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Causes of Depression in Your Cat and Dog.


The definition of depression in the medical dictionary is "a lowering or decrease of functional activity". Or in psychiatry, "a mental state of altered mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement; distinguished from grief, which is realistic and proportionate to a personal loss". 

"Profound depression may be an illness itself, such as major depressive disorder or it may be symptomatic of another psychiatric disorder". (1)

Grief is defined as "The mental and physical responses to major loss of whatever kind, especially loss of a loved person. The mental aspects include unhappiness, anguish and pain, guilt, anger and resentment. The physical aspects are caused by overaction of the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system. (2)

Pets can suffer both depression and grief and it's understanding which of these your cat or dog is going through to know how you can help them transition back to a happier state. 

​If your cat or dog live with each other or have other companion animals in the household that sadly pass away, your pet will feel this loss as they are sentient beings. The same will happen when they lose a human companion. It effects them on a deep level, as it does you. This type of passing and any change in your pet's behavior is easy to understand as you know the reason why it's happening. A more difficult situation is when your pet starts to suffer from bouts of depression but you don't seem to have an idea why it started or how to help. 

Animals are actually vibrating at a higher energy frequency than humans and an animal's energy field is generally 10 times greater than a humans. Therefore animals are incredibly intuitive and sensitive to the energies around them. They absorb the energy of their environment, the people around them and their owners energy both outwardly displayed and any underlying energy. With their higher vibrational frequency, animals are extremely important to helping balance the natural energy of the planet.

Simply put, the energy you emit out, is magnetically attaching to them and vice versa. Something as simple as your words will effect their energy. Added to this, they can intuitively pick up on your thoughts. Even if you think it but don't voice the words, your cat and dog can still hear you!!! 

Disturbances within their energy system begin to have an effect on your dog's or cat's whole body. From emotional states to physical issues. Canine and feline wellness is about the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual health of your dog or cat.

Common Signs of Grief in Dogs and Cats 

​The level of grief suffered by your cat or dog will depend on the type of relationship they had with the other companion animal or human. Cats suffer from the sudden change as they find it difficult to adapt to new situations.

  • Loss of appetite
  • Wandering around the house crying, calling out.
  • Change in their behavior
  • Won't interact
  • Disinterested in everything
  • Generally a happy cat or dog becomes very silent and lethargic 
  • Becomes more needy or like your shadow
  • Rapid heart rate, anxious or very nervous behavior
  • Severe restlessness

Common Signs of Depression in Dogs & Cats

Signs of depression in a cat or dog aren't too dissimilar from those displayed by us humans or from the signs of grief.

  • Your cat or dog becomes very withdrawn
  • Their normal habits begin to change such as eating, sleeping and toilet habits. So they can begin defecating in the house, outside of their litter box etc. 
  • Lethargic or become very inactive
  • Over-grooming or stress grooming
  • Excessive licking of paws
  • Has no interest in leaving it's bed or immediate environment. Or overall sleep pattern changes
  • Refusal to walk in a dog
  • Changes in behavior such as ignoring your commands, more aggressive or intolerant
  • Howling or mewling excessively

Common Causes of Depression 

  • ​The pet owner has no time for the pet so a type of abandonment issue sets in leading to depression.

  • The pet owner has very little or negative interaction with the animal. Basically pays very little if any attention to the pet or is constantly chastising the pet. 

  • The cat or dog is never permitted to leave their immediate environment i.e. garden, patio or balcony.

  • Lack of proper combination exercise. Dogs are not given a good balance between short or long walks, running and playing. In cats it's generally a lack of territorial space to explore as well as no space to run and practice their hunting skills.  

  • Lack of engagement/ boredom sets in as nothing to stimulate the animal. The dog or cat may have tried to self stimulate by playing with things around the house or becoming mischievous to grab attention. But if this is meet with constant disapproval the animals begins to withdraw into itself.

  • Not being heard or ignored. For example, mealtimes get forgotten. regular walk times get delayed, no grooming time is set-aside and no real affections is shown.

