Everything You Need To Know About Your Dog's Mental Health

Like how to help if she's feeling down 💕

Does your dog get anxious or stressed out?

Maybe you’ve even wondered if she has depression or an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Whether she’s only nervous during a scary thunderstorm, or she freaks out every time you leave the house, you can help your dog feel better by making sure her mental health is in top shape.

Here's what you need to know to navigate the world of mental health disorders in dogs so that you can learn the tools to help your pup feel better.

Can dogs have anxiety?

Yes, dogs can experience anxiety similarly to how humans do.

Some dogs can experience mild forms of stress and anxiety, while others can actually have an anxiety disorder that needs to be diagnosed and treated by a professional.

The most common events that can cause anxiety in dogs include:

If you have a feeling that your dog has general anxiety, it’s important to know what to look out for.

The most common signs of anxiety in dogs include:

  • Folding back ears
  • Colitis (or frequent diarrhea)
  • Tucking of the tail
  • Attempting to escape
  • Freezing

Can dogs get depressed?

If your typically energetic pup has suddenly become withdrawn and sleepy, you might be wondering if dogs can get depression.

Dogs can experience symptoms of depression that are similar to humans’, and these typically stem from changes in her environment, like moving to a new house or her furry brother passing away.

Some of the most common signs of depression in dogs include:

  • Appearing sad and withdrawn
  • A sudden loss of energy
  • A lack of appetite

Can dogs have OCD?

Have you ever wondered if dogs can get OCD (aka canine compulsive disorder)?

Turns out, dogs with OCD can have very similar behaviors to humans with OCD.

The most common signs that your dog has canine compulsive disorder can include repetitive performances of specific behaviors, such as:

  • Tail chasing
  • Licking
  • Spinning

Can dogs have separation anxiety?

Dogs can definitely experience separation anxiety, and it’s actually one of the most common forms of anxiety in dogs.

Not all dogs with separation anxiety express the same behaviors, but some of the most common signs of separation anxiety in dogs include:

  • Barking
  • Howling
  • Causing destruction

While you can help your dog with separation anxiety in many of the same ways you can help a dog with other types of anxiety, you might also want to consider getting a special dog crate for separation anxiety. These crates are made to withstand dogs who might try to chew through them or attempt to escape them when left alone.

You can try the Revol Dog Crate from Diggs for $245+

Can dogs have panic attacks?

Dogs can experience panic attacks, which are known as canine panic disorder in veterinary medicine.

Panic attacks can look different in every dog, but some of the most common signs your dog is experiencing a panic attack include:

  • Trembling
  • Attempting to escape
  • Freezing

In most cases, a dog’s panic attack is due to a trigger that caused her stress in the past.

Some of the most common triggers for panic attacks in dogs include:

  • Driving in a car
  • Loud noises (like cars, motorcycles or shouting)
  • Being in an enclosed space (like a kennel or a small room)

How to help a dog with a mental illness

While they’re different diagnoses, dog anxiety, panic, depression and OCD can all be treated in very similar ways.

CBD supplements

Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a compound found in cannabis and hemp and is believed to help treat a number of conditions in dogs, including pain and anxiety.

CBD products come in a variety of forms, including oils, chews and sprays.

Try Prospect Farms CBD Calming Drops from Prospect Farms for $35+
Try ElleVet Sciences CBD Chews from ElleVet Sciences for $79.95+

An anxiety vest

Dog anxiety vests are amazing tools to help ease anxious pups. Anxiety vests work by hugging your dog in all the right places and applying gentle, constant pressure to alleviate anxiety, fear or overexcitement.

You can try the ThunderShirt from Amazon for $33.53

A calming dog bed

Calming dog beds are made to mimic the feeling of warmth and security that a puppy feels when she’s snuggling up to her littermates. These beds will wrap your anxiety-ridden pup in the best hug ever.

You can try the Best Friends by Sheri Donut Bed from Amazon for $25.46+

Calming treats

Many calming treats for dogs include L-tryptophan and theanine that work by increasing hormones such as serotonin and dopamine (aka those feel-good hormones).

You can try VetriScience Calming Supplements from Amazon for $18

A calming collar

Another calming product you can try is a calming collar. The best part about these is that once you put them on your pup, they last for a solid 30 days. You don’t even have to think about it again!

Try the Adaptil Calming Collar from Amazon for $13.95

Prescription medication

Antidepressants for dogs are often used to help treat anxiety and behavioral issues. The most common conditions a vet would prescribe antidepressants for include separation anxiety, OCD, generalized anxiety and different kinds of aggression.

While you never want to see your dog suffer from a mental disorder, it’s better to know what to look out for — and how to help — in order to give your dog the best life possible.

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