Many of us may think that feelings are a purely human characteristic. But you’d be wrong in assuming so as your pet has plenty of them too. In fact, according to Dr. Rachel Barrack of NYC’s Animal Acupuncture explained: “animals experience a full range of emotions, ranging from happiness to sadness, and even depression.”
So, believe it or not, your pet has the ability to feel a whole spectrum of emotions, and this includes misery. The only difference is, an animal can’t verbally communicate when something is wrong. This means it’s on you to keep an eye out. If you are worried about how your pet is feeling, here are some telltale signs your cat or dog might be suffering from pet depression.
1. They’re Not Eating
When vacationing, your dog may be feeling down in the dumps in the strange environment, particularly if you notice their absence during dinner. Just as us humans do, dogs will exhibit decreased appetites when they are preoccupied with their own stress and anxiety.
2. They’re Biting
If your once cuddly cat or dog is now nipping at you whenever you try to pet them, do not take it personally. This is just your furry friend’s way of letting you know that they aren’t feeling like themselves. In one Spanish study, it was analyzed that ‘aggressive’ dogs, compared to nonaggressive canines all had lower levels of the hormone serotonin, which is linked to depression and anxiety.
3. They’re Sleeping Less (or More)
When a pet becomes depressed you’ll likely notice their sleeping habits can change. Insomnia and excess sleep can be signs of a miserable dog or cat, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the vet should your pet exhibit a shift in their sleeping patterns.
4. They’re Hiding From You
If you notice your dog or cat is nowhere to be found for the better part of the day, and you know that this is unusual for them, then it is time to consider that they are likely hiding from you because they are sad.
5. They’re Licking Their Paws
While most people are not aware, excessive licking or chewing can be a way of self-soothing. So if you notice this sign, call your vet and schedule a check-up.
6. They’re Destroying Furniture
Puppies and kittens destroy shoes and sofas, but adult dogs and cats don’t tend to rough up the furniture unless they are acting out. Cats, in particular, like to break out their claws when they feel lonely or downcast. But, instead of getting angry at your feline friend, be sympathetic to their feelings and seek treatment.
7. They’re Ignoring Commands
If your usually good boy is suddenly refusing to sit, stay, or go out for a walk then it is possible that their depression is manifesting as disobedience. Dogs are especially susceptible to environmental and habitual changes and this is one of the many ways that their anxiety and agitation can present itself.
8. They’re Increasingly Vocal
Every cat or dog is going to bark or meow from time to time but excessive amounts of vocalization are a cause for concern as they could indicate that your pet is sad and stressed.
9. They’re Suddenly Needy
If you notice any changes in your dog’s normal behavior this can indicate a problem. A shift in behavior can be your dog’s way of letting you know that he or she is feeling depressed, so never ignore a sudden bout of clinginess.
10. They’re Lethargic
Just like humans, depression manifests similarly in cats and dogs. You will likely notice that your miserable pet is increasingly lethargic and unusually uninterested in the physical activities that once excited them.
11. They’re Grooming in Excess
While dogs need baths and haircuts, cats usually groom themselves to keep their coats healthy. But if you notice that your feline is suddenly grooming itself constantly to the extent that it is developing bald spots it may be because they are unhappy or anxious about something.