Border collie depression: what to do?

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In this blog we will discuss what are some steps you can take if your border collie has depression. 

We will also discuss the various signs or symptoms of depression border collie and the various causes of depression in border collie and dogs.

Border collie depression: what to do?

If your border collie is depressed, here are a few things you can do:

  • Take your dog to the vet
  • Eliminate the possibility of a physical problem
  • Take stock of the environment
  • Get your dog exercising
  • Take supplements to improve appetite
  • Spend quality time with your dog
  • Take care of your own mental health

Border collies and other dogs are prone to depression- research has found that there are plenty of reasons and incidences where one’s pets can become depressed. 

Here are a few things you can do to help your dog:

Take your dog to the vet

The first thing you can do is to take your dog to the vet to have her examined. It is important that you make note of all behaviour changes in your dog and give a full account of these changes to your vet. 

A trip to the vet should also include a thorough examination- some blood tests and maybe an x-ray if a damaged bone is suspected to be the cause of their distress. 

Make sure that you let your doctor also know any changes in appetite, or aggression etc so that your doctor can help you in this aspect as well. 

Eliminate the possibility of a physical problem

The next important thing is to eliminate the possibility of a physical problem that could be causing distress to your dog.

This will require collaboration and cooperation with your doctor in getting tests and assessments required. This should be done to eliminate any underlying diseases and get the right treatment for your dog.

At some point, if there are no physical issues with your doctor- your doctor might ask your vaiors questions about the situation and environment related to your dog. 

Take stock of the environment

If there are no physical issues that are causing changes in behaviour, it is most likely that your dog is stressed. 

Take stock of the environment and any changes that have recently happened- make sure that you review the past few weeks and make note of what could be causing your dog distress. 

This could be because of new addictions to family- baby or new pets, or changes in schedules or changes in food and exercise. 

If you think it is because of changes, try to resume the old routine that your dog is used to. If your dog is uncomfortable with being alone, get a dog sitter if possible.

Get your dog exercising

Border collies are very active dogs because they are working dogs exercise, both mental and physical is extremely important.

Because of their role as a workload, they need to feel “useful” and for this they need physical and mental stimulation to keep their brain engaged and challenged for a healthy life.

So make sure that your dog goes out as often as possible and do as many exercises as possible so that she can get the exercise as well as sufficient vitamin D.

Take supplements to improve appetite

Make sure that you talk to your doctor about various steps that you can take to improve your dog’s appetite. If there has been changes in the meal or the diet they take- revert back to the same meal that they are used to. 

Spend quality time with your dog

Border collies are breeds of dogs that tend to quickly develop very close bonds with their human companion and if your collie isn’t receiving enough of your attention or is feeling left out, it is possible that your dog could be stressed and depressed. 

So try to spend a good amount of time with your pet. If you are working, have the dog spend time in the same room or you can even spend some time playing games and cuddling with them or giving them pets for a sufficient time. 

Take care of your own mental health

There has been some research that links human companions’ mental health and that of their pets; pets often mimic our own experiences and because border collies are very smart they can pick out these subtle changes and this can stress them out. 

It is important that you take care of your own mental health as well. You can get the help you need for your own mental health as well as make changes in your own life such as a healthier routine, diet, exercise etc- for your own mental health. 

What are the signs of depression in border collie?

Some common signs of depression in border collies include:

