These Are The Primary Signs Of Depression In Dogs
Depression is a severe mental condition that is being taken very seriously in the modern world, with therapy and medication widely available to people of all ages. It’s the cause of much heartache in people and should be medicated properly. In some ways, though, it’s easy for us humans; we have languages to express how we feel and what we lack. What about our furry friends?
Dogs don’t have the luxury of being able to share their emotions through language. And though most of us would claim that we are able to recognize when our dog is sad, sometimes it isn’t that obvious. One thing is certain, however, Dogs CAN be sad and they can be depressed. Some cases are obvious, such as when another dog in “the pack” dies and your pooch completely shuts down for a few days or weeks to mourn the loss of their friend. In other cases, it’s less apparent, but there are certain signs that can show if your dog is feeling down. One perfect example is the loss of appetite. Some dogs exhibit a reduced appetite when they’re depressed. Alternatively, there are dogs that do the exact opposite, using food to comfort themselves, which leads to weight gain.
If you notice your dog is sleeping more than usual, that can also be a sign of depression. Dogs generally sleep a lot when their owners are gone. If you notice that your dog doesn’t greet you when you come home from work and continues sleeping instead, something is probably wrong with them. This can be followed by a loss of interest in activities that your pooch previously found exhilarating and exciting, such as playing and going for walks.
An even less obvious sign is excessive licking or chewing of the paw. Like thumb sucking in babies, this is a safety mechanism and can be rooted in some kind of physiological and psychological issue. Depressed dogs will often exhibit this behavior in order to soothe themselves.
So why do our dogs get depressed? According to a study, more than 2.3 million dogs are left alone every day for more than five hours. Veterinarians advise that this time should be no more than 4 hours. The same research suggests that 465,000 dogs are never taken for a walk in their lives and are therefore at a higher risk of mental health problems.