He Gave Me Confidence
My rough year after college left me worried that I couldnt handle adult life. But when I found Bunker, though I couldnt do it for myself, I felt confident that I could take care of him. My dog gave me purpose. I had to train him. I read training books and learned that a dogs mental health depends on the owners leadership. Dogs who think no one is in charge get enormously distressed and worry that its their job to be the alpha dog. If I wanted him to be happy, I had to take charge.
Will My Dog Get Sad While I’m Away
It is possible that your dog will get sad from your absence, but there are ways to combat this. Firstly, identify if this could be a possibility. Has your dog become more clingy since birthing her litter, such as following you around the house or crying when you are not in view? Or has she shown more anxiety, such as excessive panting and drooling, being skittish or hiding regularly. If so, she may show separation anxiety.
To combat her separation anxiety, you can firstly leave her with items of clothing that smell like you. Put them on the edge of the whelping box but be sure that the puppies cannot interact with it as they could become stuck in the fabric at a young age. If the anxiety is more severe, the antidepressants mentioned previously can help calm your dogs nerves. Refer to your vet to see if this is the right solution for your dog.
Causes Of Fear And Anxiety In Dogs
The onset of fear or anxiety issues in dogs can be prompted by a variety of things, from puppy socialization issues and age-related health conditions like dementia to traumatic experiences or genetics.
There is no catchall for the roots of these issues, but here are some of the most common causes of anxiety or fear in dogs:
Being forced into an unfamiliar and frightening experience
Being deprived of social and environmental exposure until 14 weeks of age
Phobias and panic: history of not being able to escape or get away from the stimulus causing the phobia and panic, such as being locked in crate
Any illness or painful physical condition increases anxiety and contributes to the development of fears, phobias and anxieties.
Aging changes associated with nervous system changes, as well as infectious disease and toxic conditions may lead to behavioral problems, including fears, phobias and anxieties.
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Dogs Contribute To A Healthy Lifestyle
Having a dog also requires you to partake in activities that contribute to a healthy lifestyle and help diminish the effects of depression.
For example, every dog is going to need exercise. Even if you have a breed that doesnt require long walks, they are going to need to be taken outside multiple times a day to use the potty.
Simply getting outside and walking around in a green area has been shown to improve physical and mental health outcomes. Going out can also increase vitamin D intake, which can also improve mental health. Vitamin D deficiency can mirror depression in many ways and mental health professions think it plays a critical role in many depression symptoms.
There is also some degree of responsibility that comes with owning a dog. You have to get up to feed them, take them outside, and get them some exercise. Even if you did the bare minimum on any given day and only took care of your dog, you would get more done that if you owned no pets. Exercise and dogs are often correlated with being more productive for these reasons.
Plus, responsibility and productivity are linked with higher self-esteem. Those who get stuff done tend to think higher of themselves. This can help undercut many of the negative thoughts that are common with depression and other mental health problems.
Depression Is A Terrible Illness That Can Affect Anyone At Any Time Of Their Life If You Suffer From Depression Heres Why You Should Turn To Your Pet For Some Tlc
According to the National Institutes of Health , major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. This condition affects over 16 million people each year, or nearly 7% of the American adult population. Though many doctors prefer to treat mental disorders medically, pharmaceutical drugs come with a risk of side effects. Rather than making drugs your first treatment option, consider something more natural and, quite frankly, more fun pet therapy.
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Can Dogs Get Depressed
Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, said veterinarians dont really know if dogs suffer from depression the same way people do. Its hard to know because we cant ask them, said Beaver, who also is a veterinary specialist in animal behavior at the small animal clinic at Texas A& M University College of Veterinary Medicine. But in clinical practice, there are a few situations where that is the only explanation.
Beaver said although its not uncommon for pets to get down, especially during periods of change, its rare for dogs to suffer from long-term depression.
Do These Medications Have Side Effects
Yes, these medications have potential side effects. Your vet may want to run blood tests prior to prescribing an antidepressant and also periodically check your pooch to see how their body is tolerating the medication. Of course, find out the possible side effects of the specific medication your vet recommends before making your decision.
