Dog Depression: Is Exercise The Best Medicine?

a cure for dog depression

If you’ve ever thought your dog was depressed, you could be right. Both dog depression and canine anxiety do exist.

And it could be caused by a number of thing.

Today I want to share with you what I use to manage depression for dogs.

I would never consider using an antidepressant drug for myself or my dogs. Instead I have a way to manage it without side effects, unless you consider happiness and contentment a bad thing.

Before we get to managing the depression, let’s talk about the causes of it.

3 Causes of Depression In Dogs

The three main culprits that could send your dog into a tailspin (I guess nose dive would be more appropriate) are:

  • the loss of a family member
  • boredom
  • lack of purpose

#1 Grief

Grieving depressed dog

Dogs grieve just like we do.

Two of my dogs were especially close. Even as pups they tried to stay in the same kennel if I had to leave. They nurtured each other for eight years.

When my Lily died, her best buddy spent two weeks lying on my feet. It wasn’t just my feelings he was picking up on, that boy was miserable.

#2 Boredom

Bored depressed dog yawning

Hopefully your dog has more to do in life than wait for you to come home, watch television or eat his scrumptious raw meals.

#3 Lack of Purpose

Depressed dog without purpose looking at sheep

Most dogs no longer have a job like in days past where they helped hunt, worked on the farm or watched after children or the house. Nowadays dogs can’t even bark to let you know someone is near the house or the neighbors complain.

Dogs need purpose just like we do.

The Ways to Manage Your Dogs Depression

Exercise Is Important!

Dog running for depression

I remember when I was a kid, literally dragging my feet into the kitchen (where my mother spent most of her waking hours). My head would be hanging low when I said, “Mom, I’m depressed.”

I hated the answer but it always worked. Mama would say, “Get out! Get out of this house and get some fresh air. Walk, run, skate or ride a bike, but you are not allowed back in this house for at least 30 minutes!”

As it turns out, exercise not only lifts depression but it boosts the immune system because the lymph system is activated by motion.  The lymph system’s nodes, vessels and ducts are major players in the immune system, capable of filtering out and killing unwanted bacteria and organisms.

Without movement, the lymph or body purification system stays in an almost dormant state.   Talk about two for the price of one!

And remember the increased oxygen intake helps every process in the body, so get out there with your dog. Just the two of you and DO something.

An Exercise with Purpose: Give the Dog a Bone!

Dow chewing raw bones for depression

This is a different kind of exercise but I love the effect it has on my dogs.

Raw meaty bones! Aside from being nutritious, they exercise the jaw, help keep teeth clean and keep our dog focused on a task. Think about it. They twist and turn it, hold it in different positions and decide the best way to get the job done while thoroughly enjoying themselves.

After all, a happy dog is more apt to be a healthy dog as well.

A Happy Dog is a Healthy Dog

This “medicine” is free and has only positive side effects. How long it lasts, depends on the patient, but extra doses do no harm whatsoever.

If YOU get down in the dumps, and there’s no time for exercise, here’s a tip.

Stare up at the sky with a silly grin on your face for one minute.

I dare you to be depressed while you do that!

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