  • Left for long periods of time without any interaction from humans or the world around them.

  • Not being able to have fun or be included in the home/family life. A feeling of constantly being left behind.

  • Being neglected for their basic needs for example having to defecate indoors or in their immediate living environment. This is extremely stressful for dogs and cats as it goes against all their natural instincts for going outside and away from their core area of sleeping and eating. 

  • Bad food/feeding. Lack of proper nutritional food. Food is just one factor that can either promote complete wellness or create disharmony in the body. Your dog and cat have an ancestral digestive ecosystem. Feeding this ecosystem correctly is imperative for the functioning of your dog's and cat's blood, organs, brain, growth and systems, including the immune system.  The gut has its own intelligence to process digestion as well as generate responses separate from the brain. 95% of the serotonin (the chemical that drives calmness and contentedness) in the body is produced and stored in the gut for communication to the brain. 60% of the serotonin produced in the gut comes directly from the food digested and the bacteria that live in the gut.   Activity in the gut is communicated to the brain via the Vagus nerve and has a direct impact on how the brain deals with emotional regulation and moods. Basically, this means the food you and your pet eat, and the level of good, happy flora in the gut, play a massive role in moods, sensitivities, appetite and overall well-being. Scientist know that gut health has a link to depression, the development of allergies, and even the ability to endure pain.

  • Their energy is depleted due the actions of the owner or the environment. This can be anything from you as the pet parent being sad or depressed so they are absorbing your energy to where they are living in a highly volatile home.

  • Prevented from socializing with other animals or humans. This is where for example owners don't let their dogs socialise with other dog's whlist out or in the case of cats, they are more or less ignored.

  • New pet brought into the household and the existing pet is forgotten about. 

  • Constantly discouraged by the owner so they generally start to give up.

  • They feel they have to be the peace maker in a household between the family but no matter what they do to change the energy of the environment, it remains the same. It becomes too much negative energy for them to absorb and almost toxic to the point they no longer want to engage with the people in the household.

Be mindful that a lot of the above symptoms can play out into aggression or be a symptom of an underlying health issue, especially if you pet is fed a cooked or processed diet. It's important that your know and understand your situation with your pet.

Treatments for Depression

​In our opinion we recommend you try to avoid medicating your pet for something like depression. A lot of the common causes can be changed by their environment or you changing your behavior towards your pet. Given time and patience, depression in cats or dogs is reversible without having to medicate.

Circumstances. The first thing to understand is when the depression began and what circumstance triggered the change in your pet. For example, a change of home, a new baby, you working longer hours, a divorce, new partner, new animal etc. Or has your emotional mood changed? Are you spending less time with your cat or dog, are you no longer engaged in playing with them or showing them affection? Are you depressed?

Diet. One of the biggest changes to behavior in both cats and dogs whether it's treating depression, hyper behavior, aggression etc. is diet. Those animals that have behavioral issues, when they are switched over to a species appropriate diet or raw feeding, the issues seem to disappear.  As with humans, food is fundamental to health. Food can have a huge impact on the mood of your dog or cat as raw feeding allows their organs and brain to receive the proper nutrition for optimum health whereas cooked or processed food is compromising the physical health and well-being of your pet.

Massages and grooming. A great way to start to change the mood of your cat or dog is to set aside 10 minutes each day to begin massaging and grooming your cat or dog. 

Thoughts and words. At the same time as massaging and grooming begin talking to your pet in a positive and gentle manner. Letting them know they are loved, how amazing they are and how grateful you are to have them in your life. Words have power and energy and with your pet having a higher vibrational energy than you, it will pick up on the words your using and absorb them.  A Japanese researcher and healer, Dr. Masaru Emoto, conducted experiments on water molecules. These experiments showed human thoughts and intentions can physically alter the molecular structure of water. Specifically, the water crystals were altered simply through conscious intention. 

