Warning Signs Your Pet May Be Depressed

Pets do not suffer from depression the way people experience depression. People with depression frequently report feeling sad, anxious, irritable, hopeless or have thoughts of suicide. They experience changes in their appetite, such as eating more or less. People may also experience a decreased interest in pursuing activities that they normally enjoy.

We suspect that our pets are suffering from depression based on nonspecific signs that persist for longer than one to two weeks and that cannot be explained by an underlying medical condition. These nonspecific signs may include changes in their activity level, sleep-wake cycle, appetite and interactions with their owners or housemates. Most commonly there is an event that triggers the onset, such as a profound loss of a housemate or owner or when relinquished for adoption in a shelter environment or rehomed to another family. Even seemingly normal events, such as the arrival of a new baby or the move of a household, can trigger changes in our pets. There is a period of adjustment, and we may surmise that perhaps there is a period of grief and depression.

If your pet exhibits any of these unusual signs, and/or you suspect he is depressed, he should be examined immediately by your veterinarian. Many times underlying health problems may produce similar physical signs. For example, both people and pets with arthritis or discomfort in a particular area of their bodies may be less active and restless at night. Animals with uncontrolled diabetes or dogs with hypothyroidism may appear lethargic. If your veterinarian cannot determine any physical problems after a physical examination and recommended testing, such as bloodwork and radiographs, then the diagnosis for depression may be more definitive. You can also keep a daily diary and record measurable behaviors, such as duration of a walk the pet goes on or how many times your pet will chase his toy or the fact that he won’t play with it at all.

Decreased Appetite
Another suspicious sign of depression may be a pet with a healthy appetite who suddenly loses interest in eating. This may be the dog who usually cleans his bowl and asks for more but now just eats only 50 to 75 percent. Or the pet may just leave a couple of bites, which he previously never did. Sometimes the pet may still be interested in eating tempting treats, but overall his appetite is decreased. It is more obvious if your pet does not even touch his most favorite treat. It is very important to have your veterinarian examine your pet if you note any change in appetite to make sure he does not have any underlying problem. A change in appetite can be a sign of any number of diseases and medical conditions.

Decreased Interest and Activity Level
If you notice that your pet spends an increased amount of time sleeping or just lying around compared to his previous daily activities, this is something to take note of. If your pet has a tendency to follow you around the house and now suddenly doesn’t even lift his head to look at you as you walk out of the room or house, this may also be a notable sign.

Decreased overall activity is much easier to spot in a younger pet who tends be more active compared to an older pet. Some pets will slow down as they get older due to normal aging but should not need too much encouragement from the owner to interact with them in some manner. An example could be picking up the leash and having to call your dog three or four times to come, so you can take him for a walk. Instead of racing right over to you, your dog may take his time approaching you. A cat who is usually very excited about chasing a ball or feather toy may seem to lose interest in the toy. You may have to toss the ball or wave the feather around for several minutes before your cat appears interested. And the interest level may vary from a slow approach to not even approaching at all but merely watching you play with the toy from afar. No matter what the age, these changes can vary from gradual to sudden in onset.

Decreased Interactions with Owners and Other People

When a pet who normally spends the majority of his time following you around or staying in the same room with you starts spending more time by himself, this may be another sign that your pet’s mental health is suspect. Pets with depression may not even greet their owners when they come home such as they used to do in the past. Your pet may want to sleep on his bed all day or curl up in a corner of another room away from you or the rest of the family. Or a previously very sociable animal won’t even greet family members or visitors when they enter the house.

What Can You Do to Help Your Pet?
If your pet has been diagnosed with depression, there are a few things that you can get started on at home. Provide more structure for your pet. Maintain him on a daily schedule of predictable and enjoyable activities and interactions. Some pets appear to be less anxious when there is a daily routine an owner follows.

Try to encourage your pet to engage in activities he previously appeared to enjoy. Don’t give up just because your pet needs more enticement to participate in these activities. Consider taking your dog on a walk in a new neighborhood or park or on a car ride to a new location to pique your pet’s interest. Novel toys and toys that offer different sounds or smells, such as catnip, mint or rosemary, can all be very stimulating to certain cats. Interacting with your pet by physically touching him or talking to him can also be helpful.

Work on some of the basic training exercises that your pet already knows. You can use new food rewards or interesting smells to mentally stimulate your pet. This will help keep him mentally engaged. Avoid any situations in which your pet appears fearful or stressed.

In certain cases, just as in people, our pets may also need some pharmaceutical intervention to help manage their depression. Your veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist may also recommend this option for your pet.

6 Signs Your Dog Loves You

I consider my dogs Shakira, Gracie, Quora, Quixote and QT as full-on members of my family. I love them with all my heart. But do they love me back?

I think so. As a veterinarian for more than 30 years, I’ve witnessed the power of the human-animal bond firsthand. Furthermore, scientists are starting to explore which emotions animals feel and how they display them. Based on their research, I’m even more convinced that our dogs love us.

If you’re just as certain that dogs love us as much as we love them, check out the photo gallery below to learn how canines show affection through sight, sound, smell and body language.

