It seems strange to think that dogs could become depressed. But I do believe that any animal can become depressed for a variety of causes. Let’s examine why and a few of the most important causes and then treating depressed dogs is simple.
Domestic dogs are very close to their wild cousins. They have all their instincts in tact and can, for the most part, survive well (except for some physically challenged breeds) if abandoned in areas with abundant natural food. Their hunting and herding instincts don’t take long to come to the surface.
This means, that any stress we impose on our dogs come from a deviation away from this instinctive way.
The most common stress most dogs suffer is the lack of a pack. Having only one dog is fine, as long as there is someone at home all day with them, creating a pack, if somewhat small. Keeping a single dog alone all day is passive cruelty and frequently leads to depression.
Confining a lone dog outside, apart from the family is as bad, unless the family spends most of their time outside, too.
Wild dogs hunt regularly. Not all hunts are successful. This means, wild dogs get plenty of exercise. Sadly, few domestic dogs get enough exercise, or enough free exercise. This can lead to depression. They are bored, lonely and without the one factor in their lives that can alleviate stress – exercise. Wouldn’t you be depressed?
Humans expect the dog to learn human ways of living. Instead, it should be humans that learn the canine way of living. Humans need to understand how a canine pack works, since we have asked them into our lives. The most important aspect of this is in understanding the hierarchy of the pack. This means learning the values, as well as the behaviour, of a pack leader, the alpha dog. Humans almost always get this wrong.
Another important factor in depression is a lack of nutrition. Nutrition deficiency leads to dermatitis, diarrhoea, depression, then dementia and death. Of course it also leads to many other factors too.
Dr Andrew Saul estimates that 90% of people with depression can be drastically improved, if not successfully treated, with the right nutrition. So too in dogs.
The vast majority of commercial dog food is nutrient deficient. Commercial dog food manufacturers are not interested in the health of your dog. They are interested in the profit of their company. The more they can sell their product for, and the cheaper they can buy in their basic ingredients, the more profit they make.
Are you making your dog depressed? Look for the cause, instead of opting for the veterinary solution of anti-depressants. Anti-depressants are expensive, toxic and contribute to further nutrient loss, compounding a bad situation. Treating depressed dogs naturally is more likely to give you permanent as well as cost effective results.