Dogs
Vet shares signs that could indicate your dog is feeling depressed
Humans aren't the only ones who can feel down in the dumps. Luckily, there are ways to help our dogs feel better.
Caryl Jane Espiritu
05.03.22

We know we need to take care of our bodies and minds because even though we may not physically see depression, it doesn’t mean that it does not exist. And, if we care so much for our own well-being, this awareness and care should also extend to our pet dogs.

Yes, the mental health of dogs should also be prioritized.

Pexels - Pixabay
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Pexels - Pixabay

Because of the pandemic, the past couple of years have been really tough not only on our physical health but also on our minds. The mental stress that the world has gone through is definitely a huge deal and something that people are having a hard time coping with.

During the said time, people who used to work onsite were forced to do their work from their homes. And now, after two long years full of adjustments, most of the employees are going back to their offices to do their jobs on site.

Pexels - Sarah Chai
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Pexels - Sarah Chai

Pet parents going back to onsite work after a long time of working from home and staying with their dogs can cause mental stress to the animals.

YouTube - Good Morning America
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YouTube - Good Morning America

In an episode of Good Morning America, Dr. Evan Antin, a veterinarian, was interviewed to find out more about depression in animals, especially dogs.

“Like people, dogs can get depressed for a lot of the same reasons. Simply a change in the schedule, or moving, or if somebody moves out of the home, or if we lose somebody that’s special to us, or if we have a new pet come in,” Dr. Antin shared.

Pexels - Dina Nasyrova
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Pexels - Dina Nasyrova

Dogs can develop depression for any of these reasons, and the key is to know what to look for in the way they behave in order for pet parents to be able to do something and prevent the depression from worsening.

Dr. Antin shares further on what signs to look for in them.

“Often, we see signs like they are engaging less with their owners. They might have changes in their appetite. They might be lethargic. Sometimes they’re less excited to go outside or to play,” he said.

Fortunately, there are ways to help dogs that are found to be developing depression. According to Dr. Antin, one is to add physical activity, which is already a good start, and it also helps with their hormone health and endocrine system improvement, leading to a better mood.

Other activities like training exercises are also helpful. Incorporating puzzles and games into their lifestyle will also do them good.

Pexels - Dominika Roseclay
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Pexels - Dominika Roseclay

But, there might be no need to cure depression in dogs if it is prevented.

Some of the most effective ways to prevent depression according to Dr. Antin is by maintaining a regular schedule and consistent activity with your dog. This is important, but in view of the way things are going after the pandemic, pet dogs are now at risk of developing depression because of separation anxiety.

Pexels - Viktoria B.
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Pexels - Viktoria B.

After such a long time of working from home, employees are now going back to their onsite jobs, which would mean that the days of working with the dog beside them are now over.

This new direction can take a toll on the dog’s mental health, as it would break the consistent interaction between pet and fur parent. Dr. Antin advised making the change in schedule gradual in order for the animals to slowly cope with the major change.

Taking time to go out of the house for longer periods of time will give your dog a chance to slowly adapt to you not being in your home for most of the time. Extend the time as the days pass by until the dogs are ready to not see you for dozens of hours a week.

Pexels - Blue Bird
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Pexels - Blue Bird

Taking care of dogs can mean a lot. After all, they are not just house pets. They are also part of the family.

To keep them from experiencing depression, pet owners have the option to get help from professional dog trainers and veterinarians who know how to pinpoint tell-tale signs of depression in dogs. It is never too late to seek help if it would mean more happy and healthy moments with your dogs.

Find out more about discovering and handling depression in dogs by watching the video below!

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By Caryl Jane Espiritu
hi@sbly.com
Caryl Jane Espiritu is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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