Those who have suffered depression know how incredibly difficult life can become. Mental health is very complicated and it can take a long time to establish the most effective approach. You may have heard about anxiety and stress in dogs but what about depression? Can dogs really become depressed? The expression “suffer in silence” springs to mind when you think about dogs becoming depressed due to their inability to tell you how they feel. So, what can you do to help them?
While it is true that dogs can suffer from depression, they don’t actually suffer from it to the same extent that humans do but it really can be a “dog’s life” all the same. Dog depression can cover separation anxiety, a lack of mental stimulation and so on. There are many reasons as to why dogs suffer from depression and sometimes it can seem as though it has developed from absolutely nothing. It goes without saying that your dog won’t turn around and tell you that they are feeling down. Therefore, in order to pick up on the symptoms, you will need to pay close attention to the overall behavior of your furry friend.
Even as loving dog owners, picking up on the signs that your dog may be depressed is usually the hardest part. The first change in behavior is typically withdrawal. Dogs that are usually cuddly or seek attention in the form of lots of petting, can simply lie down out of the way and seem uninterested in affection. Another red flag that your dog is sad is a change in their eating habits. Most of the time, when pets seem to go off their food it usually means that something is wrong and it could very well signal illness or depression. Another change to look out for include excessive or lack of sleep. In particular, changes in their usual sleeping patterns. When dogs become depressed, they act similarly to humans. They will display a lack of motivation and could even resent going for a walk. As a way of giving themselves some relief and soothing the sadness that they are feeling, they can resort to excessively licking their paws or other parts of their body.
The reasons behind depression in dogs are very similar to the reasons that humans become depressed. Two of the most obvious reasons are illness and grief. If your pet has been suffering from an illness, infection or disease that has impacted their life in some way then they can quite easily become depressed. Suffering because of grief doesn’t always mean that either a fellow dog, pet or human has passed away. Dogs can feel grief if living situations change. If a housemate has moved out or a pet has been given to someone else then your dog could feel sad. Another reason for a dog feeling down and depressed could be if you, the owner is sick. Dogs will sense if there is something wrong with their human companions and as sad as you may be your dog will probably feel sad too. Again, like humans there is sometimes no known reason for a dog to become depressed—it’s just one of those things.
If you notice that your canine companion is displaying similar behaviors as above, the first thing you should do is take them to the vets to ensure that they are still healthy and do not have anything physically wrong with them. If you feel that your dog may have depression speak with the vet about it as they will also be familiar with depression in dogs. Once it has been confirmed it’s time to help your canine friend find happiness again. It is really important to get your dog to exercise again as this is one of the best ways to overcome depression. If going for walks is still an issue, then try doing some simple exercises in the home to get them moving. Gradually, you can work up to going for walks again. Another thing you can do at home is to monitor how much food they are eating. Too much and too little is not great so it’s ideal to ensure that your pet is eating the ideal amount every day.
Now that the use of CBD has been approved for pets, many people have been looking into how much it can help them recover from depression. CBD is, of course, associated with cannabis and is, in actual fact, a cannabinoid that is derived from a strain of the cannabis plant. Another cannabinoid that is derived from the cannabis plant is THC which is the element that causes people to get high. CBD does not have the “high” property as it is a non-psychoactive and instead, has shown huge potential in both humans and animals for helping with anxiety, stress, illness, and depression. Using CBD is a natural way to help with depression as it can interact with the body’s receptors on a secondary level. There is no high, no feeling dazed and no zoning out. Anxiety, depression and stress all cause an imbalance with the chemicals in the brain both in humans and dogs. In the research and studies that have been completed, CBD has shown to help balance these chemicals which helps to overcome the feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
Some people assume that CBD oil and products are relatively new but that is not true. CBD has actually been around for a long time; however, there was a lot of red tape that prevented experts from studying it in depth. In recent years, these barriers have been lifted meaning that many companies are now able to study CBD more thoroughly. To this day, scientists and experts are examining CBD in hopes of finding out the true extent of its benefits. There is hope in the future that CBD will be used as medication and treatment for a number of ailments all over the world and not just for humans but for animals as well. Nowadays, owners are also using CBD products for their pets and what better way is there to treat physical and mental illness than will all-natural medicine.
Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She's pretty sure in her past life, she was a Great Dane. However, we peg her as more of a labrador. Regardless of her breed, she's a dog enthusiast who has 15 years experience training dogs and owners.