note: You can also read this3 Things You Should Never Do That Will Make Your Dog Angry!
Causes of mental illness in dogs
There are many possible causes for dogs suffering from mental illnesses such as depression, but the root cause is stress. In particular, severe mental stress can lead to depressive symptoms.
Some of the things that can cause dogs to experience stress include:
- Environmental changes
- Lack of communication with the owner
- Discord within the family (fights in the family, mental instability of the owner)
- Too harsh discipline
- boredom, lack of exercise
When you move, redecorate, add to your family, or get a new pet, you need to check on your dog and be more involved than usual in caring for your dog.
Also, keep in mind that if the owner is too busy to take care of the pet, stress can build up in many cases.
Appropriate response to mental illness in dogs
If your dog shows signs of depression, owners should first consider the cause. Even if stress is the cause, there are various triggers as mentioned above, such as changes in the environment or lack of communication with the owner.
Once you have found the cause, think of ways to improve it.
If you are a busy dog owner, try spending more time communicating and having physical contact with your dog. In addition to just interacting with your dog, we also recommend offering activities that allow your dog to use their mind, such as nose work.
Dogs are originally working animals, so if they spend a lot of time doing nothing, they can become bored. Therefore, it is necessary to provide mental stimulation through play and training.
Among mental illnesses, if your dog suffers from “separation anxiety”, which makes it impossible for him to be separated from his owner, give him the confidence and experience to be able to spend time alone. It is important to have a balanced lifestyle by deciding when to spend time with your pet, gradually increasing the amount of time your dog can spend alone from being in the same house, and training your dog to stay at home for short periods of time.
If you can’t think of a cause or there is no improvement, we recommend that you consult a veterinarian or dog trainer.
It is not uncommon for dogs to suffer from mental illnesses such as depression. Please be aware that just like humans, some dogs can become mentally ill due to stress.
If you notice the initial symptoms like those introduced here, you can expect improvement by taking appropriate measures.
If you feel that something is wrong with your dog’s behavior or behavior, don’t leave it alone and address it.