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

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

Every now and then your dog may seem to be a little off or not quite themselves. Luckily, as long as there is no serious underlying concern, the solution for anxiety and depression in dogs is usually pretty simple as shared here by our Memphis emergency vets.

Dog Anxiety & Dog Depression

Has your dog's behavior seemed a little strange lately? Are you concerned that you may be seeing the signs of dog anxiety or dog depression?

Here are some of the most common symptoms of anxiety and depression in dogs. If you notice three or more of the following symptoms you should reach out to your vet to schedule an examination right away. 

Signs of Depression in Dogs

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

Signs of Anxiety in Dogs

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

Why is my dog depressed?

Your dog is used to your daily routine and thrives on it. This means that when something in their life changes, it can throw everything off balance leading to changes in their behavior.

While obviously, emotional events such as their owner’s death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other less extreme events such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or even a new pet or person in the home could be the cause of your pup's case of the blues.

How can I help my dog's nerves?

Anxious or depressed dogs benefit from predictable routines and 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:

Schedule a Vet Visit

Some symptoms linked to depression and anxiety may actually be caused by serious medical conditions, some of which can be life-threatening and require emergency veterinary care. The first thing you should do if your dog doesn't seem happy is to schedule a visit with your vet.

Although dogs will often recover from depression with just a little extra love and attention from their pet parent, your veterinarian can provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if things don’t show signs of improvement.

Play With Your Pup

Bored pets often get into mischief, and become anxious or depressed. Make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise before you leave the house for the day, and supply your pup with enough toys to keep them busy and help curb dog anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your dog's body and mind active while you're out of the house.

Bring Them Out to Socialize

Dogs generally love to spend time around people or other animals. If your dog seems lonely and sad try taking your pooch 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.

Be Patient With Them

Dogs need lots of love and patience to feel safe and contented - even more so if they are feeling depressed or anxious. By giving your pup a little extra time and attention you may be able to 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 is showing any concerning signs of a life-threatening medical issue and your primary vet is unavailable please contact our emergency vets in Memphis.

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