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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 or another, the good news is that you may be able to help your dog feel better by following these tips from our Liberty Lake veterinarians.

What does depression or anxiety look like in dogs?

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

Is My Dog Depressed or Anxious?

Below, we'll list the most common symptoms of depression and/or anxiety in dogs.

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 elimination (bowel movement or urination)
  • Panting or pacing 
  • Trembling, whining, or whimpering

What causes dogs to become depressed or anxious?

Dogs love routine and tend to be creatures of habit, any major life change or distressing event can have an impact on their emotions.

Although more obvious events, such as an owner's death or prolonged 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, could be the source of your pup's ill health.

How can I cheer my dog up?

Predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction (if the cause is related to other dogs or people), and a consistent routine with lots of physical activity are often beneficial to depress or anxious dogs. Here are some more 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 things don’t show signs of improvement.

Keep Your Dog Entertained & Physically Active

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

Spend Time With Friends

Dogs are naturally social animals who enjoy being around people and other animals. Consider purchasing a companion animal or 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 we are depressed or anxious. Giving your dog extra time and attention may aid in the resolution of these issues.

At Legacy Animal Medical 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 us today to book an examination for your pooch.

New Patients Welcome

At Legacy Animal Medical Center, we are always accepting new patients! Our veterinary team's experience and passion make all the difference to the patients at our animal medical center in Liberty Lake. Contact us today to book your first appointment.

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