Can animals have depression

What Are The Signs of Pet Depression?

08 Oct What Are The Signs of Pet Depression?

Posted at 11:19h in Pet Behavior by petwell

As a pet parent, your pet’s well-being is one of the most important things in your life. No one knows your furry friend better than you do, which is why it’s important to educate yourself on all of the signs and triggers of pet depression. 

Yes, your pet can feel depressed. In fact, depression in animals isn’t so different from depression in people. If your pet has had behavior or mood changes, is sleeping more than normal, has a change in appetite, and has lost interest in their favorite activities, then your pet may be depressed. Thankfully, your four-legged friend won’t suffer for long as pet depression is usually a short term issue. 

Why is My Pet Acting Sad?

Like humans, your pet has its own unique personality, so the reasons for their depression can vary. However, there are common triggers that may lead to them feeling depressed. 

It could be the result of:

  • Moving to a new home
  • The loss of a loved one
  • A new family member or pet
  • A change in routine
  • Your own depression

A New Home

A lot happens before, during, and after a move, and it can be hard on your pet. Even if you move to a bigger house with more space, your pet may still feel attached to his favorite lounging spot in your old home. Just as you take time to adjust, give them some time to get used to his new place!

Loss of A Loved One

Believe it or not, animals grieve too. Just as we do, pets form bonds with people and other pets they see everyday. You’re likely to notice symptoms of depression after the distressing event of losing an owner or companion animal. It might take time for your pet to feel their normal selves again, just like it takes us time to grieve a loved one.

New Family Member or Pet

Especially if your pet is an “only child,” it is very normal for them to become jealous when you bring home a new spouse, roommate, baby, or pet. Anytime your attention is taken away from your pet that’s used to being the center of everything, it can impact their mood and potentially lead to depression. Thankfully, the majority of the time pets form a bond with any new pet or family member. It can just take time! Once a relationship forms with the new family member your pet’s mood will improve.

Change in Routine

Changes in routine can be distressing. Remember that when your schedule changes, so does your pet’s. For example, maybe you and your pet wake up everyday at 7am, eat breakfast, and then sit on the couch together before you leave for work. Suddenly, you have a schedule change and don’t need to wake up until 9am, leading to a complete shift in both of your routines. 

Even if you are able to maintain the same daily habits but at different hours, your pet may become withdrawn and depressed. Work with your pet to gradually introduce them to your new routine!  

Your Own Depression Can Affect Your Pets

We all know that dogs are very intelligent creatures, but did you know that they have “affective empathy” towards people who are important to them? This means they can understand our feelings.  

According to The Royal Society, dogs can recognize and differentiate between positive and negative emotions from humans, such as fear, excitement, or anger. Not only can they tell them apart, but they can also “catch” these feelings! Our dogs often look to us for cues on responding to the world around them, which is one reason why they mimic us. 

Cats and dogs are creatures of habit, so anything that suddenly disrupts their schedule or familiar lifestyle can cause depression and anxiety. Thankfully, many of the triggers only lead to a temporary depression, and may be resolved once you work your pet into another familiar routine. 

But how do you know if your pet has depression? Look for the signs and symptoms.

The Signs and Symptoms of Pet Depression – What You Need to Know

As we mentioned earlier, nobody knows your four-legged friend better than you do. You know their eating habits, potty schedule, the type of toys and treats they like, and what their favorite activities are. So, it’s not difficult to tell when they start acting withdrawn and inactive. 

So, how do you know if your pet is suffering from depression? Here are several common signs, many of which are similar to signs of depression in people:

  • Withdrawn behavior
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Excessive paw licking
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
Knowing the signs and symptoms of depression is the first step in helping your pet recover

Pet Withdrawal

If your pet used to excitedly greet you at the front door and suddenly stops, this is an important change in behavior to note to your vet. A depressed pet may slink away and find a place to sleep rather than run to meet you when you get home. Pay very close attention if you notice your pet, especially dogs, hiding from you. Dogs that suddenly hide or want to be left alone are usually injured, sick, or depressed. 
It’s also important that you keep an eye on their activity levels. For example, happy dogs and cats have seemingly endless energy. But when depressed, you may notice that their ears no longer perk up when you get their favorite toy or bag of treats. Or, instead of running around at the park, your pet stays head-down at your heel. This change from active and energetic to inactive and lethargic may indicate depression in your pet.

