How to Spot Depression in Cats and Dogs

Maybe you’ve
recently moved or have brought home a new addition to the family and your dog
or cat is suddenly acting different. It isn’t something to necessarily be
concerned about, however because we cannot ask our animals if something is
wrong, it is important to pay close attention to their overall mood and
behavior as depression in cats and dogs is common and can be brought up by a
number of factors.
Depression in Dogs:
Much like humans,
depression symptoms in dogs are often defined by a withdrawn behavior, unusual
drinking and eating habits, and if they stop taking part in the things they
like – such as playing fetch or going for long walks. While these are the most
common dog depression symptoms, these traits can also be linked to a medical
issue, so if you are noticing such characteristics in your dog you should be
sure to call us first and schedule an appointment to be sure nothing else is
happening.
The most common
reasons why dogs get into a bout of depression are either due to the loss of a
companion animal or the loss of an owner. Our animals are more aware than we
might think, and they are able to pick up on peculiarities that make their
surroundings seem different.
Most depression
cases in dogs go away within a few days to weeks. Giving them some extra
affection or a few extra treats to reward them when they exhibit signs of
happiness can help to expedite the process. If these simple remedies do not
work, your dog might require medication. As always, you should call us if you
notice your dog’s behavior is unusual and we’d be happy to help you.
Depression in Cats:
Unlike humans and
dogs, cats do not experience the same emotional changes associated with
depression. Stress in cats that lead to depression can be caused by a move,
environmental changes or because of chemical imbalances in the brain.
Typically, if your
cat stops eating or there is a major change in their appetite this is a big
clue that something is not right. Additional signs that your cat might be
depressed include significant behavioral change such as hissing or acting
aggressively and being less active around the house.
Like we mentioned
with dogs, these signs could be due to a medical issue. Loss of appetite could
be caused by a dental issue or gastrointestinal problem and behavior could be
due to a change in your schedule causing your pet to react. Getting to the
bottom of the issue can sometimes be difficult so it’s best to contact us if
you’re worried something might be wrong.  
In senior cats, pain
is the most underdiagnosed condition, which can cause a cat to become
depressed. If there is a stressor that can be identified as the cause of your cat’s
anxiety or changed behavior, it is best to eliminate that stress to see if
their behavior and overall mood improves.
Ensuring Your Pet’s Happiness
Overall you want to
deal with the issue before it gets worse. If you suspect your cat or dog might
be unhappy, give us a call to discuss their symptoms and stop in for a
check-up. It’s always better to be safer rather than sorry, and your pet will
be happy you checked in with us!

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