Winter Blues: Can Your Dog Get Depression?
Suffering from the Winter Blues or seasonal depression during the colder months can be an overwhelming experience every year, but can your beloved canine suffer from depression as well? The answer is yes, though dogs do not experience the full complexity of depression like humans experience. Here are some signs to watch out for in your dog if they seem to be acting different since the temperatures dropped this season.
- Lethargy or lack of energy
- Eating less than usual or not eating at all
- Drinking minimal amounts of water
- Withdrawn and not interested in play
If your dog is exhibiting these behaviors, the next step is to find the cause of their depression. Is this behavior new or does it happen seasonally with the weather? Some causes of depression in your dog could be:
The signs of depression including drastic weight loss and lack of appetite could also be signs of an illness. Contact your veterinarian immediately when you notice these behaviors so that you can rule out a physical illness. If your dog does have a physical illness, their depression could disappear when they return back to their full health.
The signs of depression may be more about anxiety and fear in your dog rather than sadness. They could be trying to handle their anxiety by withdrawing from anything that frightens them in their environment.
Losing a loved one or pet is a difficult experience for a human being, but death can be hard on your dog as well. They could be sad and lonely without their favorite pet companion or sibling. Perhaps a trip to the dog park or adopting another dog into the household could help their depression. Though in some cases, putting another dog in the mix when your dog is already stressed could make their depressive behavior worse.
CHANGES IN LIVING SITUATIONS
If you’ve moved or had another drastic change in your dog’s environment, this could be causing your dog to retract into themselves as they adjust to the new place.
If you’ve ruled out a physical illness in your dog and believe that you dog is suffering from depression, there are ways to help. You can start exercising them more or introducing them to a dog park to socialize with other dogs. If exercise and socializing don’t seem to be enough or if they seem to be making your dog worse, it may be time to discuss more options with your veterinarian. Vets can prescribe your dog an anti-depressant for them to take, but as every dog and breed is specific and different, make sure you discuss with your veterinarian what the best option is for your dog. Soon your beloved canine will be back to their old happy selves and ready to take on another walk or game of fetch with you.