Change in Sleeping Habits

All animals sleep a lot. On the other hand, if you notice your pet sleeping a lot more than normal, something could be wrong. Note that it can go both ways. If you notice your pet having trouble sleeping and becoming restless and pacing, this is also a sign that they could be suffering from depression.

Excessive Paw Licking

We’ve all been woken up by the sound of our pet licking their paws, but excessive licking may be rooted in physiological or psychological issues. Depressed dogs and cats will often lick or chew their paws as a way to self-soothe. A similar symptom could be tearing out their fur, and for cats this could look like excessive grooming. Excessive paw licking and grooming can lead to hot spots and bald spots on your pet. If you’ve noticed this type of behavior, and start to notice these spots on your pet, you should talk to your local PetWellClinic team.

Loss of Appetite

Make sure to note changes in your pet’s diet. Oftentimes, interest in food will decrease and lead to weight loss. Alternatively, they may use food as a form of comfort, similar to humans. Watch for any change in their appetite, refusal of treats, and sudden extreme weight gain or weight loss as they can be signs of a chemical imbalance caused by depression.

Loss of Interest and Participation in Favorite Activities

Sometimes this is the most recognizable symptom of pet depression. Make note if your pet suddenly loses interest in playing (or plays for shorter periods of time), going for walks, their favorite treats and toys, riding in the car, or doing anything that would normally excite them.

How to Treat Your Pet’s Depression

If you’ve noticed any of the signs mentioned above, it’s likely time to make sure your pet doesn’t have any underlying health issues. At PetWellClinic, we offer physical exams and blood work panels that can help determine if your pet’s depressive behavior could be pointing to a bigger issue. By doing this, you can be completely sure that your pet isn’t dealing with a physical issue that could impact their overall health.

If there is nothing physically wrong, it could be time to implement a few things into your routine to comfort your furry friend. Thankfully, dogs and cats are not complicated beings and their needs are relatively simple!

How To Cheer Up Your Pet

It’s rare for your four-legged friend to suffer from long-term depression. More than likely, they will bounce back relatively quickly. With some extra TLC, exercise, and doing their favorite activities, you should see a huge improvement in their mood!

Make sure to reward them when they show signs of happiness, no matter how small. According to Bonnie Beaver, the executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, “If the only thing that still gets a little tail wag out of your dog is a car ride, then take him for a series of short rides each day, praising and rewarding him when he appears happier. ” However, be careful not to encourage the negative behavior with treats and attention while they are moping. 
Sometimes adopting another pet can be beneficial, especially if your furry-friend has fallen into a depression after the loss of a companion. As always, make sure you do careful research before bringing a new pet into your home. This decision is a long-term commitment.

Taking time to do your pet’s favorite activities may help them improve their mood!

Giving Your Pet Medication

If a change in routine and activities doesn’t work, and there aren’t any underlying health conditions, medications may help balance your pet’s depression. Karen Sueda, a diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, explains that medications used for depression in pets are often similar to the medications prescribed for depression in humans.

However, you should never medicate your pet with medication meant for humans. If you think your pet would benefit from a prescription, speak with your PetWellClinic vet about your pet’s individual needs. Your veterinarian can discuss the best option, and write a prescription for your pet.

Setting Your Pet Up For Success

Seeing our pets suffer from anxiety or depression isn’t a fun thing to experience as a pet owner. But the good news is that there’s often a simple explanation as to why your pet is experiencing changes in their mood. It’s important to remember that often, issues that seem emotional really stem from physical or medical causes. The first thing to do if you notice a behavioral change is to have your pet checked out by our team to rule out any underlying issues!

PetWellClinic is dedicated to being here for pet owners. Our hours of operation extend into the evenings and weekends, and our clinic environment is built with your pet’s comfort in mind. If you notice any behavioral and/or mood changes in your pet, talk to your PetWellClinic veterinarian about the best next steps.

PetWellClinic provides convenient, affordable veterinary care for pet owners. PetWellClinic has locations and services built with convenience in mind. Stop by with your pet any time! No appointment necessary.

