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Anxiety & Depression in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms & How To Help

When left alone without interactions and stimulation, dogs can experience anxiety and depression. If you want to learn how to tell if your dog is feeling anxious, read this article where our Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets explain the signs and treatments for dog anxiety and depression.  

Why is my dog depressed and anxious?

Do your dog's nerves seem on edge, or is your canine companion showing behaviors that lead you to believe they may be anxious or depressed?

If your dog is exhibiting three or more of the following signs, a trip to your vet for a wellness check can help to pinpoint whether your pup's symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:

Common Signs of Dog Depression

  • Growling, howling, or aggression
  • Sleeping too much
  • Decreased appetite
  • Not sleeping
  • Disinterest in playing with people or toys
  • "Sad" expression
  • Lack of energy
  • Avoiding you or hiding

Common Signs of Dog Anxiety

  • Panting for no reason
  • Pacing aimlessly
  • Whimpering, trembling, or whining
  • Destructive chewing or destroying furniture
  • Obsessive paw licking
  • Spontaneous bowel movement or urination

Causes of Depression & Anxiety in Dogs

Our four-legged friends crave routine, which means that any major life changes or distressing events can greatly impact their emotional state.

Emotional events like their owner's death or long absence can make dogs anxious or sad. But smaller changes like moving to a new home, getting sick, a routine change, or adding a new pet or person can also affect your dog's mood.

Ways to Help Relieve Your Pooch's Anxiety

Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from routines and familiar environments, closely monitored social interaction, and lots of physical activity. Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dog's depression:

See Your Veterinarian

Some symptoms linked to depression and anxiety can have physical causes that need urgent veterinary attention. If your dog doesn't seem happy, you should first schedule a visit with your vet. This proactive approach can help ensure that your dog receives the appropriate care and treatment they need to feel better and improve their overall quality of life.

Dogs can often feel better with more love and attention. If they don't improve, a vet can give medications like antidepressants or anxiety pills to help them relax.

Keep Your Dog Occupied

Bored pets can cause trouble and feel anxious or sad. Before you leave, give your dog exercise and plenty of toys to keep them busy and reduce anxiety. Use toys filled with treats to keep your dog active and entertained when you're away.

Spend Time With Them

Dogs are social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. If your dog seems lonely and sad try taking your pet to the dog park, group classes, or doggie daycare for additional social interaction. You may even want to consider getting a companion animal for your dog.

Show Them Love & Patience

Dogs need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented - even more so if they are feeling depressed or anxious. Giving your pup extra time and attention can help alleviate these issues.

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.

If your dog has been anxious or depressed, give us a call. Our experienced Hattiesburg and Wiggins vets can diagnose the cause of your dog's symptoms and prescribe treatments to help them feel better.

New Patients Welcome

Holland Veterinary Hospitals in Hattiesburg and Wiggins are accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of all animals. Get in touch today to book an appointment with our experienced vets.

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