Veterinarians believe that seasonal depression occurs not only in humans but also in pets. Moreover, those animals who have a sufficiently high intelligence will be depressed first of all. So lizards, snails or turtles are almost not threatened, but cats and dogs have reasons to be sad.
Animals also have a brain, neurons, mood, attitude, character and temperament. They can also experience stress, have feelings of sadness and longing. Pets also can fall into a state of apathy and even get depressed.
Depression is a mental disorder associated with decreased mood, lack of vitality and lack of desire for any pleasure. Often this is accompanied by lethargy, lack of appetite, a sharp decrease, or, conversely, an increase in weight, physical inhibition (the animal moves slowly and reluctantly, spends more time lying alone). All these signs do not depend in any way on the breed of the animal; they all manifest themselves in different ways, individually.
The Most Common Reasons for Pets Depression
Change of weather or season
If it is grey and cold outside, or there are cold batteries at home, the pet can switch to “energy-saving” mode: sleep more often, eat more, be less active. Just as humans, they feel the gloom and sadness, especially if the owner is also exposed to such sensations.
Short daylight hours
Many animals begin to feel sad without enough sunlight, just like humans. So being careful with your pet as well as with yourself is essential in winter and autumn.
Change of diet and lack of vitamins
Poisoning, exacerbation of chronic diseases
If you know that your pet has chronic diseases, then you need to monitor its health status especially carefully. Any sign of an old illness, as well as sadness, is the reason to visit the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Reduced walking time
If the owner rarely goes outside and hurries the pet to “do their thing”, it may affect the animal in a wrong way. The pet needs long walks and outdoor games to relieve the energy most dog, and cat breeds have in enormous quantities. Buy new toys and try curing the depression of your pet by playing outdoors. If you have a parrot, for example, let it fly out of the cage more often.
Loneliness as a reason of sadness
Animals always do not tolerate separation from the owner. If you go on vacation or a business trip, stay on duty at work, make sure that the pet is not left alone: it is better to entrust it to friends or relatives, contact the overexposure service, and in extreme cases, rent a hotel room for animals, where the professionals will look after your pet.
Another reason for the pet’s depression
A new house or weakening of immunity after surgery or childbirth can also cause depression.
Tips to Help Your Pet
Walk and play more
Please do not be lazy to spend more time with your pet on the street (especially in the off-season, when it is raining and slush outside, and you do not want to walk for a long time). If your four-legged friend lacks physical activity, this may affect its behaviour significantly. The animal will definitely begin to play with home furniture. Besides, the lack of outdoor games leads to unwanted weight gain, which also can affect health but in another, more serious way.
Even though it is recommended to play with your pet every day, please do not do it in rain or strong wind. If you decide to go for a walk, buy seasonal clothes for your pet. Dogs are susceptible to hypothermia, especially small breeds.
But do not forget that activity is essential not only for dogs but also for cats. All kinds of toys, a laser pointer, a balanced diet with vitamins will help your pet to adapt to the change of season.
Do not leave your pet alone
Never leave your four-legged friend alone on the street, going to the store. This problem is widespread in megacities. Imagine what your pet is thinking about when you leave him alone, while he is surrounded by entirely strange smells, noise, and people. The animal may think you have abandoned it, which may cause stress and lead to depression.
Do not punish a pet by depriving it of walks or reducing attention. This can lead to the fact that it begins to consider itself bad, jealous of other people or animals. Do not deprive your pet of attention: treat it, show concern more often. For most, tactile contact is very important. Surround your pet with love, affection, attention. Then seasonal depression will bypass it.
Protect it against parasites
Often the cause of sadness in dogs is parasites. In spring, ticks – carriers of dangerous viruses – pose an unusual threat. Ask the vet about special preparations before going outside, and even before a regular walk. Do not think that there is no danger in the cold season: fleas and ticks can be at home, so check your pet more often and contact your veterinarian if necessary. Read more reviews about cat flea treatment reviews and advice from Dr. Chyrle Bonk.
Comb while moulting
In spring and fall, many cats moult actively. It seems that hair loss should not affect the animal’s mood. This causes him inconvenience: constant licking makes an animal tired and therefore motionless.
You can help your pet with regular brushing, vitamins for fur and activities, as well as installing a humidifier at home.
See your veterinarian more often
Excessive apathy and unwillingness to communicate may indicate that the animal is in pain. If these symptoms persist for more than a week, see your doctor. At a minimum, he will prescribe vitamins and eliminate the risk of exacerbation of diseases.
Watch what your pet eats
If your pet is not only sad but also feeling unwell, this could be a sign of poisoning. When walking in the forest or park, make sure that your pet does not eat mushrooms, because many of them, even edible ones, are difficult to digest and can cause depression of nervous activity. The animal will be lethargic, inactive. Acorns and chestnuts are also prohibited. In general, they are traumatic for the mucous membranes, and when chewed, they can release substances harmful to animals. This is especially true for the urban environment.
If possible, give your pet a personal corner of the house – a separate home or just a fenced-in place. In case guests come and the four-legged friend wants to rest, he needs a private space where he can hide from intrusive attention.
Rehabilitation after operations
The most challenging off-season is endured by animals that have recently undergone surgery or childbirth. This is due to the weakening of the pet’s body, increased fatigue. In the case of postpartum depression, there is a change in hormonal levels, and most often, it is impossible to do anything without the appointment of specialized medications.
The best-recommended way is to contact a specialist who accurately diagnoses the disease, prescribes treatment, including medication, and will also give all the necessary recommendations for contact with the animal. Some need more attention during this period, while others, on the contrary, should be left alone. All cases are individual and require separate consideration.
One way or another, both people and animals in a difficult psychological state need love and care. Love does not mean that you have to hug and constantly stroke your cat and allow the dog to be in your bed. It is just that our pets, no less than our relatives or friends, feel when we do not pay attention to them, forget to feed them, or instead of the usual hour-long walk in the park with active games, suggest running around the corner of the house for 5 minutes so that the animal can only relieve itself.
Be patient, caring and affectionate, and your pets will feel needed by you and the world, will be filled with life, energy again and will be your best friend until the end of their days.
Do not forget that you are responsible for those you have tamed. Therefore, monitor the condition of pets and watch your actions for not to become a cause of your pet’s depression. And if you have already noticed strange behaviour and depression in your little friend, do not postpone a visit to the doctor.