Do Animals Get Depressed? | Psychology Today

Source: Thornypup, via Flickr. Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

Across different areas of research, certain animal behaviors have been described as “depression-like.” These behaviors typically involve unusually low activity (such as the slumped postures of research primates) or reduced interest in pleasurable activities, also known as anhedonia (for instance, stressed pigs that lose interest in sweet foods).

Aileen MacLellan, a doctoral student at the University of Guelph, noticed the term “depression-like” popping up more and more in the scientific literature.

“I wanted to investigate what it means to say an animal is exhibiting ‘depression-like’ behavior,” she says. “Does it mean they are actually experiencing something consistent with clinical depression in humans?”

Diagnosing Depression in Animals

In a new paper published in the journal Behaviour, MacLellan and her colleagues tackle this question—and its ethical implications.

The starting point for the researchers was the wealth of information that decades of research on depression in humans has yielded.

Verbal self-report is necessary for some of the diagnostic criteria for depression, such as feelings of worthlessness or guilt and thoughts of suicide. However, research shows that depressed people also exhibit behavioral, physiological, and cognitive changes. These changes can be objectively assessed in other species, opening the door to comparative investigations.

A vast amount of research also supports the contention that many animals are capable of experiencing emotions and longer-term moods, and that stressors affect them in ways similar to humans. Thus, it follows that animals may have the capacity to experience depression.

Laboratory rats.

Source: Jason Snyder, via Wikimedia Commons. Distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

But how to confirm a diagnosis? MacLellan and her colleagues looked for evidence, in animals, of the same diagnostic criteria used for humans: five or more signs of depression for a period of two weeks or longer.

Searching for Symptoms of Depression

MacLellan identified two research areas on which to focus. First, the researchers reviewed the evidence for depression in laboratory rats deliberately subjected to chronic stress, commonly used in biomedical research to "model" human depression.

Over all the studies reviewed, chronically stressed lab rats demonstrated all measurable diagnostic criteria, as well as additional signs and biomarkers of depression. In addition, some of these symptoms were reversed through treatment with antidepressants.

“We found evidence that chronically stressed rats do show signs of depression, such as anhedonia, changes in weight, and cognitive deficits,” says MacLellan.

Source: K-State Research and Extension, via Flickr. Distributed under a CC BY 2.0 license.

The second area that the researchers reviewed was animals not being stressed on purpose, but still experiencing stress from living in sub-optimal conditions. This included intensively kept pigs and laboratory mice housed in barren cages. Again, MacLellan and her colleagues found signs of depression across numerous studies.

However, in both the rat models of depression and the poor welfare cases, no diagnosis could be confirmed. It is the co-occurrence of multiple symptoms that is crucial for diagnosis in humans, and no single research study has looked at enough signs of depression in any one population of animals. MacLellan and her colleagues conclude that in species other than humans, the co-occurrence of sufficient diagnostic criteria for depression remains to be demonstrated.

What’s Next

MacLellan would like to see other researchers investigate all of the measurable criteria for depression in one population of animals, particularly in populations that are already showing worrying evidence of depression, such as mice in barren cages or pigs in restrictive environments. Such evidence could be important for several reasons.

Source: Dana Doskaliuk, via Wikimedia Commons. Distributed under a CC BY 4. 0 license.

First, testing for the co-occurrence of signs of depression could improve the validity and specificity of animal models. Better research models are likely to help scientists learn more about human depression.

In addition, there are considerable ethical implications if conventional housing or husbandry practices are found to induce depression. MacLellan hopes that convincingly demonstrating that animals under these conditions experience depression could motivate improvements to alleviate animal suffering.

“Often, we are aware of the changes that could be made to improve animal welfare,” she says. “It’s a matter of where the tipping point is to move the marker forward. I hope that if the hypothesis that animals can experience depression is supported, it could improve the welfare of more animals.”

LinkedIn image: Bearok/Shutterstock. Facebook image: Aleksey Mnogosmyslov/Shutterstock

psychologist about how your pet feels - Archive

Afisha talked to Elena Fedorovich, a researcher at the Moscow Zoo, about what pets think of their owners, when is the best time to take a puppy from its mother, why pets behave badly and how they perceive the world around them.

