Dog, a man’s best friend, the protector of your house, children, and even you. They are considered to be the most loyal friends for human beings. Throughout history, one will find many stories of their loyalty, sincerity, and bravery, and these are the least of the top qualities of these amazing creatures.
Dogs are considered to have the highest emotional intelligence among all domestic and non-domestic animals, their capability to understand human emotions and its fluctuations is unimaginably accurate which puts researchers, scientists, and animal experts to be flabbergasted.
As written in the title the topic of this article is depression, a word we all are familiar with in one way or the other and to some point know what it means. Mental health is a grave issue that is addressed very seriously in today’s day and time, no matter who that person is from a child to a very old person.
Similarly, animals are also a target of this dreadful subject, and animal experts emphasize this topic and are really concerned about it as animals unlike us can not express their problems like humans.
Among these animals, our beloved pet dogs are included, and they are very vulnerable to this issue. Thus animal experts and veterinarians always advise us to keep all of our five senses awake for our dogs.
So we need to be alert about this issue, but here arises a question: How do you know that your dog is depressed? Well, the answers are quite simple but mostly unnoticed observations. Some of the symptoms you can observe by yourself.
These symptoms are 1.Changes in mood or behavior, 2.Appetite changes ( increase or decrease of appetite), 3.Change of sleeping habits ( either sleeps more or much less), 4.Odd licking patterns (like too much paw licking), and lastly, 5. Hiding away most of the time.
After discovering and assessing the situation, we need to find productive ways to treat this problem before it becomes very severe. Here is how to treat dog depression:
Boredom is one of the most highlighting keys to deepening depression in your dog, this is mostly because dogs always have excess energy which needs to be released. So if you notice such a thing you need to step in and get rid of boredom as soon as you can.
To relieve their boredom, you can take them out more often or to new places, make them do more new activities, play new games with them ( like new puzzle games, or new toys).
2. New Exercises
Sometimes a sudden change in daily routine may affect your dogs’ mood, sometimes if the same type of exercise is repeated for a long time it might be unlikeable to them. So you need to keep their exercise going in between and sometimes make some slight changes in it, vets always advise to do so. But do make sure their exercise is always going on so that their energy is released, and their weight will be also in control.
Dogs are by birth pack-animals, so they always prefer to be around other animals especially if they are canines. It is very important to take them to the park on a daily basis, where other dogs, pups, and other animals play. This socializing with other animals will keep them happy.
4. Focus And Discipline
One of the best ways to keep your dog happy is to keep them disciplined and focused always. As dogs tend to be hyperactive most of the time or always carry an excess amount of energy, their attention span is very short.
Thus it is best if they have a very disciplined routine for everyday life, from exercising routine to a healthy food habit and intakes, also a good sleeping and playing schedules.
5. New Tricks
Dogs are curious in nature and we can use this to our advantage in treating depression in dogs. Always try to find new tricks to teach them, get them engaged in new games, and teach them new exercises. All of these will help to keep depression away from dogs. If you are unsure if dogs can be depressed and if you should be concerned, read this article from BetterHelp.
However, teaching new things to your dog is not as easy as it seems, dogs have a short attention span, so it might take a while for them to learn new things. As pet parents, we need to be patient and take everything ‘step by step and repeat the trick a good few times for them to get it, and never forget to reward them when they’re doing a good job, and encourage them if they fail.
Reward is one of the most crucial keys to tell your pet you love them and always encourage their hard work. This also helps them to always do better, as they will know rewards are waiting for them.
7. Medical Reasons
Sometimes the root cause of depression might not be as simple as you might think. Depression can also be a form of a silent signal of a hidden and dangerous illness. This is why vets always suggest doing a full-body routine check-up for your dog.
This will help to rule out any medical reasons that could be responsible for your dog’s depression.
8. Natural Remedies And Supplements
Even after ruling out medical reasons and trying all kinds of methods and you are still not able to treat your dog’s depression, then you might as well consult experts and veterinarians. This can provide you with better knowledge and a deeper understanding of what is happening and what to do.
After the diagnosis, ask your vet for natural medicines and supplements to treat depression. It is always best to start with natural treatments as those have fewer side effects and can be safer.
9. New Treats
As humans, if we keep eating the same food all the time we will get bored with it, so how can dogs keep on having the same diet all time? This is why it is advisable to make some changes in their diets from time to time, so their mealtime can be happier.
Other than meals include some healthy and tasty treats in your dog’s diet. This will make them happy. Treat them when they do a good job, encourage them with treats after walks, exercises, and when they try out new tricks.
10. Stimulate Their Instincts
Dogs are hunters by genes, along with being pack-animals we can stimulate their instincts to fight with depression. Vets and animal experts have given a lot of games that can help dogs and their owners.
Some of such games can be started from your home, for example, hide some toys around the house and make them look for those. Along with that, you can create a hunting ground in your yard and play with them hunting games with some special toys that they can chase and catch.