Anxiety & Depression in Dogs - What Pet Parents Need to Know

Like us, our canine companions can feel depressed or anxious. While your pup's symptoms could indicate these conditions or other problems, the good news is that you may be able to help your dog to feel better with these tips from our Davidson County vets.


What does depression or anxiety look like in dogs?

Is your pup displaying behaviors that lead you to wonder whether your dog is depressed? If so, check out the list below. If your dog shows three or more of the following signs, a vet’s visit is in order to identify whether your pup's symptoms are caused by depression, anxiety, or something else:

Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

  • "Sad" facial expression
  • Hiding or avoiding you
  • Aggression, growling or howling
  • No interest in playing with people or toys
  • Lack of appetite
  • Not sleeping (or sleeping too much)

Symptoms of Anxiety in Dogs

  • Destructive behaviors 
  • Paw licking
  • Spontaneous elimination (bowel movement or urination)
  • Panting or pacing 
  • Trembling, whining, or whimpering

What causes dogs to become depressed or anxious?

Dogs love routine and tend to be creatures of habit, any major life change or distressing event can have an impact on their emotions.

Although more obvious events such as an owner’s death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other more mundane events such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or even a new roommate could be the cause of your pup's malaise.

How can I cheer my dog up?

Depressed or anxious dogs often benefit from predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction (if the cause is related to other dogs or people) and a consistent routine with lots of physical activity. Here are some more tips on how to help lessen dog depression:

Visit Your Vet

Because some symptoms of depression and anxiety can have physical causes that need urgent medical attention, the first thing to do is to schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Although most dogs will recover from depression on their own (with a little extra love and attention from their pet parent), your vet can provide medication such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to calm their nerves if things don’t show signs or improvement.

Keep Your Dog Entertained & Physically Active

Bored pets are notorious for getting into mischief, and becoming anxious. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise before you leave for the day and that they have enough toys around to keep them busy in order to help curb dog anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your pooch occupied.

Spend Time With Friends

Dogs are naturally social creatures who love to be around people and other animals. Consider getting a companion animal or taking lonely pets to the park, classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction.

Show Your Pooch Love & Patience

The fact is, both people and pets need lots of love and patience - even more so when we feel depressed or anxious. Giving your dog some extra time and attention could help to resolve these issues.

At Thomasville Veterinary Hospital Urgent Care + Surgery we have tips, treatments, and medications to help your pet get back to their cheerful selves. 

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.

Are you concerned that your pup may be anxious or depressed? Contact us today to book an examination for your pooch.

Anxiety and depression in dogs, Thomasville Vet

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New patients always welcome!

Whether you need urgent care for your pet or you're looking for a vet in Davidson County, we welcome you to our family at Thomasville Veterinary Hospital Urgent Care + Surgery.

Referrals may be required for some specialty services. Please contact us to learn more.

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