CBD Oil For Depression in Dogs: Symptoms, Types and What You Can Do
Depression in dogs and other pet animals are just as real as with humans. A dog’s mental and emotional state can affect its physical well-being and overall health.
If your dog is not as energetic, refuses to eat, sleeps more often and displays unusual behavior such as excessive paw licking, a visit to the vet might be necessary. If the diagnosis is not a physical sickness, it could be a sure sign of depression in dogs.
What is Depression in Dogs?
Canine depression is a common ailment that usually occurs after a dog has experienced a major trauma. When something in their environment or life routine changes, they experience anxieties.
Dogs are happiest when they have consistency and structure in their lives. They feel safe in an environment with all the familiar scents and things they love, including their humans. When certain elements suddenly go missing, they tend to feel depressed.
It is important to note that it doesn’t take any major trauma for a dog to be depressed. It can happen at any time in a dog’s life. Just like humans, even the little things can cause them to feel depressed and emotional. Depression can also be caused by imbalances in their bodies or certain health issues.
Different Causes of Canine Depression
Unfortunately, humans do not have the ability to diagnose dog depression. Dog owners can only try to observe their pet’s behavior and strive to give them balance in their lives. It also helps to identify the possible causes of the dog’s sudden depression in order to come up with the right treatment therapy. Here are some of the possible causes of dog depression to rule out:
- Death of a pack member
- Death of their owner or a human family member
- Sudden move to a different home or environment change
- Trauma from an accident or physical injury
- Scary experience of being beaten or attacked
- Extreme boredom from lack of exercise and activities
- Abandonment by their human caretakers
- Traumatic past
- A new family member or baby in the house
- A new dog or pet in the house
- Changes in the owner’s daily routine (e.g. from stay-at-home to leaving for the office daily)
Dogs usually pick up on their owner’s emotions. If a family member dies, the dog might be emotionally relating to the family’s loss. When a new family member or pet is added to the home, the dog might be getting less attention and feels neglected.
Symptoms of Depression in Dogs
According to Dr. John Ciribassi of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior, the symptoms of depression in dogs is very similar to those experienced by humans. Common behavior includes lethargy, withdrawal and extended sleep.
- Refusal to eat or binge eating
A dog experiencing depression may exhibit appetite changes. It can either be refusal to eat, which causes weight loss. Or it can be the opposite, which is binge eating, as it uses food to feel better. This often results in weight gain.
- Lethargy and loss of interest
A normal, happy dog will consistently be excited about the basic things such as food, toys, owner coming home from work, or going out for walks. A dog with canine depression can lose interest in some or all of these things. Even when taken out for walks, it will move sluggish and devoid of interest.
- Always sleeping
Dogs generally sleep a lot and several times during the day. This behavior is normal. Elderly dogs especially sleep longer and are often less active than they used to be.
But a depressed dog will sleep longer than its usual sleep schedule. This extended sleep hours can also be accompanied by loss of interest even when prompted with food, play or walks. It will just continue to sleep and not even react to the owner arriving home.
- Unusual behavior
Canine depression can sometimes cause a dog to display unusual behavior such as obsessive paw licking or excessive chewing. This can be linked to physiological distress or psychological issues.
- Withdrawal, avoidance and hiding
A dog that feels ill or depressed will usually hide in dark corners of the house where they cannot be disturbed. This is part of their natural instincts.
In the wild, a sick animal will hide in dark areas to avoid predators during their period of weakness. But even if your dog is aware that there is no threat or danger inside the home, their natural instincts to hide will still be predominant in their behavior.
Take note, however, that when a dog displays this behavior inside the house, it is most likely that the reason is a physical illness rather than an emotional one. A visit to the vet will be most prudent.
How to Treat Depression in Dogs
Canine depression can last for just a few days or several months. Fortunately, dogs are self-healers and will usually get past it on their own. But it would be very helpful if owners will take efforts to speed up the dog’s recovery by providing extra love and care.
If the depression might be due to neglect, make efforts to give extra hugs, petting and attention.
- Maintain regular walks and exercise to keep the dog active.
- Give more play time and try to do its favorite activities more often.
- Do not annoy the dog by talking too much or giving excessive praise. Wait for it to warm up and show signs of happiness like tail wagging.
- Consider socialization if it seems like the dog needs a dog companion.
Severe cases of depression in dogs often lead to destructive behavior. The obsessive paw licking for instance can cause injury, while excessive chewing predisposes the dog to do damage inside the house. A depressed dog can also turn suddenly aggressive.
A veterinarian may prescribe medications such as doxepin, amitriptyline or fluoxetin. These are prescription medications for treating dog anxieties, depression, OCD, panic disorders and certain phobias.
The amitriptyline for instance, works by restoring balance of certain hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine.
The problem with such medications is that is comes with certain side effects such as vomiting, dry mouth, hyperactivity and drowsiness.
Other pet owners turn to natural remedies in order to treat their dog’s depression. Some of the most popular ones include CBD oil which is often mixed with the dog’s food, or peppermint and lavender essential oils to provide a calming scent.
How to Prevent Depression in Dogs
Preventing depression in our beloved pets means taking care of their physical and psychological well-being at all times.
Boosting the dog’s diet with powerful superfood will help them cope and bounce back instantly from any physical or emotional changes. Choose a high quality dog food. Balance it by providing other natural sources of food rich in Omega 3, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, selenium, copper, zinc, iodine, iron and potassium. Also include adding basil and turmeric to the dog’s wet food. Giving tasty but natural organic treats with CBD oil will also help keep them active and perky.
How much CBD should I give my dog with depression?
When considering CBD for a depressed dog, the dosage may differ depending on the dog’s size, weight and the potency of the CBD oil.
CBD is an amazing compound that helps regulate serotonin levels, stimulate appetite, improve sleep, and provide a calming effect. There is a variety of products with CBD oil made specifically for dogs.
One can test the reaction of a dog to CBD by first giving natural CBD infused dog treats. The recommended feeding for CBD dog treats are: 1 pc for 10 lbs and under, 2 pcs for 10-25 lbs, 3 pcs for 26-50 lbs, and 4 pcs of treats for dogs 50 lbs and heavier.
For CBD infused coconut oil, the recommended dosage is ¼ tsp per day for dogs 10-20 lbs. Once the dog gets used to it, slowly increase dosage each day until it reaches 1 tsp.
For the potent full spectrum CBD oil, the recommended dosage is half a dropper (4.2 mg) for a dog that is 30 lbs and under. For dogs higher than 30 lbs, a full dropper can be given.