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

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

Just like their owners, dogs can sometimes feel anxious or sad. If you believe your dog is experiencing these emotions, here's some advice from our Oakwood Animal Hospital veterinarians that might help your furry friend feel happier.

Dog Anxiety & Dog Depression

Is your dog acting a bit nervous or showing signs that they might be feeling down? If your furry friend displays three or more of the following signs, visiting your vet is a good idea.

They can figure out if your dog's symptoms are due to depression, anxiety, or something else:

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

Causes of Depression & Anxiety in Dogs

Our furry buddies love having a regular schedule. So, when something big happens, or they go through tough times, it can really affect how they feel.

Sometimes, things like their owner passing away or being gone for a long time can make dogs anxious or sad. But even more minor changes, like moving to a different place, getting hurt, having a different daily routine, or having a new pet or person around, can also make your dog feel a bit down.

Ways to Help Your Dog Feel Better

Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and environments, closely monitored social interaction and lots of physical activity. Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:

See Your Veterinarian

Specific physical issues may underlie symptoms associated with depression and anxiety in dogs, which require prompt attention from a veterinarian. If your dog appears unhappy, the initial step is to arrange a visit to the vet.

While dogs often bounce back from depression with some extra love and care from their owners, a vet can prescribe medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety treatments if there is no improvement in their condition.

Keep Your Dog Occupied

Restless pets frequently engage in mischief and may feel anxious or downcast. To ensure your dog stays content, make sure they have ample physical activity before you head out for the day. Additionally, provide your dog with plenty of toys to keep them occupied and alleviate their anxiety. Seek out toys that allow interaction or can be filled with treats to keep your dog both physically and mentally engaged while you're away from home.

Social Time

Remember, dogs are social animals that enjoy being with people and other animals. If your dog appears lonely or unhappy, try taking them to the dog park, enrolling them in group classes, or sending them to doggy daycare to make new friends. You might even think about getting another pet to keep your dog company.

Show Lots of Love & Patience

Dogs require plenty of love and patience to feel secure and happy – especially when experiencing sadness or nervousness. You can potentially ease these concerns by dedicating some extra time and attention to your dog.

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 your dog appears worried or sad, please reach out to us. Our vets in Oakwood can figure out why your dog feels this way and suggest ways to make your dog feel happier. Call us today!

New Patients Welcome

Oakwood Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Oakwood companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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