Yes, your pet can get depressed, too. Veterinarian Dr. Rachel Barrack says animals experience a full range of emotions, from happiness to sadness and even depression. So, here are some of the telltale signs your cat or dog might be suffering from pet depression… and a lot of them are similar to the human symptoms of depression. For example:
Not eating. If you take your dog on vacation and they don’t want their dinner, they might be depressed in the strange environment. Just like humans, dogs will exhibit decreased appetites when they’re stressed and anxious.
Another symptom of depression is biting. In fact, one study in the Journal Of Veterinary Behavior closely analyzed aggressive dogs and found that they all had lower levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, which is linked to depression and anxiety.
Also, just like humans, a depressed pet may have a change in their sleeping habits. Dr. John Ciribassi is the former president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. He said both insomnia and excess sleep can be signs of a depressed dog or cat, so don’t hesitate to make an appointment with the vet if your pet’s sleeping patterns change.
And according to Dr. Ciribassi, another telltale sign of depression in pets is when they don’t participate in the things they once enjoyed - like playing or going for walks. And this is even more likely to be a sign that your animal is depressed if you recently moved or someone in the family passed away.
One more sign of depression in pets: Excessive licking, chewing or pacing can be ways of self-soothing.
If you notice any of these signs, call your vet and schedule a check-up so your pet can get back to being their happy self.