  • Elena Fedorovich, researcher at the Moscow Zoo, employee of the Laboratory of Animal Psychology, Department of Psychology, Moscow State University Photo: personal archiveWhat is zoopsychology and what does it study? nine0007
  • Animal psychology is the science of patterns development and functioning of mental reflections of the animal in evolution and ontogenesis.
  • What is the mind of animals?
  • Various authors understand the psyche of animals differently. Psychologists operate with this concept, and biologists who study behavior - they are most often called ethologists - it is not use. Western scientists do not use the word "animal psychology", they, as usually use the concept of "cognitive capabilities". Abroad, to refer to complex mental abilities, the term cognition or social cognition is used, which means the study cognitive abilities necessary for living in social groups. The term "zoopsychology" is predominantly found only in our country. In Russia, zoopsychology is considered a specialized discipline taught in psychology departments. She is included in the mandatory program for the training of specialists and bachelors in this discipline. nine0008
  • Is it possible to say that animals have consciousness and emotions?
  • Animals certainly have emotions - if we are talking about those with a central nervous system. As far as consciousness is concerned, it is another question. Consciousness is awareness of what is happening, and its there are no animals.
  • Cats and dogs understand that they are biologically different kinds? And that people are also different? nine0007
  • Let's put it this way: they take into account in their activities that dealing with different biological species. But to understand is to classify, make the difference consciously. This, of course, does not happen.

    A lot depends on how ontogeny went domestic animal (especially the period from birth to separation from the mother). If during the period early ontogenesis, an animal devoid of biological mother, interacts a lot with a person as a main person, and a person cares for him, ensures his safety, that is, it is likely that such an animal would largely identify yourself with people. nine0003

  • So is it better to take puppies from mother early?
  • No, better on time. If you take away ahead of time, how many do, the process of ontogenesis and the process of emotional behavior regulation. If a dog is taken away from its mother too early, it will there may be problems with the development of "novelty", exploratory behavior, fears are formed, such animals will have problems with social behavior - interaction with other individuals, as well as maternal behavior. The puppy or kitten must spend with the mother, brothers and sisters set for his biological species term. AT in the case of pets, it is necessary that human. If we want to have a pet dog or cat, then a person must interact with momma to cubs become part of their relationship. nine0002 If, on the contrary, you pick up a puppy or kitten from the street too late, he won't be socialized enough in relation to a person. Especially if his mother is hiding in the basement or, say, in abandoned household facilities and does not interacts with people.

Photo: Shutterstock

  • Is it possible to say that animals have bad or a good mental state? Do they get sad?
  • They have depressive states - monkeys have this even shown on the basis of hormonal changes. Experts in such cases say that the animal is experiencing prolonged stress. If you are under stress for a long time, psychosomatic disorders, great apes have neuroses, many mammals phobias, obsessive fears. The mechanisms of psychiatric or near-psychiatric states may be similar to human, and may be completely different. Although there is a lot in common. nine0008
  • Which cases can be considered alarming? When I like should the owner of a cat or dog contact a zoopsychologist?
  • Who will you contact if they are not available? There are people, who are engaged in the correction of animal behavior due to their rich experience, a large number of books read and abilities. It seems to me that when such people are called zoopsychologists, this is not very good. There are very smart and talented professionals who correct the behavior of animals, specialist trainers. As a rule, they work not so much with animals, how many with their owners. nine0002 Specialists are rarely consulted due to poor the mental state of the animal. In a modern urban family, a dog or the cat is included in the structure of communications in a particular family system. Often a dog or cat in such a system has problem behavior. An analogy can be drawn: if a child behaves bad, then he does it in order to switch attention to himself - then mom and dad, for example, will stop quarreling. When psychologists work with such families, they find out what function the child's behavior serves. As as a rule, this is a symptom that communication is broken somewhere between the spouses. Often an animal's misbehavior performs a similar homeostatic function. nine0003

