Is My Pet Sad?

Anti-depressants for dogs? Animal psychiatry? Pet counselling? How do we tell for sure that our pets are sad? Some dogs, like the Bull Dog, are sad-faced, but are they really sad?
By Pets Team
Published on Thursday, 28 October 2010

Anti-depressants for dogs? Animal psychiatry? Pet counselling? How do we tell for sure that our pets are sad? Some dogs, like the Bull Dog, are sad-faced, but are they really sad?

Veterinarian Dr Heather Oxford cites that the language barrier between humans and pets make it difficult for them to point out any maladies they may be feeling. This is why vets take extra pains to ensure that our pets are not suffering from any illnesses that are endocrine, internal, neurologic or orthopedic in origin. According to Dr Oxford “a lot of medical causes of depression can be treated, avoiding the unnecessary use of prescription antidepressants.”

While vets cannot say much about how a pet is feeling, the owners sure can. Healthy pet-owner relationships should enable owners to read their pets behaviours and tell when they are happy or sad. Granted, all biological and physiological causes should be eliminated before concluding that one’s pet is depressed. However, pet owners who have grown accustomed to their pet’s various behaviours should be able to spot a significant difference in their pet’s happiness levels.

Spending time with your pet can help you pick up on cues that show how your pet is feeling. It could be the simple wagging of its tail or rolling on its back to show that its happy. Likewise, the lack of these behaviours may mean that it’s unhappy. However, displays of happiness or sadness will inadvertently be specific to each dog and should not be generalised across the board. If and when you find a drastic change in your pet’s behaviour or appetite, quickly consult your vet.

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