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Question
Posted by: tessy | 2004/12/20

can animals get depressed?

well i have a maltese poodle, pavement special and a labrador. we got the maltese and pavement special about 1yr ago. about 2 years ago, we had another border collie and 2 maltese poodles. the collie and 1 of the maltese were poisened and died. the lab didnt touch the poison and the other maltese was sick but recovered. the lab was sad because she really loved these animals. then halfway through the year we got the pavement special and the other maltese. she got jealous and i think a bit upset because she has always had to stay outside(because of her shedding and odour) and they stayed in. then her other friend(maltese) ran away from home. so i think she is really sad, she is also overweight, i think has arthritis, and doesnt play very often. can she be depressed? can we help? she is about 9 yrs old. we love her very much. thanx

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Tessy
Yes, dogs can be depressed. However I think you need to sort out the physical problems first, as this would definitely affect the way your Labrador behaves. Treat her for arthritis or pain - ask your vet to assess this and recommend something. You can get her lite or senior dog pellets and then make sure you give her the right amount for her weight - minus a little as you want her to lose weight. Don't add anything to her pellets, unless it is non-fattening (e.g. grated apple or carrot, boiled vegies). Take her for daily walks in the early morning or evening when it's not too hot, starting with 10 minutes a day and working up to half an hour or longer. Try to get her to play or run around a bit every day - e.g. throw a toy for her to fetch. Be careful that you don't overdo this if she is overweight and has arthritis, as she may damage ligaments or bones. I suggest that she be allowed inside. To solve the odour and shedding problem you can sprinkle her with bicarb and give her a good brush every second day or so. I'm sure her mood will improve considerably if you do these few things.
Karen Gray-Kilfoil
ANIMAL BEHAVIOURIST

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: Pi | 2004/12/21

Tessy,

Chill is right. She feels excluded from the family. She is not part of the "pack". You as the pack leader need to take charge of her wellbeing, take her for walks, sort out the arthiritis, buy her a special teddybear. There's a lot of products available for arthiritis from your vet that will make her life easier. You will see an immediate change if you give her more attention.

All dogs with longish hair need special and constant grooming. Like Chill said, find out why she smells. Take her to a parlour for grooming regularly if you can't do it yourself. I for one, do not keep dogs with long hair because I don't like the smell, so I stick to short hair dogs. The shedding will be less if she gets groomed more often, but in general dogs shed hair constantly. I brush my short hair dogs regularly as well.

Hope it helps and I really beg of you to give this little animal special attention, she will reward you with lots of unconditional love. She depends on you!

Reply to Pi
Posted by: Chill | 2004/12/21

Wouldn't you be sad and upset if you were excluded from your family because of shedding and odour? Those things are not her fault, and I'm quite sure you could do something about them. Have her groomed properly, or do it yourself. Find out why she smells and address that problem - is it her breath? her skin? is she not clean? And lastly, take some steps to get her weight under control. She can't do any of these things by herself. Take care of her and let her be part of the family and I am certain she will stop moping.

Reply to Chill

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