    Somehow the owners of my acquaintance turned to the trainer Rottweiler - a divorced woman with a daughter - complaining about his aggression. He could, for example, go to the kitchen, open the refrigerator and start eating food. From point of view behavior correction, it is not so difficult to wean a Rottweiler from such behavior: we we negatively reinforce his behavior, for example, when he opens this door refrigerator, a pan with nuts falls on him - and he gets scared. The trainer quickly coped with this, her Rottweiler obeyed perfectly, but his mistress, on the contrary, had more and more complaints of aggression. How then it turned out that she broke up with her husband because of his aggressiveness - she had victim behavior, and with the dog she applied the same interaction patterns. In other words, her behavior in every possible way provoked the dog to display aggression. nine0003

    This is often the case - a symptom of bad dog behavior before certain limits supported by the family. Articles are published even abroad, who say that if a family often asks about bad behavior of the dog, then the main owner is rarely present at receptions specialist. Or the family suddenly stops seeing a specialist. The question is not dog, the question is why the family needs her bad behavior.

Photo: Shutterstock

  • When dogs bark at each other in the street, what do they convey information?
  • They may not transmit any information, but simply get excited. There is an affiliation behavior - behavior that confirms inclusion in the group. If one dog barks, the other will also bark. Bark sync is a common form of affiliation. There is also the so-called contagious behavior, contagious. If at a certain level of excitation, one animal begins to perform some action, such as barking, then the other dog, being at a certain stage excitement, will also bark. If one dog runs in a certain direction and the other dog is "wound up", it will rush in the same direction. People have too there are examples of contagious behavior: when someone nearby yawns, you start yawning too. nine0008
  • What is the difference between the human signal system (language) and animal signaling system?
  • Fundamental differences. There are certain properties of communication that human language has and does not have animals. For example, the symbolic function of language is that animals cannot invent symbols and freely operate with them, using them as a means for thinking and managing one's own behavior. They can only react. Add meaningful sentences, designate, convey information they cannot. Human communication performs an important informing function: "Beware, the snake is crawling!" A dog or cat may react if they see a snake, but if the snake is quiet creeps in your direction, but you do not see it, an animal won’t come up and say: “Turn around, to someone is crawling for you!” When you come home the dog tells you whining, tail movements, jumps, pantomime, movements “how glad I am for you see". But she won't tell you what happened while you were gone. She won't tell about how she was waiting for you to come, and where she thought of going with you. Dogs, like cats, live only "here and now" and always in their state. nine0008
  • slippers and other unexpected places, what do they mean by that?
  • In cats, and especially in cats, smell is strengthening of the "I". Therefore, very often a cat begins to mark, because she anxious. Cats don't like novelty. For them, any new smell, permutation furniture, the appearance of another animal, especially another cat, is a big stress. A man with a strong smell came in, she peed in his shoes. Not because a bad person, but because the smell is new, sharp - and therefore disturbing. New filler, tray in a different place, appearance child - all this can cause anxiety in a cat, and they will go to mark everything with their own smell, thus strengthening your "I": when you smell everywhere, you calmer. nine0008

Photo: Shutterstock

  • Is it true that pets take on personalities? hosts?
  • Not directly adopted, but some fit. For example, a dog is very good at "reading" intentions. his master. If the puppy was raised correctly - with mom and under supervision a person, he very quickly learns to look a person in the face. We are like you in primates, establishing and maintaining contact is eye contact. For communication of dogs as a biological species contact eyes is also characteristic of communication and initiation of each other's actions. The last thirty years by people as welcome pets select those individuals who successfully master human non-verbal communication. More control now selection of cats, but this was done later than the selection of dogs - cats are increasingly also begin to look into the eyes. nine0002 There was such an experiment: the owners left their dogs in room with experimenters who laid out a piece of food on the table. And host strictly said "no". And he left. And the dog was either given this piece to eat, or shifted this piece higher on the cabinet. And when the owners came back, they were told: “You know, your dog listened to you and didn’t eat a piece” or “Your dog didn’t listen to you and ate a piece. ” And looked at how the dog met the owner. If the owners were told "Your dog ate the cookie", she ate or not eat it, she still looked guilty. And if the owners were told “Your dog didn’t eat anything”, the dog never looked guilty, she ate is it a cookie or not. nine0003

    The dog had time to respond to an involuntary change in the host's facial expressions and take on a "guilty" look. Animals much higher rate of exchange of communications. You and I are very slow compared to animals. The dogs took on a "guilty" look, not because they were tormented by conscience about the unfulfilled command, but because of the dissatisfaction of the owner.

