If your pet appears to have lost its energy and enthusiasm, it may be suffering from depression.

Once you know what to look for, you can identify the signs of poor mental health in your pet and take steps to help restore the emotional well-being of your pet.

Pets Like Consistency

Pets often feel the most comfortable when their owners demonstrate consistent behaviour.

If your pet appears depressed, determine whether a recent event has impacted your dog’s mental well-being.

Changing up the routine of your pet can send them into a state of depression.  Here are some common situations:

  • A stay-at-home dog-owner who starts to work away from home
  • A new baby who takes attention away from the pet
  • Moving home, building works or renovations
  • A new pet addition to the household
  • A life event that changes their circumstances or situation

Signs of Mental Illness in Pets

 Here are some signs which indicate that your pet may be suffering from mental illness. Your pet 

  • no longer has that get-up-and-go spark
  • will do less and is apathetic to your cues or signals 
  • change sleeping patterns
  • becomes reclusive and hides in a corner
  • paces and circle in one spot
  • eats more than usual
  • is not interested in  treats
  • Becomes more aggressive in temperament


 Helping Your Pet Overcome a Mental Health Problem

To try and pull your pet out of depression, it can be as simple as showing him or her that you care. Imagine how wonderful you feel when your partner showers you with love and affection so start doing little acts of kindness.  They will respond very positively.

Talk with your pet in a friendly tone and give him or her a daily massage or special pats.

Be patient with your pet. Getting frustrated is a mistake that many pet owners make when dealing with a depressed pet.

If your pet refuses to eat or remain calm, try a different approach. For instance, put some food in your hand and offer it to your pet.  Change their life up a bit.  

If the food is accepted, praise the pet and give a treat. However, be careful not to reward negative behaviour by giving the pet treats while they are not making an effort.  Being sensitive to old age, change in circumstances or health issues is the best.                                                      

Above all be kind and considerate to your pet. Getting your pet to exercise if they are able will help in lifting depression and also boost their immune system. Your pet’s lymphatic system gets activated by movement. The nodes, ducts and vessels, which represent the major parts of the immune system will filter out and kill unwanted organisms and bacteria.  

Increasing the oxygen intake has benefits for every system in the body, not just of your pet, but even yours, so you benefit from the added exercise as well.