Dogs can be depressed and need to be cheered up at times. Why is a dog’s mental health so important? As we know, depression has many side effects. A depressed dog is more susceptible to the disease, and depression can be hard to recover from.
Feeling depressed is an everyday occurrence. Some dogs with separation anxiety become stressed and depressed when they feel like they will be trapped alone. Depression only happens very occasionally, such as when your dog is upset because of something special. (Is there a new baby in the house?)
Depression can be a very rare (preferably once-in-a-lifetime) event, such as the death of a special playmate or a member of the human family. You should all be aware of this.
How Do You Know if Your Dog Is Depressed?
If your dog is depressed, you can expect to see the following symptoms:
- Excessive sleep.
- Uninterested in walking.
- Sleeping in different places. Some dogs hide behind the couch to sleep.
- No interest in playing with balls or old toys.
- Eating much less or more than usual.
- Licking granulomas, chewing on “fleas,” or licking paws.
How to Know if Your Dog Is Sick?
Not all dogs suffering from depression are suffering from psychological causes. Sometimes it is a health problem, and the dog will not get better until it is fixed.
If your dog is showing signs of clinical depression, please see your local veterinarian. After the examination, they may want to do blood tests to ensure there are no internal organ problems. They may want to take x-rays because some of the symptoms of depression are very similar to arthritis. If nothing is wrong, look for ways to cheer up your grieving dog.
How to Cheer Up Your Dog
If you take your dog for a checkup and don’t see anything wrong, there are a few things you can do
- If you can walk your dog in the morning when the sun is out, this will help him throughout the day. If that doesn’t work, set an alarm for 30 minutes before morning. A few minutes of sleep is well worth it for your dog’s health.
- Take your dog to new places. We don’t mean to take him for a drive, but you should take a long walk if you both can (not always easy for a depressed dog) to make sure he gets enough exercise and can normally sleep when you get home.
- Could you bring a new toy for him to play with? A new toy can not only get your dog’s attention, but it can also make him happy. This should be a toy that the two of you can interact with.
- Dogs are social animals. If you really can’t get too far away from your normal schedule, getting a new puppy may be the solution. However, this is not always the solution, and you need to make sure that you can take him back to the breeder if you get a second dog and the first dog becomes more depressed.
- Spend some quality time with him. As mentioned above, this really needs to be done at regular times and places only.
- When you go for a walk, take a special treat with you. When your dog plays with the ball or does any other normal behavior, praise him generously and give him that treat. Your dog may associate typical behavior with rewards. (Giving him treats when he’s depressed may instead encourage the behavior you’re trying to control).
- Play music to your dog. There are pros and cons to this, and some behaviorists believe it is ineffective. It may not, but it can’t hurt.
What do you usually do to cheer up your pet? Share it with us in the comments below!