Depression is a condition which affects humans and pets alike. Dogs are even more prone to it since they have the highest capacity to reciprocate the love that they get. But there are means and ways to interpret signs which actually warn the pet owners of impending depression in their canine pets. In fact these signs, if not correctly understood, only puzzle the pet owners who find no reason in a seemingly healthy pet becoming morose and uninterested all of a sudden.
Some definite signs
There are different reasons which trigger dog depression. The loss of a loved family member either due to death of departure, the arrival of a new baby or a new pet, drastic changes in their routine, shifting to a new house etc., all have the ability to provide the necessary impetus for a dog to become sad.
Depression brings about a lot of negative changes in a dog. These changes vary from canine to canine since each canine has his own way of reacting to depression. However, certain known outcomes of depression, which also act as warning signs include:
- Changes in appetite: There are two ways in which depressed dogs react to food. They either start eating very less or even stop altogether or they start binging on doggy comfort food. Thus any unexpected change in the body weight of pet dogs, either gain or loss, is indicative of chemical imbalance in the dog’s body. This appetite change is a definite indication of depression.
- Sleeping habit changes: Excessive sleepiness if seen in a pet dog is a definite example of depressed behaviour. But it is the pet owner who needs to take a call on the same since dogs anyway tend to sleep a lot. The alternate is also true in some instances of depressed behaviour wherein they suffer from trouble and restless sleep.
- Loss of interest: This is one symptom of depression which is similar to both dogs and humans. Like humans, loss of interest in the daily activities that the dog once enjoyed, is a sure sign of dog depression. Thus they become less active, tend to slow down and even seem to lose their purpose of living.
- Paw-Licking:Two behavioural patterns which also provide a sure warning of the inset of depression in dogs are:
- Continuous licking of its paw as a means to soothe one self and
- Excessive unprovoked biting.
- Hiding and avoidance:Any physical injury or psychological illness makes a dog go into hiding. It demands to be left alone and even goes to the extent of hiding under the bed, in closets etc. Such behaviour is a clear indication of a psychological situation bothering the dog thereby making him go into depression. Hence such a sign should never be ignored.
If any or all the above symptoms are present in a dog, he needs to be immediately taken to a veterinary doctor who will first check thoroughly to rule out physical injuries. After the same has been ruled out and depression has been confirmed as the cause of the canine’s change in behaviour, extra care and attention needs to be given to the dog to help it come out of it and start leading the normal life it once lead.