fbpx Skip to main content

JUST AS HUMANS DON’T LIKE TO.Pets Dont Talk About Their Mental Health either

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, mental well-being is a significant concern for humans and our beloved pets. Just like us, pets can suffer from depression and anxiety, often exhibiting signs that can be easily overlooked. Understanding these symptoms and how to address them can make a difference in their lives and ours.

Based on research, cat and dog owners reported that:

43% of dogs showed some level of aggressive behaviour

21% of cats were timid

39% of dogs had a noise phobia

26% of dogs and 17% of cats had general fearfulness.

Depression in PetsRecognizing Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Pets

Just like humans, pets can show various signs of mental distress. Here are some common symptoms to watch for:

Changes in Appetite: Noticeable weight gain or loss due to changes in eating habits.

Lethargy: A sudden lack of energy or interest in activities they used to enjoy.

Isolation: Hiding, avoiding interaction, or reluctance to be around people or other animals.

Excessive Grooming or Licking: Particularly in cats, this can be a sign of stress or anxiety.

Aggression: Uncharacteristic aggression towards people or other animals.

Vocalization: Excessive barking, whining, or meowing that is out of the ordinary.

Destructive Behavior: Chewing, scratching, or tearing up household items.

You can download our Pet Depression Checklist by clicking here.

Depression and Anxiety are not your pet’s fault. 

Your pet may be fearful and anxious due to genetics and upbringing. Some pets are more prone to anxiety genetically than others. A past event in your pet’s upbringing may have implanted a fear or anxiety concerning a particular trigger, and changes in their lifestyle or living environment can make cats struggle to adapt or cope.

Solutions and Coping Strategies

Addressing depression and anxiety in pets involves a combination of environmental enrichment, physical activity, and, in some cases, professional help:

  • Regular Exercise: Ensure your pet gets plenty of physical activity. For dogs, this might mean regular walks or playtime. For cats, interactive toys or climbing structures can be beneficial.
  • Routine: Maintaining a consistent daily schedule can provide comfort and predictability.
  • Mental Stimulation: Engage your pet with puzzles, training sessions, or new toys to keep their minds active.
  • Comfort and Security: Provide a safe and cozy space where your pet can retreat and feel secure.
  • Professional Help: Consult a veterinarian or a pet behaviourist if symptoms persist. They can offer guidance and, if necessary, medication. Our local go-to professional is The Westbrook Veterinary Surgery.

Drawing Parallels to Human Mental Health

Interestingly, the way pets express their mental struggles is quite similar to how humans might display symptoms of depression and anxiety. Just as pets can’t verbally express their distress, many people also struggle to communicate their mental health issues. This silent suffering highlights the importance of regular check-ins, not just with our pets but with our friends and loved ones.

Steps to Enhance Mental Well-being: For Pets and People

  1. Check In Regularly: Pay attention to behaviour, mood, or routine changes. Whether it’s your pet or your friend, noticing the subtle signs can be the first step to offering support.
  2. Create a Supportive Environment: Ensure a comfortable, secure, and stimulating environment for pets and people. For humans, this might mean a clutter-free, peaceful living space; for pets, it might mean safe spaces and engaging toys.
  3. Encourage Physical Activity: Physical health is closely linked to mental well-being. Encourage regular exercise, be it a daily walk with your dog or a workout session with a friend.
  4. Seek Professional Help: If needed, don’t hesitate to contact professionals. A veterinarian or behaviourist can guide pets, and a counsellor or therapist can provide essential support for humans.
  5. Follow the “Hike to Heal” Steps:
    • Nature Walks: Spend time outdoors with your pet or friends. Nature has a calming effect and can significantly reduce stress levels.
    • Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness techniques that benefit humans and pets. Gentle petting can be a form of mindfulness, helping to soothe you and your pet.
    • Community and Social Interaction: Encourage socialization. Pets thrive on interaction with their human family and other animals, just as people benefit from strong social networks.


By recognizing and addressing the mental health needs of our pets, we can create a more harmonious and fulfilling life for them and ourselves. Remember, pets can’t speak up, and often, neither do people. Regular check-ins, a supportive environment, physical activity, and professional help are crucial to ensuring mental well-being. Let’s be vigilant and compassionate, fostering a healthy, happy community for all our loved ones, furry or otherwise.

Depression in Pets

Leave a Reply