  • or not? What do they rely on?
  • First of all, predictability. In addition to the benefit that "this being" brings, animals are favored by those who are predictable. If the dog starts to growl at one of your guests, then something is wrong with her. incomprehensible in this person. Many dogs attack lame people, invalids or children, because they do not understand them, are not used to them. And more banal a situation when someone comes to the house and is afraid of a dog - then she can also show aggression. nine0008
  • Can physical punishment be used against cats and dogs?
  • Physical punishment and negative reinforcement are two different things. Physical punishment carries more than our human morality: "I punish you for this and that reason." physical punishment involves explaining to the dog why we are doing it. In this regard, for animals physical punishment is unacceptable, but without proper application no negative reinforcement. nine0002 Pets do not have the question “Why?”, They have the question “Can I?” or "Can't?" Negative reinforcement should occur at the moment when the animal does something. Big mistake to do this when the owner comes home and sees that the dog or cat has spoiled something. And the animal meets the owner at the entrance - and if you scold, then it is negatively reinforced not that it did an hour ago, namely that it rejoices at the return of the owners home.

    Physical punishment involves an explanation of the reason: why not do something. It's completely useless if we we deal with animals. nine0003

  • What is the feeling of a host? When a cat or dog an understanding is formed that a person is a master?
  • Cat differs from dogs. Dogs live in hard enough structured groups, and in them the roles are distributed. Cats may live crowded, but they do not form groups with differentiated roles. For a cat, stability and predictability are important the place where she is. When leaving for the country, it is better to take the dog with you, and the cat better to leave at home. For her, moving is a big stress. to a man when he gets pets, you must definitely believe that he is unique for them. But need understand that dogs move from one owner to another fairly easily if the new owner provides a clear communication system. living in the family, the dog assigns a role to each family member - and it will be differentiated treat people according to the role he sees. The cat is not distributes roles, she knows the routine. nine0008
  • Why are dogs easy to train and cats hardly?
  • There are many more forms in the potential behavioral repertoire of the dog as a species behaviors that we understand. A solitary cat has fewer of these forms. And the dog makes everything clearer to us ways, and we use these methods for ourselves. Different forms of their biological lives are used by people in different ways.

    They are trained differently because some canines, and other cats. How do cats mainly hunt? They hide one by one. Dogs hunt in a group, follow the trail. Since the dog lives in a group and must to settle a lot, she has many forms of greeting and options for ritual behaviors - that is, more possibilities that we can change by learning. nine0003

  • Is it true that cats have no fear of heights?
  • Yes.

Photo: Shutterstock

  • Why do they regularly fall out of windows?
  • Because they jump out and miss. Or simply fall down. Domestic cats, unlike yard cats, do not have much experience jumps. We do not allow dogs to walk on the ledges, otherwise they would fall out more often than cats. nine0008
  • pet that you love him?
  • Very often people who attribute to animals human qualities do not satisfy biological the needs of these animals and destroy them with this. Notable examples are when dogs dressed in human clothing. When dogs, cats, parrots are given food, which they cannot eat, guided by the principle of "the owner is very tasty", when a rat is carried on the shoulder wherever possible when they come home, a hamster sleeps, and they push him with a finger with the words "hello, I have come" or when the children swaddle kittens and play with them with dolls. This is the dissatisfaction of the basic biological needs inherent in a particular species of animal. When the dog is not taken out for a walk, but forced to pee at home. Or when they lead the dog, she sniffs urine marks, and they pull her by the leash and say "let's go. " The person is very often insists on increased tactile contact with an animal that does not wants. Dogs and cats are often bred as another person, only a more "simplified" kind. nine0008
  • Can we say that cats and dogs experience gratitude? If, for example, they are taken from a shelter?
  • It's one thing when a pet dog loses its owners - It is right to take her home from the shelter. There are dogs with different behaviors profiles, not family, who grew up without a person - these are also rebuilt shelter staff. In this case, difficulties may arise when keeping in a city apartment: dogs can howl, destroy the house, bad driving. If she was taken from the street too late, she would not adapted to life in the family, it will be bad to “read” a person and be afraid of everything. Abroad, there is a strict selection of dogs in shelters. The ones that don't get through tests for tolerance to a person, to children, to physical impact, there put to sleep. nine0002 If you adopt an animal from a shelter, you need to know the history his getting there. Must be willing to serve specific needs such animals.

