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It is rather easy to tell when one of your friends or family members are depressed. Their signs are much easier to read or they can just simply tell you they are not feeling their best. But can you tell if your four-legged friends are feeling blue? Animals, sadly, do not have the ability to communicate with us, so it is up to us to notice the signs and identify if our pets are upset or feeling sad.
Signs of your pets being depressed
As you spend time with your pet, pay attention to signs that could indicate a change in behavior. Some of these are similar to symptoms of depression in people, so they are not too hard to notice.
- Changes in appetite: Some animals lose interest in food when they are depressed causing them to lose weight. On the other hand, some animals will begin overeating and gain a lot of weight.
- Sleeping patterns: Like people, dogs and cats could resort to sleeping too much when they are feeling sad. Do not confuse their regular sleeping patterns for something else, as dogs and cats sleep for several hours during the day, but if your pet does not greet you when you return home or if he/she does not acknowledge your presence, then you should do something about it. Check for physical ailments, and if you cannot find any, then your pet is probably depressed. Also note that this could work differently for puppies and kittens, which might become restless and have trouble sleeping.
- Hiding: Animals tend to hide when they are either injured or ill. So, if your dog wants to be left alone or suddenly wants to hide, then you should realize that something is bothering him/her.
- Dip in interest: If your pet loses interest suddenly in activities like playing, going for walks, and so on, this could be a sign that he/she is depressed.
- Licking and biting paws: An increase in chewing and licking of paws shows that your pet is trying to soothe himself.
Causes of pet depression
There could be various reasons why your pet is depressed, but it has been reported that loss and change are the usual triggers. Here are some common causes:
- The death of a companion or a beloved human.
- Change in location.
- Increased stress at home.
- Loneliness, especially in dogs.
Ways to handle pet depression
Reduce the stress at your household and make sure you give your pet a lot of attention and affection. Make sure your pet is eating well and regularly give treats. Spend time playing and exercising with your dog or cat. Take your dog to the local dog park. Make your move from one home to another as smooth as possible for your pet. If your pet is showing prolonged signs of being depressed, take it to the vet who might prescribe medication in case of serious cases.