When Betty White (the dog) came to live with us no one knew the immense paradigm shift that would happen. We thought we were just getting another dog and they would coexist fine. That is, in fact, the way that it started. Everyone was cool just one big happy family with Jack (the dog) as the alpha. Over the next two months it changed, Betty who is much bigger than him started asking for more attention and since she is much bigger than Jack she would push him away to get it. It tool a long time but we finally are starting to find a balance. We will share our solutions later. First here are 5 signs of pet depressions:
- Appetite Changes – When dogs become depressed, they often eat less or even stop eating. There are also some dogs who will eat a lot more when they get depressed because dog food can serve as a comfort to them. If your dog has experienced extreme weight loss in a short amount of time, there might be a chance there is a chemical imbalance caused by depression. This is just like humans we live for meal time (I know I’m not missing any meals). We did not see this in Jack, he was always a picky eater and just picked at his kibble throughout the day.
- Low Energy – As with humans, depression in dogs is often caused by changes in serotonin levels. This may appear to be laziness. If your dog quickly goes from loving playing tug of war to showing disinterest in his favorite activities, he may be down in the dumps. Don’t brush this off as lazy dog behavior. Thankfully Jack in never lazy he is a very active man.
- Anxious or obsessive behavior – While some breeds are more anxious and alert than others (hello, Jack and all Bostons), any dog suddenly fixating on a certain behavior could be exhibiting symptoms of depression. Often chewing constantly on a single paw or nail can indicate dogs are upset or feeling low. If your typically friendly fur friend stops greeting you at the door and starts hiding in the living room, something is definitely off internally.
- Change in sleeping habits – Again, the lethargy that turns into 24/7 naptime should ring alarm bells. Similar to humans, when dogs get depressed, they often sleep more than they usually do. It is not easy to identify as dogs usually sleep for at least 14-16 hours a day. If your dog denies coming out of bed even after a long nap, it could signify a depressive behavior.
- Licking – Much like humans will fidget with objects when they’re stressed out, dogs may lick themselves a ton. Dogs will often use licking as a soothing technique. If you’re certain your dog is licking its paws for some other reason than it has something stuck in its paw, you might want to consult a vet.
How do we combat depression in our pets?
We did a few things. First, we started Jack on a CBD Oil for dogs and this did wonders for him. We also found some CBD pet treats best sellers that are great. Secondly, we started spending some one on one time with him. The trick was to make him feel special and accepted at home. Lots of one on one play time in the backyard and letting him hunt lizards (it’s his favorite activity, no lie). We also started to socialize him more (When we first got Jack he was sometimes aggressive due to some trauma before we rescued him).
When we first got him it was very difficult living in an apartment building with him. We moved into a house and we found him doggy daycare nearby that he loves. These two things helped a lot. The house gave him a purpose of yard protection (he wants to eradicate all the lizards from the yard) and the doggy daycare made him more tolerant of other dogs.
How does owning and caring for a dog help us humans?
- It lowers your blood pressure – this seems crazy but its got to be true. I’m instantly calm when I pet our dogs.
- It teaches us responsibility – our dogs always come first. We can’t sleep until noon or live off of takeout anymore we have to be there for our fur babies. We have to have kibble and dog toys at all times (and new ones because they last about 5 minutes before they become white balls of cotton all over the place).
- They teach us love – even if we are stinky coming from the gym our dogs love us. They seem to know exactly when we are in a tough spot and they give us the exact affection we need.
Let us know in the comments about how you helped your doggo battle depression.