People aren’t the only ones who can get depressed. Pets can, too–especially if they’ve lost a human or animal companion or experienced a change in environment. So how do you know if your four-legged friend is feeling down? Put the following nine signs on your radar and talk to your vet if you notice any of them. Much like with humans, there are numerous options for treating depression in pets, and the sooner you recognize the signs, the sooner your pet can start getting treatment.
Eating and Drinking Less
Appetite changes are always a telltale sign something is wrong with your pet, and in some cases, depression could be to blame. “Often a depressed pet doesn’t want to eat as much, or may not eat at all,” says Nina Nardi, D.V.M., chief of staff at Banfield Pet Hospital in Canoga Park, Calif., adding that your pet may even stop drinking, all of which could affect its health. In some rare cases, though, depression may trigger a pet to overeat.
Chewing and Destroying Things
If your pet starts chewing, ripping, and destroying things in your house out of the blue, consider depression as a possible culprit. “When pets are depressed, they take on behaviors like this as if they’re bored,” Nardi says. “The boredom factor often plays a large role, but it could also be a cry for help.”
Going to the Bathroom in the House or Outside of the Litterbox
People often think that when pets urinate or defecate outside designated areas, they’re mad or angry. While that can be the case, they may also be sad. “They may be so down that they don’t have the desire to get up to go outside or move to their litterbox,” Nardi says.