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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 Ocala veterinarians.

Is my dog depressed or anxious?

Does your dog's behavior raise concerns about potential depression or anxiety? Take a look at the lists below, if you're interested. If your dog is experiencing three or more symptoms, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. This will help determine if the symptoms are related to depression, anxiety, or another underlying issue.

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?

Routine and habit are greatly enjoyed by dogs. Their emotions can be affected by any significant life change or distressing event.

Dogs can experience anxiety or depression due to various events. While the obvious ones like an owner's death or extended absence can trigger these emotions, more mundane occurrences like moving to a new home, injury or illness, changes in routine, or having a new roommate can also be the cause of your dog's negative feelings.

How can I cheer my dog up?

Depressed or anxious dogs can benefit from predictable environments, well-regulated social interaction (if the cause is other dogs or people), and a consistent routine with ample physical activity. Consider implementing these suggestions to help alleviate 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

Pets that are bored tend to misbehave and become anxious. Ensure your dog receives sufficient exercise before you depart for the day and provide them with ample toys for entertainment to alleviate dog anxiety. Find interactive toys that can be filled with treats to keep your dog entertained.

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 Paddock Park Animal Care Center 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 Ocala vets today to book an examination for your pooch.

Dog Wellnes Exams at Paddock Park Animal Care Center

New Patients Welcome

Paddock Park Animal Care Center always accepts new patients! Our team of experienced vets are passionate about pet health in Ocala and beyond. We welcome you and your beloved pet to our veterinary family.

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