Pet Pointers: Doggie Depression
While there are plenty of studies supporting people with depression, your furry friend might be going through some of the same mental disorders. YNN's Pet Expert Lisa Chelenza has more.
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A recent survey of 1,300 pet parents of dogs suggests our modern dogs are suffering from depression and anxiety disorders at an alarming rate. Possibly as much as 80 percent of family owned animals exhibit at least some signs of mental disorders.
Some behaviors that might indicate your dog has a mental issue may even seem common. Excessive barking at the mail carrier, cars or even the vacuum could be signs of fear anxiety.
A hyperactivity disorder presents as pacing or running along a fence or through the house for no reason. If your dog urinates when you come home or destroys the house when you are away, he could have separation anxiety.
Sleeping a lot, not wanting to play with a favorite toy, ignoring playmates or changes in appetite could be a sign of depression.
There can be many causes of doggie depression. Has your pet experienced a recent loss? Has a playmate died? Have you moved or started a new job with longer hours?
If you sense your pet is behaving strangely visit your vet for a physical to be certain there is no health problem. If everything is fine, tell your vet about your pets’ behavior. They may have a suggestion or prescribe an anti-depressant or anxiety medication like Prozac or Zoloft.
It’s very important that you avoid rewarding their moping behavior with treats, try being more active with them everyday. Go for a walk with them, toss a new squeaky toy, go to the park or even take them along for a ride in the car.
Any mental stimulation they once enjoyed can help to snap them out of their depressed state and help them return to the playful canine companion they once were.