Alleviate Pet Depression

Is your pet eating less and acting blue? Try treating your furry friend to fresh food, extra walks, or even animal acupressure.

Alleviate Pet Depression
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Pets can get depressed, but depression in animals manifests itself differently than it does in humans. Your pet may exhibit lethargy, loss of appetite, or reclusive behavior—symptoms that look like depression. Fortunately, you can do something about it.

Get your pet tested. If your four-legged friend is showing any of those symptoms, take it to the vet for an examination. Depression in animals can be a sign of other disorders such as arthritis, cancer, or diabetes.

Make dietary changes. Avoid food high in artificial preservatives and additives, which can deplete energy and lead to signs of depression. Feed your animal fresh food, including fish, chicken, beef, and vegetables—all excellent sources of nutrition. Don’t overfeed your pets. Fat cats are at high risk for diabetes, and chubby dogs may experience joint problems. To determine an ideal weight for your animal, go to

Seek alternative therapies. For treating pain in dogs and cats, acupuncture and acupressure work well. You can find a veterinarian who is trained in acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. Visit their website at

Comfort your animal. If someone in the house has died or moved away, try to fill the gaps in your pet’s life. Take it for some extra playtime in the park or a good run in the yard. Stick to the normal routine, feeding and going for walks at the usual time. Keep the litter box in the same place. And shower your furry friend with affection on a regular basis. —Sheila Snodgrass, D.V.M., holistic veterinarian, certified by International Veterinary Acupuncture Society