Depression is a natural emotion that can be felt by humans and dogs alike. You’re starting to notice a change in the way your friendly pet acts and you’re wondering, is my dog depressed? What are the dog depression symptoms to check for? How do I identify dog depression? Your furry animal can’t help but feel depressed when a major negative change occurs in her life. Changes such as the death of a companion or a family member could trigger depression. A sudden move to a new apartment, change in your schedule, spending less time with her, or physical illness could also be a factor. Some dog depression symptoms to look out for include:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Sleeps more than usual
- Refuses to go for a walk
- Paw licking
- Loss of interest
A dog exhibiting any of the traits above is likely suffering from depression.
Your first option should always be meeting up with your vet for a thorough check-up.
For the purpose of this article, we will go over 5 best treatments to help cheer up depressed dog.
How to Treat Your Depressed Dog
The question “is my dog depressed?” has been ruled out of the equation, and now you’ve identified the symptoms and you’re certain she is depressed. But then you’re left with other questions like what do I do next? How can I cheer up depressed dog? We are here to guide you, keep reading to find out how to help a depressed dog.
1. Allow her to Hang out With Other Dogs
Making sure your friendly pet gets to interact and socialize with other dogs is very vital. A depressed dog is bound to lose interest and purpose, however, spending some time with other animal companion might help her find her way. This is especially a good idea if the depression was caused by the loss of a doggie friend or a family member. Allow her play with your neighbor’s dog, or better still take her to the park or a doggie day care where there are lots of other furry animals for her to play and make friends with. She’s sure to gradually start becoming the happy dog you once knew her to be after such comforting experience.
2. Spend More Time with Your Dog
It is only natural for you to understand that more than anything, your dog needs you now. Let’s not rule out the fact that your dog could actually be in this state because you no longer spend time with her. A good solution to this would be for you to spend more time with your friendly pet. Take her for a walk, a jog, or a ride along. Play with her, sit with her, do things she would normally enjoy with her. A cuddle time while at home could also suffice. Engaging her with these activities will show how much you love and care about her, and in time help her get over her depression. Remember not to invade her privacy as she needs her own space also.
3. Reward Your Dog With a Treat
When your dog shows a sign of happy behavior, rewarding her with a treat she can’t refuse could do the trick! Do not overdo this because she might soon start to think you’re giving her a tap at the back for being depressed. Use this only to show her how pleased you are to see that she finished her meal properly or when she goes for a walk with you. Doing this would uplift her spirit and get her to start being positive again.
4. Schedule a Play Date
Who doesn’t love a good date? Setting up a play date for your dog could just be the solution she needs to get over her depression. Easy and even better if you have a dog owner as a neighbor. This is an ideal treatment for dogs that have been trapped inside the house grieving over the loss of a dog friend or family member. Make an effort to schedule a play date with your neighbors dog and watch her face light up as she spends time with a fellow canine. This will compel your dog to come out of the house for a little extra sunshine to boost her mood.
5. Holistic Treatment and Prescription Medication
There are lots of natural treatments that packs anti-depressant abilities to help treat a depressed dog with no side effects. Such treatments include herbs, homeopathy, and flower essence. They are effective and safe to help calm your dog and make her feel a lot better.
St. John’s Wort: This herb has been used to treat depressed people for several years. With the positive results it has gathered, this herb can also be used on your depressed dog to help her feel happy and better again.
Sandalwood: The essential oil of sandalwood delivers a relaxing effect on a dog suffering from depression. It is costly, but also very safe and comes with incredible antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
Hydrosol of sandalwood can serve as a cheaper alternative to produce a relieving effect on your dog
A dog suffering from depression as a result of loss should treated with Ignatia (a homeopathic remedy people use to treat anxiety and depression). This is a fast and effective way of helping her get over her grief. Depressed dogs tend to sleep excessively and eat very little, in some cases they eat nothing at all. Administering a drop or two of ignatia medicine could help. After giving your dog this medicine, observe her for a day or two for positive changes, and if she’s not feeling any better it might be time to seek the counsel of a holistic vet before upping her dose.
- Flower Essences
Also effective in treating depressed dogs. Flower essences comes in different types, and the type you use depends on the symptoms that are exhibited by the dog.
Star of Bethlehem is to be used on dogs experiencing shocks as a result of accidents or any traumatic event.
Gentian is best used on dogs that have lost their way especially after losing a friend or family member. They show no interest in food, or any activity that would normally excite them.
Honeysuckle for dogs that have become depressed after moving to a new place.
Gorse are to be used on dogs that show extreme symptoms when Gentian remedy can’t seem to work.
If you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, I guess it’s time for a trip to the veterinary doctor for medications. Just like humans, medications for dogs suffering from depression is the same. Your vet would prescribe anti-depressant drugs like Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. The drugs might take up to 2 months to take effect, others might take from 6 to 12 months for the treatment to work.
It might not be an easy task to identify dog depression. However, knowing your dog, you could take out time to observe her recent behavior for changes that might seem odd. We hope this article was able to answer your questions!