  • Hiding and avoiding is a classic sign that your dog is struggling with something. If you are witnessing avoidance behaviours from you, hiding, and non responses from your otherwise active and receptive dog, it is possible that your dog is going through a hard time- be it because of physical illness or because of depression. 
  • Your dog’s avoidance means that your border collie is stressed and doesn’t want to be a part of the action or is preoccupied with their pain or the stress that they cannot engage with others. 
  • Another sign that your dog is depressed or that something is wrong is having a lack of interest in things your collie would have otherwise got excited about. This can manifest in various ways such as refusing to play, not taking notice of their favourite words, toys, or door knocks.
  • Another possible sign is a change in appetite. It has to be mentioned that changes in appetite is a very common symptom of a lot of other health issues. Depression can make them lose their appetite, refuse to eat, as well as show disinterest in their favourite foods. 
  • Another sign is sleeping too much. A change in sleeping habits can also indicate depression, so if you border a collie suddenly laying in, staying in her bed, and napping a lot more than usual, it is indicative of something wrong- it might not exactly be depression but there is something bothering your pet.
  • If you have been noticing that your dog is licking their lips, chewing their paws, yawingling, grooming themselves too much could be inactive of stress- this is their way of grooming themselves and calming themselves. 

If your dog is showing such behaviours, it is possible that they are trying to pacify themselves from the stress and could be an individual that is troubled or depressed. 

These are some signs that your dog could be depressed however, it has to be mentioned that you spot multiple signs to rule out coincidences and context. 

You also have to rule out chronic pain and underlying diseases to confirm that your dog is depressed or not. 

What causes depression in border collie?

Here are some possible causes of depression in border collies and other dogs include:

Loss of a family member or other pet

One of the main causes of depression in dogs and border collies include bereavement when someone in the family has passed- be it a human companion or another pet in the home. 

Dogs also go through a grieving period after loss and for them grieving periods in dogs can actually last a lot longer than in us since human beings have the capacity to come to terms and recover however, for animals due to their limited understanding they have a harder time. 

Big Changes

Big changes in the border collie’s life and environment such as changes in daily routine, or life, house and location are another common cause of depression. 

Dogs like consistency and for them their daily routine is everything, when things change in their routine or when things become unfamiliar- they tend to become anxious and can trigger depression. 

Thus, it is possible that your border collie could be depressed due to big changes such as  moving homes, new neighbours, new pets, new building work nearby, new work schedule, people moving in and out of the house or the family, or even the addition of a new baby.

Stress

It is also possible that your dog is depressed because of heightened stress in their lives that is causing them anxiety and depression. 

Stress could be because of various factors- changes in schedules, environment, loss etc. it could also be because of being left home alone for too long, too often, and not receiving enough physical and mental exercise.

Neglect

Border collies are breeds of dogs that tend to quickly develop very close bonds with their human companion and if your collie isn’t receiving enough of your attention or is feeling left out, it is possible that your dog could be stressed and depressed. 

It could be because you are leaving them alone for too long because of work, or that you are unable to pay attention due to other responsibilities etc, which could be stressing them out. 

Insufficient exercise

Border collies are very active dogs because they are working dogs exercise, both mental and physical is extremely important.

Because of their role as a workload, they need to feel “useful” and for this they need physical and mental stimulation to keep their brain engaged and challenged for a healthy life.

Human companions mental health

There has been some research that links human companions’ mental health and that of their pets; pets often mimic our own experiences and because border collies are very smart they can pick out these subtle changes and this can stress them out. 

Changes in diet

Another reason why your dog is feeling down could be because they are stressed out due to a change in diet which is causing negative emotions and disinterest. 

Underlying health conditions

Another very possible reason is that they are in pain because of an underlying health condition. 

Any kind of pain or discomfort in najimals can manifest in depression since they cannot express themselves: this could look like a lack of interest, hiding away, change in appetite, lethargy, diarrhoea, vomiting, or change of temperament.

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what are some steps you can take if your border collie has depression. 

We have also discussed the various signs or symptoms of depression border collie and the various causes of depression in border collie and dogs.

References

Harry Dean. Is My Border Collie Depressed? 5 Signs To Look Out For. The puppy Mag. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. https://www.thepuppymag.com/is-my-border-collie-depressed/

Depression. Border Collie Rescue. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. http://www.bordercollierescue.org/advice/Misbehave/problems/depressed.html#:~:text=Companionship%20 Deprivation%20is%20a%20 common,for%20 long%20 periods%20of%20time%3F

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