Important things to consider:
- These medications are not a replacement for training or behavior management
- Dog meds for depression may not address an underlying issue
- Antidepressants should be used for a short period of time.
- These medications dont work immediately and may take a few weeks to help
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What Can You Give A Dog To Relax Them
You can try natural calming remedies to help your dog relax and stay calm during stressful situations. If you need to keep your dog relaxed at home, a pheromone diffuser may work for you and keep your dog calm all day long.
On the other hand, you may want to consider essential oils, a calming vest, or hemp oil if your dog gets anxious when going to the vet.
What Causes Dog Depression
If you suspect your dog is suffering from depression, think about what has changed or is changing in their life, such as changes in their environment or social situations. Any significant change to a pets normal routine can cause stress and/or depression. This is not a complete list, but dog depression can be caused by:
Chronic pain or chronic illness
Lack of mental or physical stimulation, especially in energetic or working dogs
Changes in the household:
The addition of a new family member
A change in work or school routines, like a pet parent going back to work after an extended stay at home
Pets can also feel empathy with pet parents, including depression. A 2019 study in Sweden looked at the concentration of long-term stress hormones in humans and their pets and found that dogs had similar stress levels as their owners.
They concluded that the dogs…mirror the stress levels of their owners rather than the owners responding to the stress in their dogs. Dogs can pick up on our moods and recognize our facial expressions and body language. They know when we are happy or sad, and our moods can affect them.4
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Bouncing Back From Dog Depression
In the end it wasnt the car rides or dog parks or even the antidepressants Richer tried to help her dog, Terrace. Instead it was a friendly rescue dog she agreed to foster for a week. Benji walked in, ran up the stairs, found Terrace behind the mirror and when I got up there he was lying next to her and licking her, Richer said. Within a week, she was better. Now shes the happiest dog ever.
Jodie Richers, owner of Terrace founder of Dogs on Death Row in honor of her dog, Pumba. Roswell, Ga.
Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists veterinary specialist in animal behavior, small animal clinic at Texas A& M University College of Veterinary Medicine, College Station, Texas.
John Ciribassi, DVM, past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior founder of Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants near Chicago.
Karen Sueda, DVM, diplomat, American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and president elect of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior founder of the behavior service at VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital, Los Angeles.
Signs Your Dog Is Depressed
Dogs, like humans, can suffer from depression
Dogs, like humans, can suffer from depression. While depression isn’t typically diagnosed in dogs, vets and behaviourists want owners to become more aware of the signs to look out for. With the right support and treatment, you can help your beloved pup through a period of low mood.
Depression in dogs can be triggered by a whole variety of different things, including…
- A major change in a dog’s family surroundings
- An environmental change, such as moving home
- A distressing event, such as the loss of a canine companion or owner
- An empathy to an owner who is depressed or unhappy themselves
“It may be hard to imagine that your chirpy, tail-wagging friend could get the blues however, dogs are in fact capable of having depression in the same way that humans are,” the experts at Canagan tell Country Living.
“Dogs share many of the same neurochemicals that we do and, like us, they are exposed to certain stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol so it follows that dogs may experience something similar to human depression.”
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How A Dog Can Help With Depression
Dogs perform many different services for people, including helping us when were down. It isnt uncommon to see a therapy dog wandering down the halls of a nursing home, cheering up the patients inside.
New research has shown that dogs can help alleviate everything from depression to anxiety to aggression and other mental health problems. But how exactly does this work? And do all dogs relieve depression or is it the gift of a select few?
How Can I Tell My Dog Has Postpartum Depression
If your dog begins to behave differently from normal, you may have doubts and worries about postpartum depression. But how do you confirm it? Consider taking your dog to the vet to have her examined. However, this can cause a huge amount of stress as you are taking her away from her puppies and taking her to the vet. Instead, consider contacting a vet who will come to the home or sometimes describing the symptoms can be enough for a vet to identify low, mild and severe postpartum depression.
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How To Spot And Treat Dog Depression
Depression in dogs is similar to depression in humans. There are many ways to diagnose depression in humans, and they can tell about their feelings when they are depressed. However, your dogs do not have this option they do not know your language, so we must understand their feelings when they get depressed.
