Do Animals Get Depressed?


Mammals have the same brain wiring as that of humans. Experts say that animals are like humans who can feel. They can be sad, happy and mad as well. But some coincidences reveal that animals die because of depression.  Emotions and behavior of animals can change just like us, and it will depend on how they feel. If they are protective of their family, like humans, they too can feel like us.

The Question: Do Animals Get Depressed?

Humans feel depressed because they have feelings of guilt, thoughts of death, unsolved life problems and more. In this case, we know that humans suffer from depression because of behavioral changes. We cry and get angry. When that happens, we let it out. We shout, and we fight. But animals can’t communicate with words that is why we can’t say if they feel depressed. Marc Bekoff Ph.D. says that “This is one of the hottest areas of research because of the ways in which countless animals are used and abused in a wide range of human venues.”

What Signs May Indicate That Animals Are Depressed?

We can’t precisely say that an animal is suffering from depression, they cannot tell humans that they feel something wrong. But how can we know if they are depressing? There are different signs and symptoms that we can use to measure if the animals are overly dismal, and here are the signs:

Losing interest in food or overeating it is the most common sign to see, animals love to eat, but there are changes in how they eat then maybe they are feeling something terrible.

If the animal suddenly loses interest in doing pleasurable activities. For instance, your dog loves to have a walk, then suddenly he refused. If your cat uses to greet you as you went inside the house, then one day it is nowhere to be found, then that is a sign that something is wrong. This is also called anhedonia.

It can also be a sign if the animal changes their sleeping patterns, their sleeping time is longer than usual that they almost sleep all day long.

Animals that show unusual obsessive behaviors like, the dog is biting and licking its feet excessively, the cat is scratching its body too much that causes bald spot are signs that maybe they are depressed.

An obvious symptom is when an animal is aggressive; they suddenly feel mad or angry that you cannot control them. It can also be identifying how they interact with other animals.

Meanwhile, Barbara J. King believes that animals experience grief. “Grief can be said to occur when a survivor animal acts in ways that are visibly distressed or altered from the usual routine, in the aftermath of a death of a companion animal who had mattered emotionally to him or her.”


Some Animals Display Depression

Signs of animal depression can be seen on how they act and behave; it can be observing in most of the animals. Dogs also have an impressive eye that you can tell if something is wrong, the tails of any animals’ can also be observed if the animal is depressed or not. Emotional behaviors can quickly identify if we look at the expression or face of the animal, primates are similar to a human that their facial expressions can define emotions. If they are sad, they will frown, and they also had an expressive eye that can let you identify how they feel easily.

How Can One Study A Depressed Animal?

It is easier to identify animals’ behavior if they are well monitored in a restricted area, changes in there can be easy to identify and observe. But captivity of animal can also lead to depression because they are far away from their natural environment. It is hard to study animals in the free area because there are no data available and it is different from a laboratory setting.

How Can Animals Deal With Their Depression?

No one can tell, maybe their chances in living in the wild are at stake, they are easily the victims of a predator because they are vulnerable. Their natural environment is vast, and we cannot fully observe and monitor how they feel.

How About Domestic Animals?

Domestic animals like dogs or cats can have behavioral disorders. They are most likely to experience depression, the cause of stress. Like, when it is the new year, the fireworks sound makes them stress that if not treated may lead to depression if the owner leaves the dog the feeling of separation may affect their feelings as well. It may lead to scratching and biting themselves. “Dogs and cats can become listless and depressed when left alone for long periods, either for an extended vacation, or as a daily owner going to work,” Jessica Pierce Ph.D. wrote.


How Can I Help A Depressed Animal?

Like humans, animals that are suffering from depression must also be treated or be guided. Here are some of the ways that we can do to help this animal. If you identify behavioral changes in the animal, observe them further and then you can ask help or advice from a veterinarian, they can offer treatment for your animal that is depressed.

Like humans, love and care from their loved ones is a relief. Animals need it as well, cuddling them, giving more attention, scratch their heads can help. Have more time with them; you can go for a walk, play with them. Grooming your animals can also help to ease their bad feelings.

Animals can be lonely so to prevent that, you can leave a radio or television on so they won’t feel neglected or alone. Antidepressant medications are given by veterinarians to a depressed animal. Remember, animals have emotions and feelings as well, don’t neglect them and show them your love and care to avoid depression.

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