How to treat depression in dogs
Unlike humans, dogs don’t suffer from complex clinical depression so lifting their spirits isn’t as tricky as you think. With your patience and time, a dog in the doldrums will soon have that tail wagging again.
Firstly, it’s important to get your dog checked over by their vet. Some of the signs of depression can be symptomatic of certain illnesses and conditions so it’s vital to check their health is otherwise OK. If everything else is ruled out and it’s confirmed that your dog’s depressed, you’ll need to give them extra attention but make sure you praise and reward them when they’re responding positively. Resist the temptation to make a fuss of them when they’re acting miserable, as this will reinforce the behaviour. Look out for little signs of happiness, a wagging tail, an improvement in appetite, and give them some positive feedback.
Make sure your dog has plenty of fresh air and exercise. They may need a bit of extra persuasion to get out and about again, reward and encourage them for doing this. Engage with your dog through play: throw a frisbee, play chase, have a game of ball with them. All of these things reaffirm that all-important dog-owner bond and this helps your dog feel secure and happy.
Depression is sometimes triggered by boredom and lack of stimulation. If you think your dog’s grey matter needs a little more challenge, invest in some toys that encourage lots of interaction. Kongs, puzzles and maze balls are all great for keeping a dog occupied and stimulated, especially if left at home alone for an extended period of time. As separation anxiety is a potential trigger for depression, providing these types of distraction whilst home alone is a great way of looking after your dog’s mental wellbeing.
Dogs are sociable animals, after all, they’re designed to hang around in packs. A bit of socialisation with other dogs may work wonders for their spirits. If their lack of joy is due to the loss of a furry companion, consider getting them another friend when you feel the time is right.
If your dog isn’t interested in their usual diet, you could try making a change but make sure you still stick to the same mealtime routine. Ensure they’re getting a high-quality diet containing plenty of fresh, naturally sourced nutrients. Low blood sugar can send their mood plummeting so choose a diet containing slow-release, complex carbohydrates. Fibre in the diet will also deliver a slow and steady trickle of energy. Why not try one of our Chicken Delicious, Turkey Terrific or Duck Delight recipes? They’re generously loaded with high-quality meat (chicken, turkey and duck are great sources of the mood-boosting mineral selenium) and natural sources of fibre like parsnip and apple to keep that blood sugar topped up. The potato and sweet potato in our recipes also help to stabilise blood sugar by slowly releasing glucose. There are no hidden nasty bits either just Pure and honest ingredients.