We adore our dogs so when their behavior or mood is “off” or they seem unhappy, it’s devastating. If your dog has struggled with occasional sadness, you know how confusing and frustrating it can be. The hardest thing about a sad or depressed dog is that we can’t ask them what’s wrong. Vets agree that depression in dogs is not uncommon, fortunately, though, it rarely lasts for a long period of time.
What are the symptoms of doggie depression?
- Decreased activity
- Loss of interest in things he used to enjoy
- Change in eating habits
- Drinking less water
- Not greeting his owner
- Hiding or staying in one place for long periods of time
- Excessive paw licking
If your dog suffers from any of these symptoms, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation. Before diagnosing a dog as depressed, your vet will want to rule out all other medical conditions that could cause similar behavior. Taking your pup to a new vet? See what’s covered.
What causes a dog to be depressed?
Changes to a dog’s routine can cause depression. Also, the addition of Changes to a dog’s routine can cause depression. Also, the addition of another pet is a common trigger, as is a new partner or baby in the house. The most common cause of severe dog depression, though, is the loss of a companion; animal or human. Dogs feel grief and they feel it in their owners as well.
Should I put my dog on an anti-depressant?
This is a personal choice, of course, for each individual dog owner. However, antidepressant medications are prescribed fairly often to dogs who have symptoms of depression and can be highly beneficial to get them out of their slump.
The most commonly prescribed pet med for dog depression is Fluoxetine, the generic form of Prozac, which helps with both depression and anxiety.
Other popular medications used for this condition are Amitriptyline, which adjusts serotonin levels, and Doxepin, which helps with depression and also treats allergies and skin conditions.
Do these medications have side effects?
Yes, these medications have potential side effects. Your vet may want to run blood tests prior to prescribing an antidepressant and also periodically check your pooch to see how their body is tolerating the medication. Of course, find out the possible side effects of the specific medication your vet recommends before making your decision.
Important things to consider:
- These medications are not a replacement for training or behavior management
- Dog meds for depression may not address an underlying issue
- Antidepressants should be used for a short period of time.
- These medications don’t work immediately and may take a few weeks to help
If your dog has the blues, think about what the cause may be. See if there’s something you can do to help; more exercise, more bonding time, socialization for the dog, and so on. If these things aren’t working, talk to your vet about possible medication to get your dog out of his funk and back on track to being the best good boy there is.
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