Knowing If Your Pet Is Depressed, and How You Can Help

Some may find this as a surprise, but animals suffer from depression just like humans, they just exhibit symptoms in a different way. Humans have the ability to express their feelings of hopelessness and sadness, but animals have their own set of signs that their owners need to be aware of. Keeping an eye out for changes in behavior or new stimuli that may encourage onset depression will keep you and your pet happy and healthy for years to come.
Any change in behavior that lasts more than a few weeks is something to note and mention to your veterinarian the next time you visit, but these signs in particular could point to depression as the main source.

Pet Depression - Nashville TN - 5 Points Animal

Becoming withdrawn:

For dogs especially, this is a very significant change. If your animal begins to hide from you or stays inactive for a longer amount of time than normal, it would be a good idea to track other aspects of its life for changes. A dog might take much longer to come to you when called, where as before he or she would race to your side. Cats won’t respond to stimuli like a feather or a ball in the same way; lacking interest is a telltale sign of depression. Both species will decrease the amount of food they consume, up to 50 percent. If the decrease in activity level and food consumption is very gradual, it could simply be a slowing due to old age or arthritis. A sudden change in mood is not likely caused by those occurrences, and we should be contacted if this happens.

Big changes:

A lot of times, a big disruption in your pet’s daily schedule will cause a negative response. This could come in the form of having a baby or moving into a new home. It also occurs with losing an owner or pet friend, or being adopted into a brand new family. No doubt you are also stressed with the changes, but it is important to transition your pet to the new conditions. Spend additional time with them; even if they don’t immediately become excited over a toy, give it time. Be patient as you explore new things together. Walks to different parts of the neighborhood and new toys to play with can help mentally stimulate them.

What to do if you see a shift in behavior:

If you suspect your pet has depression, continue to monitor them for a couple of weeks. It may be that your pet simply needs time to adjust to new stimuli, and will quickly recover. During this time call us if you become concerned or if your pet stops eating completely. This could be caused by something more extreme.

Give us a call with whatever concerns you may have. We are here to help you and your pet!

By Dr. Janet Grace | Tagged with: Tags: , | Comments Off on Knowing If Your Pet Is Depressed, and How You Can Help

Come See Us!

5 Points Animal Hospital | 1103 Woodland St., Nashville, TN 37206 | Click to Call Us Now