Saturday, March 9, 2013

Is My Dog Depressed?

Despite having fur and four legs, pet owners often treat their dogs as if they were human. Just like humans, our furry companions have good times and bad times. Dogs, just like humans, can get depressed. Unfortunately, unlike humans, dogs are unable to get over the blues on their own.

Signs that your dog may be depressed are similar to the signs you may see in your human companions. Dogs can get lethargic, lose their appetite for food or water, stop playing, and in drastic cases, can lose a significant amount of weight. Because pets cannot speak for themselves, it's important for pet owners to pay attention to these signs.

The reasons that your dog may get depressed are as varied as the reasons that humans get the blues. Like humans, pets grieve the loss of a loved one, such as a child going off to college or a loved one passing away. Sometimes changes in lifestyle, such as moving to a new home, or other sudden changes in their environment, can have a dramatic effect on your pet. It's also possible that your dog has a chemical imbalance that requires a veterinarian's care.

There are ways to ease your dog's sadness, provided that there are no physical ailments that are the cause of the depression. Doing simple activities, such as engaging and playing with your dog more or offering your pet a new toy or treat, can sometimes liven up your depressed pet. If your dog has lost a companion, such as another pet, you might consider replacing the companion or take your pet to a dog park to try and make new friends. Consider putting your pet in doggie-daycare, if you work during the day. This will ensure that your pet is not alone and will also enable your dog to make other canine friends, that could help pull them out of their depression.

Be patient with your dog. Just like our moody human companions, it may take more than a playful afternoon to get your furry companion to liven up. Time, patience and persistence may be key to turning your dog's depression around.

If you have tried interacting with your pet and your dog still seems depressed, then it's a good idea to take your pet to the veterinarian to be sure there are no other ailments that are causing your dog's blue mood. If the veterinarian rules out physical ailments, but your dog is still depressed, it's possible that your pet may be prescribed an anti-depressant to correct a possible chemical imbalance, much like the solution for severe depression in humans.

If your dog gets depressed, there is no need to be alarmed. No matter the reason for your furry companions sadness, your dog needs you, more than ever, to see them through this trying time. Giving your pet lots of attention, loving care, and patience could be all your dog needs to overcome depression.

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