5 ways to spot if your pet is depressed

We’ve all had a tough time during the past couple of years – and the effects are still impacting us to this day! It’s hard not to get down about it, from the economy to the newfound social anxiety, the post-pandemic era has left a print on most of us. But have you ever wondered if this collective experience is limited only to humans? The answer is no!

Pets also experience days or months where they feel blue. Just like humans, animals can also go through depression! Here are the five signs of depression in pets. You’d be surprised how eerily similar these symptoms are to our own!

Appetite loss

Like humans, one sign of depression is the loss of appetite or anorexia. The little cutie might have an upset stomach or might be feeling a lot of stress. That can lead to being picky with their food, eating very little to not eating at all. The dangerous thing that can happen is that your pet starts not to eat for more than a few days. That can be a major sign of depression and you need to take them to the vet ASAP! You would not want your beloved best friend to starve to death!

Not active as they once were

Now, this one you’ll probably be able to spot from a mile away if you spend a lot of time with your pet. They’ll appear to be sad and withdrawn. They’ll stop showing signs of interest in things that they used to love or play with. Maybe they’ll yawn a lot and refuse to participate in any group activities. Sometimes you can even feel them staring at you with an icy glare full of yearning.

Changes in sleeping pattern

An average dog usually sleeps for half a day, which is 12 hours a day. Cats sleep an average of 12-16 hours per day. The sign to look for is if your pet is sleeping more than that. If all they want to do is sleep, or lie in bed without moving, your pet could be depressed.

Rebellious behavior

If your pet is being naughtier than they usually are, this can also be a sign of depression. They might still obey your orders or continue to follow you around, but a change in behavior and this rebellion could be a starting sign of depression. A depressed pet will refuse to do anything that you ask of them, and it could be accompanied by aggressive behavior, a glare, and even a bite because they suddenly hate to be touched!

Lick or bite themselves often.

A depressed pet often licks or bites their own paws, tails, and even their body when they have anxiety or stress. The worst that can happen is that they start to hurt themselves seriously, and that could lead to suicide, much like in humans. If you find that your pet is showing these types of symptoms, please do not hesitate and take them to see the vet as soon as possible!

We’re not the only ones who can have depression, your beloved pets can as well and depression in pets can derive from a number of factors. It could be grief or a hormone imbalance, so as a responsible pet parent who loves their baby so dearly, it’s important to spot these signs and symptoms.

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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