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

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

Sometimes our pets can end up feeling a little down, much like you and I. Luckily there are ways to help your pup feel like themselves again. Here, our Los Angeles vets talk about the signs of anxiety and depression in dogs and what you can do to help them feel better.

Is my dog depressed?

Has your dog been showing unusual behavior lately? Just like people, dogs can sometimes become anxious or depressed for a number of reasons. Sometimes there is no specific cause for their behavior but they are still not quite themselves. 

Below are some of the common signs that you may see if your dog is experiencing depression or anxiety. If you notice any of these then it may be a good time to schedule a visit with the vet.

Common Signs of Dog Depression

  • 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

Common Signs of Dog Anxiety

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

The Typical Causes of Depression & Anxiety in Dogs

Dogs love routine, this, unfortunately, means that the smallest change to your daily life can completely throw things off for them.

While obviously, emotional events such as their owner’s death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other less extreme events such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or even a new pet or person in the home could be the cause of your pup's case of the blues.

How to Help Your Dog Cope With Anxiety & Depression

Dog anxiety and depression can thankfully be managed through a consistent schedule and adequate attention. Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:

Schedule a Vet Visit

While dog depression and anxiety are usually emotional and behavioral, there can sometimes be a physical cause behind their mood changes. The first thing you should do if your dog doesn't seem happy is to schedule a visit with your vet.

Although dogs will often recover from depression with just 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 things don’t show signs of improvement.

Keep Your Pup Busy

One of the most common causes of dog anxiety and depression is boredom. 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.

Offer Lots of Social Time

Your dog is a social animal and being so they prefer to spend lots of time around other animals and people. If your dog seems lonely and sad try taking your pooch to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction. You may even want to consider getting a companion animal for your dog.

Help Your Dog Feel Safe

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

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 worried that your dog may be showing signs of anxiety or depression please give our Los Angeles vets a call. We are here to help get your pup back to feeling like themselves again.

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