    If the cat lives in the basement, take it from there in no time in which case it is not possible. If you want a quality pet, you need to take it from similar conditions: let's say you live outside the city - take a cat that was born outside the city.

    In order for an animal to experience a sense of gratitude, it you need a lot of cognitive abilities, which he does not have. The animal must be able imagine what would have happened to him in the future if you had not appeared and saved him, and evaluate the past - the opportunities that she had and which now there is no. This is anthropomorphism, it is natural for us. Dogs and cats can feel relieved if they lived in stress: the coat shone, improved digestion, relaxation. But not gratitude. nine0003


  • Nastya Krasilnikova (Afisha Daily)

Do dogs get depression?

Can animals, in particular dogs, suffer from depression? The answer is not as obvious as it seems. Over the past decades, the dog has become a true friend and companion for humans. Less and less often, dogs are bred for protection, hunting or grazing, that is, for the activity for which they were originally tamed. In modern cities, a dog is sometimes the only close being for its owner, and not just a friend of the popular expression. This is a full-fledged member of the family, the same as a child, and sometimes more. nine0003

However, having lost its exclusively working tasks, the dog acquired typically human problems. People call depression the disease of the 21st century. How do behavioral disorders in companion dogs manifest themselves in the 21st century? And can they be called depression? Let's try to figure it out.

Depression - what is important to know

Depression (from the Latin deprimo - to suppress, press (down)) is a mental disorder of a person, in which there is oppression, depression, a general decrease in mood and pessimism. nine0003

The typical symptoms of depression - depression, fatigue and anhedonia - in dogs are rather signs of somatic disorders. Lethargy, refusal to play and walk, decreased appetite in pets can indicate various diseases and are non-specific symptoms.

But what is often attributed to a lack of education, on the contrary, can be symptoms of a violation of brain biochemistry, for example, a decrease in the level of serotonin and dopamine in the synapses (such disorders are recorded in people with depression). And in dogs with such disorders, there is uncleanliness, aggression or separation anxiety (separation anxiety). And it is these behavioral disorders that owners most often care about. nine0003

Such disorders are studied by behavioral veterinary medicine, the terms "psychiatry" and "psychology" in the animal world are incorrect. Behavioral medicine has become widespread and has developed rapidly since the 1990s. It became clear that many animals could be helped to avoid conflict with their owners and even euthanasia in severe cases of behavioral disorders. It turned out that this or that “parting” with a pet more often occurs not because of ordinary diseases, but because of behavioral disorders. nine0003

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

Let's take a look at some of the most common dog behavioral problems an owner may experience. Recall that they are often biochemically similar to depression in humans. And the drugs that behavioral medicine doctors prescribe for pets are the same antidepressants that people use.

  • Uncleanliness - that is, urination and defecation in the wrong places (in the house).

When evaluating the uncleanliness of a dog, one should take into account its age and the normal number of urination acts per day. You can not demand "patience" from a puppy who urinates every 1-2 hours during wakefulness and 1-2 times at night at 2 months. In addition to age, you need to understand how often the dog is taken outside, whether it is trained in the rules of behavior in the house, whether the pet has diseases of the genitourinary, gastrointestinal tract, anatomical defects or neurological abnormalities. In addition to puppies, older and pregnant dogs need more frequent walking. If the above causes are ruled out, behavioral problems should be considered. nine0003

Urination at home may be associated with anxiety, primarily separation anxiety from the owner. Other reasons may be marking the territory (both in males and females), urination as a manifestation of submission, due to overexcitation, fear, to attract attention. A behavioral medicine doctor will help you to understand the intricacies of a dog's behavior

How can you help such a pet?

