Like humans, dogs will sometimes suffer from depression. There are many possible causes for dog depression but it can be incredibly difficult to identify a dog suffering from depression. In most cases, a dog with depression will go untreated; however, there are some signs that indicate your dog may be depressed. Much like depression symptoms in humans, depressed dogs may become lethargic and weary, they may demonstrate appetite changes or drink less, they may show little interested in play or exercise, and they may even lose weight.
Depression in dogs is often associated with major life changes like a move, grief over the loss of a loved one, and in some cases the depression is the result of a chemical imbalance. Pet owners are often frustrated when their dogs become depressed because it can be very difficult to treat dog depression. Still, once you have identified that your dog is depressed, there are steps you can take to improve his quality of life. Firstly, rule out possible physical causes of the depression through a visit with your veterinarian. Also, consider life changes. If a family member has recently died, you may not be the only one feeling depressed. Even the loss of another dog companion can lead to depression in dogs. In these cases, you must let the depressive symptoms run their course.
Nevertheless, if your dog appears to have been suffering from depression for an extended period of time, treatment for the depression will be necessary. Some veterinarians may recommend medications to treat the depression. Currently, the most common prescribed anti-depressant for dogs is Prozac, although there are alternatives available. In addition, you should increase your dog’s exercise. More frequent walks, or even runs, will help your dog deal with the stress that is leading to depression. Finally, in cases of grief, it is recommended that you introduce your dog to new companions perhaps through regular visits to the doggy park.