This article by Jennifer was originally published on FOMO Bones.
Depression and anxiety disorders are common illnesses that usually come about as a result of some kind of trauma. Just as humans suffer from depression, dogs do too! With all the horror stories of puppy mills and animal cruelty that flood our newsfeeds on social media every day, more people are opting to rescue a dog that has been abandoned or mistreated in some way. And while many of us absolutely advocate the popular slogan “adopt, don’t shop,” it’s surprising how many pet owners fail to realize that their new rescue pup is going to struggle to regain its trust in humans and that they will likely have abandonment issues, as well as separation anxiety and potential post-traumatic stress disorder.
Can Dogs Get Depressed?
The short answer is unequivocally “yes.” A dog can absolutely experience symptoms of depression that are a result of a traumatic event, a death in the family (be it a human or their canine companion), or even a result of extreme boredom. However, depression in dogs doesn’t have to be related to abandonment or a traumatic past; many dogs that have been raised in loving families can experience depression that often stems from fear.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Dogs?
There are a few telltale signs to look out for if you suspect your pup could be depressed:
- They seem withdrawn
- They have lower energy levels
- They exhibit a lack of interest in activities or things that they normally enjoy
- Their eating habits have changed
- They have difficulty sleeping
Normally, depression related to a specific event like a death in the family can be cured with time and lots of reassurance and attention. In extreme cases, however, withdrawn depressive behavior will persist in your pup and this is when you need to do something about it.
How to Treat Depression in Dogs
It is true that there are certain anti-depressants which have been approved for use in veterinary medicine. If a vet is convinced that your dog is depressed and that he could be at risk of harming himself, they will likely suggest an anti-depressant. However, anti-depressants work differently in dogs. They don’t act as happy pills, but rather take the edge off the anxiety and potentially harmful compulsive behaviors that put your dog at risk of injury. The downside of giving your dog anti-depressants is that many of the commonly used pharmaceuticals are accompanied by negative side effects that could be even more harmful in the long term.
Science is a wonderful thing and as more people are moving away from the use of prescription medications when possible, more natural products are emerging into the market that are not only safe but can potentially be equally as effective as antidepressants!
Introducing CBD Oil to Treat Depression in Dogs
Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand when it comes to dogs, as depression is often manifested through anxious behavior. If left untreated, canine anxiety can lead to destructive behavior, which can be harmful if your pup is acting out by chewing and swallowing household items or obsessively licking his own paws. As with hemp oil, cannabis, medical marijuana, and other CBD products, CBD oil may be an ideal solution to effectively getting your pup’s anxiety under control so he can live a happy life free of depression and suffering.
Here are some of the ways that CBD hemp oil for dogs can effectively eliminate symptoms of anxiety and depression in your canine companion:
- It helps regulate serotonin: Both humans and pets need high levels of serotonin in order to regulate their emotions and feel content, calm, and happy. When serotonin levels are low, your pup may be more prone to anxiety and depression
- CBD has a calming effect: Thanks to its healing therapeutic properties, CBD will have a calming effect on your dog, which may improve his mood and allow him to sleep better
- It stimulates appetite: One of the major signs of depression is a dramatic change in eating habits for both humans and dogs. When a dog is feeling depressed, he is likely to under eat. A few drops of CBD oil each day can help stimulate Fido’s appetite so that he can rediscover his passion for food
- CBD oil aids sleep: A tired dog usually means a grumpy dog. CBD oil can help your dog sleep better and restore his energy levels
Aside from the above benefits of CBD, it also has the following qualities:
- It works quickly
- Based on clinical trials, CBD oil may also treat underlying problems like pain and nausea
- It is 100-percent plant-based and non-toxic oil
- There are no harmful side effects
- It is not addictive, so you won’t have to worry about your pup having withdrawal symptoms
- It is affordable and highly effective
So, when all the above is taken into account, it really isn’t surprising that CBD-based products are the go-to medicines for thousands of dog owners and holistic vets worldwide.
How to Choose the Best CBD Oil for Your Dog
Good quality CBD oil will be an invaluable addition to your medicine cabinet, providing you select the right product. As one of the millions of caring pet parents out there, always make sure that the product you are buying comes from a reputable source and that it is rich in CBD vs. THC. You also want to check that the product you are buying is 100-percent organic and not chemically processed or diluted. Choosing a full spectrum oil is going to increase its efficacy and you want to administer the correct dosage to your pup depending on their weight and size. Understand that you cannot give your pup “too much” oil, but it is always better to start with smaller doses and gradually build them up until you start seeing noticeable results in your dog’s temperament. Finally, be sure that the product you decide to buy has not been extracted using chemicals, as these can be toxic and harmful to your pets.
Author bio: Jennifer is the voice behind the FOMO Bones blog. She’s pretty sure she was a Great Dane in her past life, but her team at FOMO pegs her as more of a Labrador. Regardless of her breed, she’s a dog enthusiast with 15 years’ experience training dogs and owners.