First of all, take them for a walk more often. During the period of toilet training with a puppy, you need to walk at least four times a day, and preferably more often. For the correct behavior on the street, one must praise, treat with a treat. Growing up, dogs clearly understand what the owner expects from them on a walk. But even with an adult dog, it is better to go out not two, but three times a day. Long patience is not physiological and can lead to health problems. In addition to "sanitary" functions, walking for a dog is communication with relatives, a surge of energy, exploring the territory and other people's marks. That is, physical and mental stress, which reduces the level of anxiety and excessive excitability, thereby contributing to normal behavior at home, including in the absence of the owner. Owners of dogs with whom even the simplest training is regularly engaged, the frequency of complaints of destructive behavior is much lower than in people with pets left to their own devices. nine0003

  • Aggression is a very common and most dangerous behavioral disorder in dogs, which, unfortunately, is not always manageable. Correctly identifying the causes of aggression is not an easy task even for a specialist.

Aggressiveness in dogs in general is species-typical behavior. Aggression in animals allows you to survive in a pack, get food, protect yourself and your puppies. In the conditions of life with a person, the aggression of a pet becomes absolutely unacceptable. The exception is working, police, hunting and shepherd dogs, in which adequate and appropriate aggression is a normal and indispensable condition of service. nine0003

Of course, in order to assess aggression, you need to carefully study the living conditions of the dog and understand the patterns of situations in which the pet becomes aggressive. For example, you should not allow children or strangers to climb into the “nest” of a recently born female or take a bone from a hungry male. Aggression in these situations is easily explained by typical species behavior. Dog owners should definitely learn typical aggression postures and explain this to their children. Bared teeth, hair rearing at the withers are the characteristic signals that the dog gives in advance, before attacking. There are also more subtle points worthy of separate discussion. In any case, a person and a dog, despite the proximity and coexistence, are different species with different behavior. For example, the sharp squeal of a child may be misinterpreted by the dog as a signal given by the victim. Conflict in this case is inevitable. nine0003

There are different types of aggression, depending on the cause. The most common are territorial aggression (when a dog defends its territory), dominance aggression (can be towards both people and animals), aggression associated with hormonal status (in a female protecting puppies or in males during a "dog wedding") , aggression associated with food, "cowardly" aggression associated with fear. As a rule, the latter type is explained by the increased anxiety of the companion dog and in reality, from the point of view of a person, nothing threatens her. Such behavior looks inadequate, can be dangerous for others and must be corrected by specialists - a dog handler and a behavioral medicine doctor. nine0003

  • Separation anxiety or separation syndrome. Another behavioral disorder in dogs that may be similar to human depression. Indeed, dogs with increased anxiety respond well to antidepressant treatment, suggesting a similar chemistry of these behavioral disorders. The symptoms of separation anxiety manifest themselves in the absence of the owner. It can be howling and barking, self-traumatization (obsessive licking of paws, for example), destruction of the apartment. There are methods for correcting this behavior, based on keeping the dog apart - first a short one, and then a longer one. Such upbringing requires patience and perseverance from the owner. For pharmacological support, a veterinarian should be consulted. nine0008

Do dogs get postpartum depression?

Childbirth in the animal kingdom is a normal phenomenon. In a pack of dogs, a pregnant female is not considered sick or infirm, otherwise the animals would not be able to breed and maintain population numbers. In the animal kingdom, females who have given birth do not know the concept of depression.

In domestic dogs, it happens that the female, after giving birth, does not experience maternal instinct and rejects the puppies. This happens after a caesarean section, when the body is not hormonally ready for childbirth. Sometimes this happens after natural childbirth. The reason for this phenomenon in this case is not clear. However, it is known that this behavior can be inherited and repeated in the same female. Perhaps this is due to a violation of the biochemistry of the brain, in particular, with insufficient synthesis of neurotransmitters that affect the production of hormones responsible for maternal behavior. Such dogs should be excluded from breeding work. nine0003

Dog diet for behavioral disorders

The brain is the body's main energy consumer. And the pet takes energy from the food offered by the owner. Therefore, the importance of proper balanced dog nutrition cannot be overestimated. And a dog with behavioral disorders needs a special diet. This food is PRO PLAN® Veterinary Diets NC NeuroCare Complete Dietary Dry Food for adult and senior dogs to support brain function. The specially selected ingredients of this ketogenic diet improve brain function by providing an alternative source of nutrition.

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