Dogs Away From Home And Depression.

Dogs Away From Home And Depression.

Depression does not only happen to humans. It can be quite serious in canines and as long as we are able to recognize the symptoms, certain effective changes can be made to combat this.

Change in environment will create stress and sometimes depression in any canine. Visit any shelter and one will come across a few withdrawn, passive aggressive canines. These dogs will not bark excitedly but will seek shelter at the back of their stalls and look up at you with no excitement whatsoever. Serious emotional trauma affects many shelter dogs that wait for their families for months. These dogs will not eat, suffer from anxiety and will tend to sleep a lot. Even after being adopted, these shelter dogs have to form a new bond again with their new families and this, in turn is stressful for most canines.

Change of schedule with less exercise in a dog’s daily routine is a sure depression inducer, since less endorphins are produced. These endorphins have an important role in our canine’s sense of well- being.

Change of status in bonding with their humans. Tests have revealed that behavioral reactions in a small child and canine are similar. Separate a canine from its family and one will have a depressed canine. Depression in this case can be helped by taking your canine to the vet and getting an anti-depressant such as Prozac. This is because there are the same biochemical processes that happen to both humans and canines alike. Aromatherapy works, should you find that you are more inclined with this approach. A combination of exercise and aromatherapy is often a favorite approach.

Change of behavior pattern. This is often seen in depressed canines. Submissive patterns of behavior such as that of a low ranking dog will exhibit itself. Bonding with their families is an expression of canine love. Should a change occur such as a death of a family member, loss of attention or affection, your canine will be emotionally affected. Emotional identification in your canine connects all families with their furry best friends .Should this connection be broken, depression will set in.

Change in canines social circles. The death of a canine companion that has lived side by side with your canine is pain of a loss. Humans feel it too. Canines will refuse to go out for a walk, will refuse to eat and become depressed. Research has shown that pain of a loss and death are two separate concepts for canines. Children only understand death at around age eight. Canines will feel death and behave in ways that humans do, that suggest grieving.

A new addition to the canine home pack will bring on feelings of jealousy and anxiety, possibly expressed as disgust or disdain towards the new puppy or canine. If too much attention is placed on the new canine family member, disdain can turn into depression and if not looked into very quickly, this condition can last for months. One has to look at all the variables within the canine family home, to see if there are any contributing factors aiding in his depression.

Changes in health. Sometimes depression is brought on by illness .Make sure that your canine has regular visits to the vet and a full physical at least once every year. Brain chemistry can be affected by your dog’s sense of smell. Certain odors will improve his mood by changing your canine’s brain chemistry so that it produces proteins, making your furry feel feel good. Lavender is used to induce relaxation.

Changes that one can make to help ease depression in canines.

Whether one is a shelter volunteer or has been recently affected by the depression of your canine, there are a few suggestions that may ease the pain.

Introduce your canine to the pack at the dog park. Initially your dog may be shy or just too depressed, but encouraging him to play ball or Frisbee, will get those endorphins going. Even a slight wag or grin from your canine is a sure sign that things are improving.

Making him a home cooked meal and possibly hand feeding him his favorite meal. Sitting next to your canine, with Bach or Handel in the background and a tad of salmon, broccoli and sweet potatoes, is going to help him relax and start nibbling.

Extra trips  to the  beach-alone time  with your furry friend-a great book that you can read to him.

Aroma therapeutic massages- any holistic vet can recommend one.

Trips to Petco or any petstore with Fido is similar to that of taking your children toy shopping. There are many great interactive canine toys on the market and these help ease boredom and will help Fido focus on something else.

Dogs have emotional ups and downs. As long as we are committed to pin pointing these lows and creating effective changes in Fido’s environment, canine depression can be cured.

By Claudia Bensimoun

Copyright © 2012

Freelance writer

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