Medications for Dog Depression Treatment

Dog depression may be caused by an event, physical illness or chemical imbalance. The depression may be temporary or last for an extended period of time; you need to seek veterinarian advice in order to restore your dog's mental well-being if the depression is severe. Dog depression may be manageable with medications or natural remedies.

Symptoms of Dog Depression

Dogs may be affected by depression and be lethargic for several days. Other symptoms of depression are:

  • lack of appetite
  • weight loss
  • sleepiness
  • constipation
  • unusual inactivity
  • no interest in playing with people, dogs or toys
  • moving slower than usual
  • excessive shedding
  • aggressiveness
  • nervousness

A depressed dog spends most of his time in one place and won't be distracted by treats or a call to play. If the symptoms persist, the dog needs medication and even therapy.

Causes of Depression

Dog depression may be caused by environmental changes:

  • the change of owners
  • moving house
  • when someone from the family leaves or dies
  • when the owner changes his schedule

Even when seasons change or when there is bad weather, the dog may display signs of depression.

Chemical imbalance in the dog's body may also lead to depression.

Depression Medication

The first step in treating dog depression is identifying the cause.

The typical treatment of depression is with anti-depressants such as Prozac, Valium or phenobarbital.

Fluoxetine hydrochloride is the active ingredient of Prozac and is also known as reconcile. Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and gives great results in clinically depressed dogs. Unlike other anti-depressants, Prozac does not cause extreme sleepiness.

Reconcile or Prozac has a few side effects:

  • lethargy
  • vomiting
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • lack of appetite
  • aggression, only in rare cases

Fluoxetine hydrochloride is not recommended for dogs with diabetes, as it elevates the levels of glucose in the blood.

Tramadol is mainly used to relieve pain but may also be used to treat depression. Watch out for side effects such as drowsiness, constipation or excessive whining.

Homeopathic remedies are also available for dog depression. Drops of ignatia or chamomile may help a grieving dog. St.John's wort is also a good natural remedy for dog depression. It is also available as a tincture that can be added to your dog's food.

The treatment for depression caused by chemical imbalance is similar to the medication administrated for depression triggered by other factors.

In any case, talk to a vet before giving your pet any medications. The vet will determine the best treatment option for your dog's depression. The depression may be caused by a medical condition, which needs immediate attention.

If the dog is depressed because of loneliness or boredom, you will have to think about a suitable solution. You may need to spend more time with your dog or get a new pet for your dog to have a playmate.

Depression may be prevented by regular exercise. Take your dog for long walks or for a bike ride. Use a pet treadmill for rainy days.