Living with a mental illness may be a solitary experience. Fortunately, discussing mental health has grown more socially acceptable, and better treatment choices are now accessible. However, although the stigma associated with mental illness has diminished, mental health disorders remain pervasive. Have you ever asked yourself, “Can dogs have mental disorders?” You may be shocked by the outcome.
Emory University researchers discovered that the parts of the dog’s brain responsible for emotions are comparable to ours, which indicates that dogs may suffer from anxiety, sadness, and OCD. Because our dogs cannot communicate when they are sad, our responsibility is to be aware of the signals. If your dog has a mental health problem, we’ll tell you how to spot the signs, how to aid your canine friend, and when to call a veterinarian.
Dogs experience anxiety regularly; however, the symptoms might vary. As a starting point, we’ll take a look at some of the most prevalent canine anxieties.
Separation anxiety is a form of anxiety that is common in dogs. According to Lords & Labradors, the term ‘dog separation anxiety’ is searched 8,100 times a month on average- suggesting it is the canine mental health issue we are most concerned about as a nation. Many dogs like spending time with their humans, but separation anxiety is more severe than wailing when you leave. Excessive barking, peeing and defecating within the house, and chewing furniture are frequent behaviours in dogs afraid of being alone at home.
In dogs, maturity level anxiety may be linked to cognitive dysfunction syndrome, affecting memory, perception, and consciousness. There are parallels between the deterioration and Alzheimer’s disease for people who can comprehend what’s going on. The situation for dogs is much more perplexing since they don’t know what to anticipate or why it’s taking place. Destructive activities such as breaking into a home or being aggressive are typical.
Fear-related anxiety affects certain dogs, causing them to respond nervously to loud stimuli like fireworks. Anxiety-related behaviours like increased barking, hiding, drooling, and shaking are frequent in dogs afraid of loud sounds.
If you’ve just relocated or lost a family member, your dog may want to spend less time playing. He may also get drowsy, have a change in appetite, or display behavioural changes. In times of sadness, dogs and humans alike tend to withdraw and spend long periods sleeping and hiding from others.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a complicated illness confused with anxiety or despair. Simply put, OCD in dogs is a strange concentration on certain items. Your dog may dig in the same place, chew his food dish, pace excessively, lick themselves (frequently resulting in acral lick dermatitis), or chase his tail continuously.
Diagnosis of your pet is dangerous since they can’t tell us how they feel. Urinating in the house might be a sign of despair, but it could also be a urinary tract infection in your dog. If your puppy exhibits unusual behaviour, you should visit a veterinarian to establish the source of the issue. Take notice of the following signs:
- Negative behaviour
- Barking incessantly
- Vomiting or diarrhoea
- Grooming is extreme.
- Attempts to flee from the house or yard
- Loss of weight
- Appetite loss
- Water refusal
- Unexpected behavioural shifts
- Aversion to social contact
- Tail chasing is excessive.
- Grooming too much
- Unusual and recurring behaviour
- Aversion to social contact
It’s best to leave the diagnosis of your dog’s symptoms to your veterinarian since many of these symptoms might be linked to various mental health issues. They may rule out physical reasons for your dog’s illness and treatment choices recommended that can get your dog back on track to good health.