How can you help a depressed dog

Canine Depression - Symptoms, Triggers, and Treatment Paths

Recognizing Depression In Dogs: Possible Symptoms

Possible causes of depression in dogs

There is a reason your dog is sad, depressed, and joyless. Finding this out is unfortunately not always easy. There are a number of triggers that can promote depression in dogs. With a good deal of empathy and empathy, however, you can determine which circumstances have changed in your dog's life and thus have favored his depressed mood.

Bore-out vs. burn-out

Some train too much, others are bored to death. The terms “burn-out” and “bore-out” are probably familiar to us in a human context. But they can also be observed in dogs. Owners of sport and working dogs in particular tend to demand more from their four-legged friends than is necessary. Especially very lively races themselves often do not know where their limits are and so like to work their way into burnout with masters and mistresses. The other category typically concerns society and service dogs, which are neglected by their owners. Because just because there is no hunting or herding instinct in their genes doesn't mean that they don't want to be challenged. It is therefore important to take a close look at the breed-specific needs.

Staying alone

Leading alone can be very stressful for a dog. Dogs are pack animals and therefore enjoy the company of their owners. Depending on the breed, the need for closeness varies. While a Kangal may well be happy to be alone, the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel likes to be around his family. If a dog is often alone for too long, the loneliness can turn into depression. Above all, staying alone without prior training can leave deep wounds in the soul of a sensitive fur nose.

The old age

Old dogs are a special phenomenon in terms of depression: Seniors who used to have a job (as a working dog) and retire from their service can become depressed. The reason for this is the feeling of uselessness that arises in them. If the dogs lack their daily task, the "pension" makes them sad.

How does the vet diagnose depression in a dog?

Only the veterinarian or a veterinarian who specializes in behavior can finally diagnose depression. In order to identify mental disorders and problems, physical illnesses must be ruled out in advance. That means: Your dog's body will be thoroughly checked. Only when it can be ensured that no physical illness triggers the depressive mood can the psyche be intensively illuminated.

Treating depression in dogs

Together with your vet, you will analyze your dog's living conditions and any problem areas. The expert advice of a dog trainer or psychologist can also help you diagnose and treat depression. If the trigger is stress or insufficient demand, it is up to you as the dog owner to adapt the living conditions to the species and type. A dog trainer can help with problems in dog training and pack management.

In the case of traumatic events such as death and mistreatment, an expert should always be consulted who will work through the trauma together with you and your dog. Depending on the severity of the depression, your veterinarian may prescribe calming or mood-enhancing medication for your dog. The alpha and omega, however, remains the continuous work between dog and human. With a lot of calm, patience and attention, the way out of depression can be treaded. Under no circumstances should the dog be rushed or put under pressure.

Species-appropriate activity and relaxation for stressed dogs

With dogs whose living conditions do not correspond to their nature, you should carefully determine what level of activity is necessary. Both mentally and physically, your dog must not be under or overburdened. You should therefore always include breaks - both during training and walking as well as during sport. Remember that dogs sleep around 20 hours a day. You should allow your dog to rest during this period. You should therefore avoid stress factors and create places of retreat for your dog where he can process all of his experiences.

Can Homeopathic Remedies Help With Depression?

Homeopathic remedies are a natural alternative to antidepressants and can help your dog cope with depression. You should discuss which homeopathic remedy is suitable for your dog, when and in what dose with an animal health practitioner (and, if necessary, your veterinarian).


Conclusion: shared moments create a good mood

Depression limits your dog's quality of life. But you can help him out of this dark time: Together with your veterinarian, dog trainer, animal psychologist or animal healer, you can track down the cause of the depression and create a therapy plan. The success of the therapy depends above all on you as the dog owner, because your dog needs you especially during depression. Attention, love, patience, relaxation and beautiful moments not only cheer up your dog. They also strengthen the bond between you and your four-legged friend and are the key to a dog's life that is appropriate to the species. Think carefully about when and where you should put more or less stress on your dog and how you can best make him feel like an important part of your life.