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Dog Depression & Anxiety: Causes, Symptoms & What to Do

Our canine companions, like us, can experience depression or anxiety. While your dog's symptoms may indicate one of these conditions, the good news is that you may be able to help your dog feel better by following these tips from our Villa Rica veterinarians.

Is my dog depressed or anxious?

Is your dog acting in ways that make you wonder if he or she is depressed or anxious? If so, take a look at the lists below. If your dog shows three or more of the symptoms, he or she should see a veterinarian to determine whether the symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:

Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

  • "Sad" facial expression
  • Hiding or avoiding you
  • Aggression, growling, or howling
  • No interest in playing with people or toys
  • Lack of appetite
  • Not sleeping, or sleeping too much

Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs

  • Destructive behaviors 
  • Paw licking
  • Spontaneous bowel movements or urination
  • Panting or pacing 
  • Trembling, whining, or whimpering

What causes dogs to become depressed or anxious?

Dogs enjoy routine and are creatures of habit. Any major life change or distressing event can affect their emotions.

Although more obvious events, such as an owner's death or extended absence, can cause anxiety or depression in dogs, other, more mundane events, such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, a change in routine, or even a new roommate, may be the source of your pup's bad emotions.

How can I cheer my dog up?

Predictable environments, tightly controlled social interaction (if the cause is other dogs or people), and a consistent routine with plenty of physical activity can all help depressed or anxious dogs. Here are some additional suggestions for reducing dog depression:

Visit Your Vet

Because some symptoms of depression and anxiety can have physical causes that need urgent medical attention, the first thing to do is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Although most dogs will recover from their nerves or depression on their own (with a little extra love and attention from their pet parent), your vet can provide medication, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids, to calm their nerves if there are no signs of improvement.

Keep Your Dog Entertained & Physically Active

Bored pets are known for misbehaving and becoming anxious. To help reduce dog anxiety, make sure your dog gets enough exercise before you leave for the day, and that they have plenty of toys to keep them occupied. To keep your dog entertained, look for interactive toys that can be filled with treats.

Spend Time With Friends

Dogs are naturally social animals who enjoy being around people and other dogs. Thus, consider taking lonely pets to the park, classes, or doggie daycare for more social interaction.

Show Your Pooch Love & Patience

People and pets both require a lot of love and patience, especially when they are depressed or anxious. Giving your dog extra time and attention may aid in the resolution of these issues.

At Villa Rica Animal Hospital we have tips, treatments, and medications to help your pet get back to its cheerful self.

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.

Are you concerned that your pup may be anxious or depressed? Contact our Villa Rica vets today to book an examination for your pooch.

New Patients Welcome

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

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