Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Depression in Dogs - Causes, Symptoms and Bringing Back Happy

We all know that humans can get depressed, but did you know that depression in dogs is just as real? It can happen because of a change in their life, aging or an underlying medical condition. Learn to spot the signs of depression so you can tend to your dog's needs and bring back happy times.

The symptoms of depression in dogs are very common to the symptoms in people:

• Withdrawal: Your dog may become withdrawn and unresponsive to his companions.

• Uninterested in activity: A dog who usually loves taking walks or playing may become uninterested in any physical activity. If he does exercise, he will seem to move slower, without any interest in his surroundings.

• Appetite changes: Changes in eating habits are also signs of depression-your dog may lose weight or gain weight depending on how his eating habits change.

• Sleep changes: When it comes to sleeping, a depressed dog may sleep more or become restless and not sleep at all. It all depends on your dog's personality and how depression affects him.

After you recognize the signs of depression, it's usually possible to identify the trigger. One major cause of depression in pets is changes to their environment; these changes could include:

• Moving to a new home.
• Spending time in a boarding kennel, or away from their humans.
• The death of a loved companion, either human or another animal.
• Changes in a loved ones schedule making them unavailable for attention.

There are ways to counteract depression in dogs and help them feel happy again. Spending extra time together, going for walks, playing around and just plain cuddling can help to alleviate some of the sadness your dog is feeling.

Ever heard of seasonal depression? This happens to humans who become depressed during the colder, winter months when the sun doesn't shine as often, however, it can also happen to dogs.

• Seasonal changes: If you live in an area with significant changes in season, your dog could be susceptible to seasonal depression.

• Severe weather: It's also important to note that dogs who live in areas that have severe weather such as hurricanes can be negatively affected; the moods of the dogs are impacted due to changes in atmospheric pressure.

• Days of rain and storms: If there is a long bout of rain, thunderstorms and other bad weather, a dog's personality can change as well.

Many times dogs exhibit symptoms of depression when there is something medically wrong with them. If your canine's depression symptoms don't seem to be triggered by a specific event, it is probably time to seek veterinary care. The vet will do an examination to determine if there's an underlying reason that your pet isn't acting like himself.

If you know your dog's depression isn't due to environment, seasonal or medical issues, then they could have clinical depression; this is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. The treatment for clinical depression in dogs is similar to treatment for humans. Your veterinarian can prescribe antidepressants to regulate the symptoms such as: Prozac, Clomicalm and Zoloft.

There are plenty of ways that you can help to improve your dog's depression:

• Make sure to keep them as stimulated as possible so they don't become lethargic.
• Exercise, play and cuddle often.
• Make sure they receive proper veterinary care regularly.
• Offer a calming supplement

If you notice that your dog's life is being affected by depression, the best choice you can make for them is bring them to the vet.

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