Why Is Mental Health In Dogs So Important?
As all dog owners will know, dogs are sensitive animals. Even though they may look outgoing and happy compared to other animals such as cats, they’re actually more vulnerable to mental illnesses.
This is why aside from taking care of your dog’s body, it’s also important to protect their mental health.
What Is Canine Mental Health?
A dog’s mental health affects its overall behavior. A happy dog tends to be healthier. This is because they have the energy to eat vigorously and engage in regular exercises. Because of these, they also have a better ability in focusing, making them a lot more trainable.
On the other hand, dogs with mental health issues tend to be lethargic. Instead of eating, they would rather have longer nap times. This leads to higher vulnerability to major illnesses. Depressed dogs also tend to be more unruly and may even bite people around them.
What Are Common Signs Of Mental Health Issues In Dogs?
Dogs are animals of habit. This is why they tend to develop anxiety when something changes around them. Change in the surroundings, caretakers, physical routines, and eating habits can make them anxious.
One of the most common signs of anxiety in dogs is gastrointestinal problems such as indigestion, vomiting, and diarrhea. When left unresolved, they can lead to serious tummy illnesses.
Just like humans, dogs can suffer from depression. When a dog is depressed, they tend to be lethargic. They lose interest in physical activities, and they tend to be withdrawn from the crowd, including their owners.
Physical illnesses can cause major depression in dogs. They tend to be sad because their bodies can’t move around to produce endorphins. This is especially true for dogs who suffer from hips and joints problems. The need to disengage from strenuous games they used to enjoy can really take a toll on their mental health.
Dogs can also acquire obsessive-compulsive behavior. This is characterized by repetitive actions such as continuous pacing, scratching on floors, and even gnawing on their toys. Their obsessive behavior is mostly caused by unresolved anxiety.
The last but the most dangerous of all is aggression. Depressed dogs can be prone to growling, barking, displaying teeth, lunging to people, and biting. Dogs tend to be aggressive when they encounter aggressive behavior, such as getting hit by the owner or getting intimidated by other dogs.
How Can You Prevent Mental Health Problems In Dogs?
The best way to prevent mental illnesses in dogs is to give them time and attention. All dogs yearn for the attention of their owners. Brushing their hairs, scratching their tummies, and playing games with them can really make them elated.
Engaging them in regular exercises is also essential. Physical activities trigger dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin, which are known to be happy hormones. The more active they get, the happier they are!
Supplying your dogs with Vitamins B1, B12, and Iron can also help. These nutrients are known to help the body produce energy, improve brain development, and maintain a healthy nervous system.
Dogs can greatly boost the mental health of their owners. That is one of the reasons keeping your dog happy with the tips provided can be great for you and your dog!
Laura Robinson, DMV
Dr Laura practices at the Antonio Animal Hospital in California, where she was born and raised. She is an advisor to Wuffes, ensuring all our products and content is of the highest standard