Did you know that dogs get depressed? In fact, vets sometimes prescribe mood-altering pills like Prozac to pooches. But before you do something that drastic, here are 5 ways to perk up your pet from the Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine.
- Start by cheering yourself up first! Remember, dogs are social animals. So, if you’re glum, they’re gonna be glum, too, because they reflect your mood. And even if you don’t feel happy, fake it! Studies show that forcing yourself to smile and talk in a happy voice tricks your brain into believing you’re happy. And your dog reads your mood by the sound of your voice and the smile on your – just like you read his by his wagging tail.
- Let Fido play with his food. Experts say one of the biggest reasons for doggy depression is boredom. So, next time you leave them at home, make sure they have toys to engage their mind – like a “treat ball”. Basically, a rubber ball with holes in that you pack with kibble. And the bits drop out piece by piece while they’re playing with it.
- Another way to boost your mutt’s mood: change your tune. Studies show that cows produce more milk when they listen to country music. Because it helps them stay happy and relaxed. So, try some tunes. We’ve also listed a bunch of “music for dogs” CDs at Tesh .com. You can also try this: Record a tape of your voice or common household noise, and play it when you’re not around. Because hearing familiar sounds is comforting.
- Use soothing smells. Certain aromas have an uplifting effect on dogs and humans. So, what’s the best? Vanilla! But instead of using vanilla air freshener – which can be toxic - sprinkle a few drops of vanilla extract on Fifi’s favorite chew toys. And let her chew herself calm.
- Finally, let your pooch loose! Dogs don’t like to be in the house constantly, or only go for walks on concrete. So, once a week, let Rover run free in an off-leash park or a meadow. The exercise will help them stay fit. It’ll also produce the same feel-good brain chemicals that come with exercise, like endorphins and serotonin.