Water from bottles labeled with positive messages had intricate structures and diamond-like reflectiveness when frozen and magnified. Water labeled with negative words had collapsed structures with yellow edges when frozen. Your thoughts and words have the power to change the energy of living things around them.

Exercise. This is super important to begin encouraging your pet to change it's mood. For both humans and pets alike exercise is fundamental in changing brain waves. Like us they need vitamin D which is a mood enhancer. We've all experienced the effect of gloomy days on moods, the same applies to our pets. Even if your dog or cat refuses to do anything but sit outside for a bit in the sunshine, then encourage this. Gradually build up the amount of time outside by engaging in a little play, giving them a mini treat etc. to help improve and encourage them to get out. 

Buy a Toy or Engage in Play. Something as simple as allowing your dog to play for a few seconds with a sock or squeaky toy, helps move them away from their funk. With cats try just popping your fingers under the blanket they lay on, wiggle it about and get their eyes to begin to follow the line. This simple exercise begins a stimulation of hormones in the brain to help elevate their mental status.

Reduce Stress in the home environment. This has one of the biggest impacts on behavioral changes in pets. This can be anything from a change in the interaction between humans, new family members moving in, and introduction of a new pet to having your house or department remodeled. Try to set aside a calm space for them where they can relax and feel at ease without feeling they always need to relax with one eye open. Simple things like using a humidifier with essential oils that reduce stress and depression can go a long way to healing your pet. Check out or essential oil guide here for oils you can with both cats and dogs for stress and depression.

Mental StimulationA get mental stimulation exercise is, treats hidden around the house for your dog to play "search". This exercise is super simple to accomplish just by hiding treats at different heights and different locations. Keep it simple to start with as the reward for your dog is the treat but as time passes you can find harder hiding places. For cats, creat a homemade mini fishing pole with a stick and a piece of string on the end, that you can tie around a treat. Let them chase this for a little while before allowing them to win.

Work with your pet's chakras. This may seem strange for those pet parents that don't believe in chakra energy but it can have a profound impact on your pet especially considering they boast more chakra points than humans. Understanding the cause of the depression and working to balance the chakra that is linked to the cause allows your pet to being to bounce back. Being highly susceptible to energy, working with your pet's chakras to get them to open, flowing and in harmony, can go a long way towards helping your pet recover from physical traumas and emotional ones, as they work on a basic instinctive level. Click here to learn which crystals work with which chakra.

Music. Music therapy has had some profound and amazing results on humans with mental health issues. Specially the use of classical music such as Mozarts and Beethovan as their symphonys reach the higher brain waves that impact positive energy.  Even putting a nature sound video on for your pet helps improve their overall emotional well-being as the nature sounds help de-stress and ground them.

Acupuncture. This is incredibly effective for many different ailments and depression being one of the them. Your pets instinctively knows how to work with the energy of acupuncture more so than humans. Acupuncture stimulates healing and If properly applied, it may eliminate the need for medications for long term depression in your pet. 

​Depression can be turned around in your pet without any side effects if you give your pet the time, patience and basic help it needs in changing it's emotional well-being. 

Look at what's happening in and around your life to find the root cause. Most cases of depression in a cat or dog if it's not grief or health related, are a consequence of an owner's actions. 

Don't forget their emotional vibrational frequency is much higher than ours so they are effectively energy sponges absorbing both the good and bad energy around them.  Something as simple as you not being happy at work can influence the energy your pet absorbs so be mindful to balance out any negative energy with more positive energy to prevent both your and your pet reaching the point of depression.  

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Natural lifestyle, naturally health, naturally thriving!!
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Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website and articles are based on the opinions of the people at Authentica. The information contained within is not intended to replace that of your qualified vets or intended as medical advice. We are sharing knowledge and information but in no way should this pertain you from seeking proper professional medical/veterinary advice. We encourage you to do your own research and make your own decisions on your pet's health in conjunction with your vet. Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy of information. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors. Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements and those of your pet. If you become aware of any material on the website that you believe infringes your or any other person's copyright, please report this by email to info@authenticapets.com so we can immediately rectify the issue.


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