Tip of the Month – February 2011

Even Doggies Get the Blues

sad puppyYes it’s true, dogs do get depressed!  Just like us, they experience highs and lows in their moods, but when feeling down turns into actual depression we need to take action. Often, a depressed dog just needs a little extra love and attention to snap out of it, but sometimes we need to seek professional help for man’s best friend.

Causes of Depression In Dogs

Anyone who has ever spent any length of time with a dog knows that they are highly emotional creatures. It’s exhibited in how they play, interact and behave. Sudden changes in a pet’s life will often trigger depression. It can be as simple as a new pet entering the home that takes away some of the attention or cabin fever just like we get in these cold winter months. Here’s a few symptoms to be on the look out for:

Sleeping excessively
Being more “clingy” than usual
Weight loss resulting from a loss in appetite
Personality changes
Whining more than usual

Home Remedies

Try to find some time to play a little more.  It just might boost your mood, too!  I’ve listed some suggestions for the energetic, and less so:

  • Go snow shoeing! You can do this right in your own back yard or any park with all the snow we’ve gotten this year.
  • Invite a friend & their dog over to practice your training techniques together. Of course, make sure the dogs are compatible for each other!
  • Play “hide and seek” with your dog.  You hide and he seeks you out, or hide a treat or favorite toy in another room and have him find it.
  • Play “find the treat”- use 3 plastic cups with a small treat in one and let Rover sniff it out.
  • Take a trip to the local dog park.  Getting out and socializing with other dogs will definitely help.
  • If your depressed dog is left home alone during the day, hire a dog walker to come in and give your pooch a little attention.
  • If your dog’s depression stems from the death of a companion animal, think about getting another.
When To Go To The Vet

Never hesitate to seek the advice of your vet if your dog experiences weight loss, lethargy and/or loss of appetite. These symptoms may also be the signs of illness.

– Jan