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

Just like their pet parents, dogs can occasionally experience anxiety and depression. If you suspect your dog is feeling anxious or down, the good news is that you can potentially help your furry friend feel better with these tips from our veterinarians at Mahopac Animal Hospital.

Dog Anxiety & Dog Depression

Is your dog displaying signs of edginess, anxiety, or depression? If your canine companion is exhibiting three or more of the following signs, a visit to your vet can help determine whether their symptoms stem from depression, anxiety, or another issue:

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 four-legged friends crave routine, so major life changes or distressing events can significantly impact their emotional state. Emotional events like the death of their owner or prolonged absence can trigger anxiety or depression in dogs.

Additionally, less extreme events such as moving to a new home, suffering an injury or illness, changes in routine, or introducing a new pet or person into the home could also cause your dog to feel 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

Some symptoms associated with depression and anxiety in dogs may stem from physical causes requiring urgent veterinary attention. If your dog appears unhappy, prioritize scheduling a visit with your vet.

While dogs frequently bounce back from depression with increased love and care from their owners, your veterinarian can prescribe medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to soothe their nerves if improvement isn't evident.

Keep Your Dog Occupied

Ensure your dog receives ample exercise before you depart for the day, and provide enough toys to keep them occupied and alleviate dog anxiety. Seek out interactive toys or those that can be filled with treats to engage your dog's body and mind while you're away from home.

Social Time

As social creatures, dogs thrive in the company of people and other animals. If your dog appears lonely or sad, consider actively engaging them in social activities. Take your dog to the dog park, enroll them in group classes, or opt for doggie daycare to provide them with ample social interaction. Additionally, ponder the idea of getting a companion animal for your dog.

Show Lots of Love & Patience

To help your dog feel safe and contented, especially when they're experiencing depression or anxiety, give them lots of love and patience. Providing your dog with extra time and attention can alleviate these issues.

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 seems anxious or depressed, give us a call. Our veterinarian in Mahopac can diagnose the cause of your dog's symptoms and prescribe treatments to help your dog feel better.

New Patients Welcome

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

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