“Down in the dumps” is a phrase humans often use when depressed or unhappy. This was a commonplace expression used frequently in plays and manuscripts from the 16th century on. Shakespeare used the term several times, for example, in The Taming of the Shrew. No one really knows if dogs suffer from clinical depression similar to humans but we know that they experience mood and behavior changes. Since dogs can’t talk to us, we must rely on observation to determine if a canine is feeling “down in the dumps.”
Changes in behavior symptomatic of depression, including lack of appetite, having accidents in the house, sleeping more than usual, reluctance to exercise, and sudden aggressive behavior in a usually mild mannered dog should be evaluated by a veterinarian. If the dog gets a clean bill of health, perhaps the problem is depression.
Dogs are social animals and many are left alone long hours without access to human contact, access to bathroom facilities, or an outlet for their energy. If the time you are able to spend with your dog doesn’t seem adequate, consider asking a friend to stop by while you are gone, or consider doggie day care, or hiring a dog walker.
- Pets do best when their daily routine is consistent. Try to keep exercise, walks, playtime, bedtime, and other regular activities on as regular a schedule as possible.
- Be careful to not reward his depression. Giving extra attention to a dog who is displaying an undesirable behavior can reinforce the behavior.
- Give it time…..your dog’s depression may take a few days or even weeks to blow over, but usually most bets return to their normal selves.
- Keep your dog’s mealtimes and diet the same. It is important to give him the same food he’s used to, at the same time each day, but you might consider making him some homemade treats. Here are a couple recipes that will be appreciated by any dog, whether ‘down in the dumps” or not!!
PEANUT BUTTER-PUMPKIN TREATS
- 2 ½ cups flour (preferably whole wheat)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup canned pumpkin (NOT pie mix)
- 2 Tablespoons peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
- Mix together.
- Add enough water to make the dough workable, but stiff.
- Roll into balls.
- Flatten with a glass or the palm of your hand.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. For harder treats, bake for 40 minutes.
MICROWAVE BOW WOW BONES
- 2 cups flour
- ½ cup beef or chicken broth
- 1 egg
- 1 Tablespoon bacon bits or grated cheese (or both
- Grease a microwave safe dish (and grease your hands!)
- Mix the ingredients and knead with your greased hands (add a bit more broth if needed)
- Roll into small rolls…like mini tootsie rolls
- Place in a dish and microwave for about 4-5 minutes or until hard (microwaves differ, so check the bones a couple times)