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Sad Dogs. A Look at Dog Depression

There is little doubt that dogs can and do suffer from the same emotional problems befalling human beings. Dogs of all types and ages can exhibit characteristics of several of the more common problems. These include anxiety, obsessive compulsive order and phobias. One particular disorder of interest to dog pharmacologists and behavioral psychologists is dog depression. 

Dog depression is, at its simplest, an expression of sadness. The dog is not content or happy. He or she is nervous, anxious and, obviously depressed. The canine loses all bounce. He or she may also lose his or her appetite for food.
A depressed canine does not eat or drink with normal relish. The depressed dog may sleep more and seem lethargic. The animal is “down” and not excited by life as he or she would have yesterday, last week or last month. If this change in behavior often takes place without any sign of a physical problem or health issue, it may be depression.

Causal Factors
There are several reasons why your dog may become depressed. The major causal factors of depression can be divided into 2 categories: physical and environmental.
There is one major cause of depression in this category. It is a deficit of serotonin. This is a medical reason why your dog may be depressed. An imbalance or decrease in this hormone does cause depression in humans.

Several factors in the environment can cause your dog to become depressed. They are listed below.

1. Separation from the owner. A dog attached to their person can become depressed after short or long periods of separation. This is documented throughout history.

2. Loss of a companion animal, frequently another dog. When a dog has bonded with another animal, the ties are strong. If the animal, cat, dog or gerbil, dies, the canine left behind may become depressed.

3. Moving. Moving from one home to anther can disorient the best of humans. Some dogs are often set into a set routine. They are happy with everything remaining the same. It takes them longer to adjust. Moving from a house to an apartment or from the country to the city is enormous. It requires a lot of adjustment. A dog who is set in his or her ways may become depressed until he or she has settled in and accepted the new surroundings.

4. Trauma. A serious trauma can alter your dog’s moods one way or the other.

5. A dog that is tethered and kept socially isolated for extended periods of time, may become depressed. This is particularly true for certain breeds of dogs.

There are several ways you can treat your depressed dog. There are medications - antidepressants, which can control the moods. There are also various forms of behavioral treatments. Many of these are simple. They include increasing the amount of exercise or making sure your dog has a greater chance to interact socially with persons and other dogs.

You should play more with your canine companion. You may also want to liven up his or her life with another dog. Before you decide to do the latter, make sure it will be fair to both dogs. Talk to your vet and a behavioral psychologist to see what is the best solution.

In some instances the advice may be directed to you. Dogs are empathic. They feel what you feel. The closer they are to their person, the more likely he or she will react to your own moods. If your dog is depressed because you are depressed, see and talk to your own doctors.

Dog, like humans, fall ill to any number of diseases. The health issues may be social, physical or emotional. One recent concern is dog depression. Dogs can suffer from this emotional ailment. Talk to your vet and a behavioral psychologist to see if your dog is depressed. If this proves true, take the appropriate steps to help him or her return to the vitality that should be their life.

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