Can dogs be depressed?
Depression, also known as depressive disorder, is characterized by significant and persistent low mood as the main clinical feature and is the main type of mood disorder.
What are the symptoms of a dog suffering from depression?
1. Mental depression
Dogs suffering from depression are difficult to excite and will become timid, self-absorbed, easily nervous, lethargic, and irritable, no matter how parents tease or attract them, it is still listless, and lose interest in their original very favorite food, and toys.
2. Decrease in diet
The amount of water drunk is much lower than before, the appetite is significantly reduced, the amount of food eaten is decreased, and the weight is also reduced.
3. Lack of exercise
Depressed dogs are slow to move, and they may become weak when they go out to play.
4. Abnormal hair loss
A large amount of hair loss occurs when the dog is gently groomed daily.
In modern society, it is easy to confuse normal emotional instability with depression. According to statistics, 322 million people in the world's 7.7 billion population suffer from depression, which is equivalent to one depressed person for every 25 people, yet our understanding of depression is still not comprehensive and complete. At the same time, not only people but also dogs suffer from the same problem. Although they are not as emotional as we are, dogs can also feel sad and depressed, and can even suffer from depression. The severity is the same as depression in humans, and if the owner does not pay enough attention, the dog can be hit hard both physically and mentally.
I. Symptoms of depression in dogs
The most obvious symptom is that the dog is depressed, does not want to follow the owner out for walks, is not interested in toys, and lies with a sad expression all day long. Secondly, the dog's responsiveness and cognitive function will also decline, when the owner calls the dog's name, it may not be able to respond immediately or even will not respond.
In addition, the dog's body and behavior may also change. These include
Loss of appetite.
Dramatic weight loss.
A tendency to chew on things.
Massive hair loss, etc.
II. Causes of depression in dogs
1. Physical illness
Some diseases can make dogs feel physically uncomfortable and thus reluctant to move more, which may develop into depression over time. If the owner finds that the dog has symptoms related to depression, it is best to take it to the vet first to rule out that it is a disease problem that is causing the depression and to prevent the dog's condition from getting worse.
2. Sadness at the loss of a master or friend
Although dogs can not understand the meaning of death, when the owner or a good friend dies, they will also feel sad about the departure of the owner or good friend. Even if a child who grew up with the dog moves out of the house, the dog may feel depressed and sad. The loss of a playmate is usually the cause of depression in dogs, and many owners think that dogs do not possess such feelings and ignore the depression.
3. Environmental changes
When the owner moves with the dog, the unfamiliar environment may have a great impact on the dog. Especially for those timid dogs, the layout of the new home or the change in scenery may cause the dog to suffer from depression. Generally, as long as the dog adapts to the new environment, its depression will disappear.
4. Influenced by the owner
Dogs can recognize their owners' emotions, including sadness, anger, happiness, etc... This also means that if the owner is sick or equally depressed, the dog will also perceive the owner's negative emotions, and in the long run, it will also show symptoms of depression. If the dog suffers from separation anxiety, then the owner's prolonged absence from home can also cause the dog to contract depression.
Three: How to address depression in dogs?
1. Address the disease and adapt to the environment
If it is a physical illness, the owner just needs to take the dog to the vet for treatment, after which the dog will also come out of depression when it recovers. If it is an external environmental factor, the owner either tries to rule it out or gives the dog some time to adapt. But for this case, the owner better not coddle the dog, and see the dog into fear to comfort it, this will make the dog will be afraid of the behavior associated with the owner's reward, thus aggravating the dog's condition. If the dog's situation is more serious, the owner can ask a professional dog trainer to solve it.
2. Take the dog out for more exercise
If it is caused by psychological factors, even if the dog does not want to move more, the owner should take it out to exercise, exercise can make the dog's mood better while relieving the stress in the heart. The owner can play some interesting games with the dog, such as tug-of-war, ball tossing, hide-and-seek, etc. Spend more time with the dog and build a trusting relationship with it.
3. Introduce new friends to your dog
When a dog is depressed because of the departure of a good friend, the owner can consider taking it to meet other dogs, so that the dog can meet new friends. If you can afford it, the owner can also consider getting an additional dog, but be careful how you introduce it to the dog. The dog may refuse to accept a new companion, leading to fights between the two dogs for a favor, or even aggravating the dog's depression.
4. Drug treatment
Of course, the above-mentioned situations may not always work completely, and then the owner can try the last resort, medication for the dog
The owner can try to treat the dog with medication as a last resort. However, the owner must be under the advice of the vet to give the dog the appropriate dose, otherwise, it will cause a burden on the dog's body.
Owners had better not underestimate dog depression, in many cases dogs are unable to regulate themselves, resulting in increasingly serious conditions, which may endanger the life of the dog if left alone for a long time. When your dog is sad and depressed, please give your dog more care and attention to make your dog feel safe.
Fourth, how to treat a dog with depression?
The pet owner's attitude toward the dog is a key factor in treatment, as human behavior and emotions have a greater impact on the dog.
1. For timid dogs, pet owners can care more about the physical and mental health of their dogs. For things that the dog is afraid of, they can reduce the dog's fear by calming more and touching more to make the dog bold.
2. If you need to change your dog's living environment, you can take your dog to the new environment in advance and place some items with your scent (such as old clothes) in the new environment in advance, so that your dog can feel that you are here, which can also be very good to relieve the symptoms.
3. maintain a comfortable and quiet environment as much as possible when at home, do not make too much noise, loud sounds will make the hearing-sensitive dogs feel scared and anxious.
4. The pooper scooper should pay more attention to the health of the dog, and regular medical checkups, once the dog is found to be sick, it should be treated promptly.
5. The pooper scooper may want to leave some clothes with your smell before leaving home, as well as some delicious snacks and toys that can pass the time so that the dog has something to do when he is alone at home.
6. Use a pet pen instead of a pet crate to limit the dog's range of motion and give the dog some space to move around, but when you get home, you still need to take your dog outside to exercise and socialize.
7. If there is a new member of the family, whether it is a new pet or a new baby, pooper scoopers should give the dog enough communication, patiently introduce the new member to the dog, and if possible, dog owners should create opportunities for the dog and the new member to get along alone first.
8. The decision to adopt a dog must be carefully considered before deciding whether to adopt and once adopted do not easily choose to give up, because you are always its world.
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