While animals may experience emotions differently than humans, research suggests that animals, just like humans, can exhibit signs of depression as well.
Did you know that depression, like most mental health issues, can affect not only humans but also our furry friends?
While animals may experience emotions differently than humans, several scientific research and anecdotal evidence in the past suggests that animals, just like humans, can exhibit signs of depression as well.
Recently, Twitter user @Midori_nochill took to the bird app to share a sad scene she had witnessed at a pet shop.
In her tweet, she noted that a kitten that she had visited a few weeks back at a pet shop, had clearly started showing signs of depression after its cage mate had been sold.
She said the staff at the pet store informed her that the little furball had to be given medication as well because it refused to eat since its playmate had been sold.
This is why I hate the business of selling pets. Surely this is animal abuse@Midori_nochill via Twitter
Last week, another twitter user @adzlkfli too shared a similar experience with their followers.
They pointed out that a particular pet shop in One Utama had allegedly kept a Shiba Inu in a small cage.
Shame on you P*******, One Utama!!! And any pet store in Selangor that still sells animals, let alone keep them in small, unlivable spaces. Please @DVSMalaysia and @ngszehan help this sad dog being kept in a tiny, inhumane glass enclosure & take action against pet stores like this.@adzlkfli via Twitter
Netizens were quick to respond to these posts, where some questioned what the relevant authorities could do to pet stores that treat animals as such.
Under @Midori_nochill’s tweet, some even argued that these pets should be sold in pairs.
Why You Should Adopt And Not Shop?
From time to time, research has shown that adopting a pet can play a significant role in addressing and alleviating any chance for the possibility of animal depression from occurring.
For one, animals, especially those that have experienced loneliness or the loss of a previous companion, can benefit greatly from the companionship of a new owner.
Adopting provides an opportunity for animals to form a new bond and receive the social interaction they need — instead of them remaining in a cage with no playmate till someone buys them.
Furthermore, most animals in pet shops and breeding mills may experience neglect some sort of abuse or abandonment, which in return may cause the animal to develop psychological issues such as trust and abandonment issues.
When you choose to adopt instead of shopping for one, not only are you giving said animal a new chance for a better life, but you are also indirectly stopping the chain of pet buying.
How To Recognize Depression In Animals?
Besides that, if you worry that your animal might be suffering from depression, these are some signs to look out for according to PetMD.
1. Changes in appetite
One of the most common signs would be a loss in appetite or a sudden interest in overeating in your pet. It is also advisable that if your furry friend exhibits these signs for at least 24 hours, they should be brought to the vet for a check up.
2. Lack of energy
With a lack of appetite comes a lack of energy as well. Most common signs would include reduced activity levels, lethargy, and decreased interest in play or exercise.
These symptoms too should be monitored and help should be seeked in case it prolongs.
3. Changes in grooming habits
Like humans, signs of depression can be seen through your pet’s personal upkeep as well.
Most times, the tell tale signs would be them neglecting personal hygiene, instances of matted fur, or excessive grooming.
4. Destructive behaviour
Pet medical sites have also noted destructive behaviour which includes increased aggression, chewing on furniture or belongings, or excessive scratching could also be a sign that your pet is suffering from depression and is trying to let out some steam.
Besides these symptoms, there are also others which include unexplained weight loss or gain, digestive problems, or changes in bathroom habits.
All of that said, recognizing the presence of depression in animals is crucial for their well-being, and providing appropriate support and care can make a significant difference in their lives.