Theres not much research on dog depression, but its hard to imagine that our furry, wagging tail companion can get sad. Dogs are brilliant and can experience and react to different emotions.
So how can you spot dog depression, and what can you do about it? In this article, we will describe some signs and possible remedies for canine depression.
He Always Wanted To Be With Me
Depression made me push everyone away and isolate myself, because people scared me. They disappointed me. Hurt me. Told me I could trust them and then betrayed that trust. Growing up, my troubled sibling relationship left me feeling like I was truly unlikeable. But Bunker wanted to be with me all the time. In fact, when I wasnt with him, he seemed just as upset and scared as I was. This symbiotic need quelled my isolation. We were in this together.
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Common Causes Of Depression In Dogs
If you suspect your dog is suffering from depression, ask yourself what has changed in their life and environment.
There are a variety of triggers for depression. Sometimes its an obvious thing, but it can also be more subtle changes or a combination of issues that have built up over time.
Depression, in animals anyway, is something that we tend to associate with a specific event, says Dr. Sinn. It could be the loss of an owner, the loss of a buddy that they have grown up with, or a huge lifestyle changea big move, or the addition or subtraction of key members of their social group. It tends to be context-specific.
She explains that people should look at their dogs basic environmental and social circumstances to understand what may have brought about the changes in their behavior.
Some common triggers include:
- Grief while mourning the loss of a human or animal companion.
- Chronic pain.
- Trauma, including injury, abuse, or long-term stress.
- Environmental changes such as a house move, rehoming, or the addition of a new baby or pet to the household. Even things like children going back to school after extended holidays or a change in your work pattern could be factors.
- Social isolation.
- Insufficient physical and/or mental stimulation. This is especially true for high-energy, driven, working breeds
In these severe cases, treating the problem is not typically straightforward.
How Depression Manifests Itself After The Death Of A Dog
Mostly, there are two kinds of depression linked to the pain of losing someone you love, whether it is a person or a dog. The first is a deep depression and is a normal part of mourning. The duration of this phase depends from person to person, as some people are more susceptible to this disease than others but there are other factors to consider, such as age, civil status, and past experience. It is easy to imagine that for a single person and the elderly the death of their dog could be quite devastating.
The second type of depression, however, manifests itself with sadness, weeping, agitation and loss of appetite and often the person in question refuses to associate these symptoms with the death of their dog. Telling these people to wait for the mourning process to pass may not be the best choice, as they might fall into a depression block. In this case, getting another dog could be a good idea even though it obviously depends on the individual. However, if they are people who live alone or are of a certain age, we feel comfortable advising you not to waste too much time on beginning a new adventure alongside a new four-legged friend. You are not dishonoring your pup who has crossed the rainbow bridge, he knows your heart is big enough for everyone!
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Medications For Dog Depression
If nothing else works, medications can help dogs get past their depression. Karen Sueda, DVM, a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, said medications for depressed dogs are the same as those used by depressed humans — Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. She also uses Clomicalm, an FDA approved drug for the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs.
Its important that people deal with the problem before it gets too bad, Sueda said. By the time cases get to me, theyre bad. But most cases can be successfully treated early on with behavior modification and environmental enrichment, so it doesnt have to get to the point where we need to use drugs.
Beaver said it can take up to two months for drugs to become effective. But unlike people, who often remain on antidepressants for years, most dogs can get better in six to 12 months and then be taken off the drugs, she said.
How Can I Cheer My Dog Up
Anxious or depressed dogs tend to benefit from predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction and a consistent routine with lots of physical activity. Here are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog’s depression:
Visit Your Vet
Some symptoms of depression and anxiety can have physical causes that need urgent medical attention, the first thing to do if your dog doesn’t seem like their usual self is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.
Although dogs will often recover from depression on their own , your vet can provide medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to calm their nerves if things dont show signs of improvement.
Keep Your Dog’s Body & Mind Active
Bored pets are notorious for getting into mischief, and becoming anxious. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave for the day and that they have enough toys around to keep them busy in order to help curb dog anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your pup busy.
Dogs are naturally social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. Consider getting a companion animal for your pooch or take your lonely pet to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction.
Show Your Canine Companion Lots of Love & Patience
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