Options for Treating a Clinically Depressed Dog

If your dog shows changes in his behavior, sleeps more, becomes less active and sometimes refuses to eat, he might be suffering from depression. Treating a clinically depressed dog is possible and your pet can turn into the friendly and active pet you used to know. Identify the cause of your dog's depression and apply the appropriate treatment.

Pet Sitter or Dog Daycare

The causes of dog depression may be multiple. Anxiety is a frequent one. In case you leave your dog alone while you are at work or during a long vacation, your pet might present dog depression symptoms. He suffers from separation anxiety. To treat this condition, you will have to show more attention towards your pet. If you are away most of the day, make sure to have someone with your dog almost all day. Choose a dog daycare or opt for a pet sitter. You will also want to play more with your dog. Even if he will be less cooperative at the beginning, patience and perseverance will convince your dog to start engaging in games.

Socialize More

Just like humans, dogs can get depressed if they lose someone dear. If your dog has just lost a pet companion or one of his favorite people is no longer around, he will show clear signs of depression. What you can do is show that you care; play more with your dog, offer him distractions and make sure he has contact with other dogs in the park, at the beach. Sometimes it helps if your dog gets a new companion; however, your dog might get depressed even when you get a new dog, if he feels that he is no longer the center of attention.

Severe depression will need medication. Prozac has shown good results in treating dogs from clinical depression.

Depression Caused by Illness

A dog may be depressed if he suffers from an illness. To solve the problem, visit the vet and run some blood tests to make your dog healthy and happy again. In this case, depression medication or treatment will probably not be needed.

Other Treatment Options

In many cases of depression, even if severe, your dog may be cured if you show enough attention, if your play more and offer your dog a loving environment. Socializing with other dogs and pets may also help. Medication is only prescribed if none of these methods work. The most common anti-depressant for dog depression is Prozac. It has proven to give good results, however, this drug has side-effects. The dog's personality will change, he might be less active and less friendly. Other anti-depressants such as Zoloft or Paxil can also be prescribed to heal clinical depression.

Therapy may also boost your dog's mood. Some therapists may use music or aromatherapy to help improving your dog's mood.

Holistic treatment is also available for dog depression. Even if this has no side-effects, many vets are reluctant to using alternative methods for depression. Herbs such as chamomile, mint, ignatia amara or flower essences such as gentian or the star-of-Bethleem can help healing the depression. However, make sure to observe your dog's behavior and seek advice if you have any concerns.