Pets can get down if your schedule changes at work or you start working after staying home. Some pets even suffer when their family goes on vacation. Your dog may get the blues when the kids go back to school or leave home.
Depressed dogs exhibit symptoms like: loss of appetite, lying around, loss of interest in activities, and changes in their sleep.
Cats become very dependent on their owners and get very upset when their schedules change. Most cats thrive on predictability and change can be emotionally stressful.
Cats that are emotionally depressed tend to mew more often and seem to be worried.
Sometimes they become slothful when their caretaker is gone, or the opposite, hyper.
How do you help your depressed pet?
Exercise is the best medicine for a depressed pet – yes, even the cat. A change of environment can distract your pet at least, for a while. Pets pick up on your emotional state so if you are depressed about your child leaving then the dog or cat is too.
Have someone else in the family walk the dog, engage in play, or spend time brushing it. This will help the dog adjust to the loss of his playmate. If the person going will leave behind an old sock or other worn piece of clothing your dog will feel more relaxed having their scent nearby. My dog spends his day on my son’s bed.
When left alone for the first time do not be surprised if your dog exhibits behaviors never before seen such as: destructiveness, relapse in potty training, and loss of appetite. When you return give your pet your full attention for the first few minutes and if at possible, walk your dog. Installing a doggy door can help with the potty problems otherwise you may have to crate your pet. You can practice coming and going with your dog so that he learns that you will return. Also make sure you leave several chew toys (preferably the kind with treats in them) for your dog to chew this may help curb his destructiveness. In the end if these tactics fail you may have to engage a pet behaviorist.
These steps will usually work with your cat. Try and emulate the routine of the person who has left. Do your best to stick to the cat’s normal schedule for feeding, playing, and sleeping. Let the cat sleep with someone else if the cat slept with the person who has left. When you have a new schedule things are often forgotten. Do not forget to change the litter box on a regular basis so that your cat will not be tempted to mess in the house.
Remember, pets are social animals and very conscious of their surroundings. Be aware of the signals that your pet may be depressed and give them the attention they need to recover.