He Makes Eye Contact

In the human world, we usually make eye contact to show that we’re engaged and paying attention. That’s not the case in the dog world. When dogs lock eyes with each other, it’s often considered rude or aggressive. And yet, when dogs stare at their favorite humans, it’s usually out of love, not war. When you look into your pup’s eyes and he gazes back with relaxed eyes showing little to no white, it usually means he’s happy and comfortable with you.

He Reacts Positively to the Sound of Your Voice

He Likes Your Scent

Am I a Bad Pet Owner If I Leave My Dog Alone for 10 Hours a Day?

When people talk to me about getting a dog, the first thing I like to ask is how much time they have available to spend with the dog. It’s important to remember that dogs are social animals. There’s a reason we call them our best friends: They are wired to spend time with us, watch us and help us. It’s hard for dogs to become great at their job of companion if they don’t ever spend any time in our company.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t get a dog if you work — far from it. We all need a friendly face to come home to at the end of the day. A dog is a friend who is always there to greet you, play with you and exercise you. (You didn’t think this was a one-way relationship, did you?)

But not many of us can spend all day with our dogs, although it would be a great world if we could. We have work, school, family obligations, friends and other commitments in our lives. I’m here to share some tips on how you can make your dog’s life better — enrich it, as my behavior expert friends say — even when you’re not home.

House Training
First, teach your dog that being home alone is okay. Every dog should be able to stay on his own all day without falling apart emotionally or becoming destructive. From the time you first get him, whether he’s a puppy or an adult, practice leaving him alone. Start with just a minute or two and gradually extend the length of time as you become comfortable with his behavior while you’re out of sight. He can be in his crate, in a special dog room or dog run or, once you’re sure he’s trustworthy, on his own in the house. Watch for potty accidents, too, as these will tell you how long your dog can be left without needing to go outside.

Don’t re-enter the room if he’s crying, whining, howling or barking. Wait until he’s quiet, then go in and praise him in a brief, matter-of-fact tone of voice. You want him to think that being on his own is normal and safe. Give him a treat when you leave but not when you return.

Make sure he has constructive ways to occupy his time when you’re not around. Stuff a Kong toy with enough goodies to keep him busy for hours. Fill a puzzle toy with his daily ration of kibble so he has to work for his meals. Hide treats or favorite toys around the house for him to find while you’re gone. But a word of caution: Never leave your dog unsupervised with a toy that could be chewed apart and swallowed. Before leaving your dog alone, make sure any toys in the environment are indestructible.

Leave the radio tuned to a calming classical station or a talk radio show. Choose the station carefully. You don’t want to come home to a dog who is amped up from listening to people shout at each other all day.

What’s The Difference Between A Vegan And Vegetarian Diet?

Eating more plants is pretty much a no-brainer: Research shows that people who stick to plant-based diets have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, not to mention the lifestyle choice is way better for the environment.

But when it comes to dedicating yourself to a specific plant-forward diet, how do you know which variety is best for you? Vegan? Vegetarian? And what’s the difference between the two? Because, honestly, they seem pretty dang similar…

Look no further than this vegan vs. vegetarian guide for answers to all your veggie questions.

So, what’s a vegetarian diet?
“A vegetarian diet is pretty much the easiest way to make the switch to eating more plants and vegetables, but it’s important to note that there are varying levels of vegetarianism,” says Marisa Moore, RD. Traditionally, vegetarians don’t eat meat sources like chicken or beef, and sometimes don’t eat items that are made from animal parts (such as bone broth) either. “Some vegetarians eat both eggs and dairy, some one or the other,” says Moore. And some add in some fish from time to time, too. People who fall into this camp (generally referred to as pescatarians) may still consider themselves vegetarian—it really just depends on the person you ask.

These are all various takes on traditional vegetarian diet:

Lacto-ovo vegetarian: No meat, poultry, seafood, or other meat products. Will eat eggs and dairy products.
Lacto-vegetarian: No meat, poultry, seafood, other meat products, or eggs. Will eat dairy products.
Pescatarian: No meat, poultry, or other meat products. Will eat seafood, eggs, and dairy.
How does this differ from a vegan diet?
Vegan diets generally cut out more items than vegetarian diets do, but that doesn’t mean all you’re eating is kale. “Veganism is the omission of all animal products, so very strict vegans definitely don’t eat meat, seafood, or eggs,” says Emily Wood, RD. And many don’t eat honey or gelatin, either.

Vegans also tend to be more conscientious of cross-contamination—meaning they won’t eat food that’s come in contact with animal by-products (think: sautéeing veggies in a pan that had chicken, or a vegan product processed in the same facility as dairy). That said, this varies from person to person, and many vegetarians are diligent about types of cross-contamination, too.

“Some vegans also extend their diet views to their lifestyle choices, which means they don’t buy leather and wool clothing or accessories, and avoid cosmetics and soaps that have been tested on animals.”

Still, the biggest differentiator is that vegans tend to give up ALL animal products, plus animal by-products. But course, there are no hard and fast rules, and you can adapt the vegan diet to meet your needs. Some iterations on a vegan diet include:

Beegan: A vegan person who eats honey.
Raw vegan: A vegan who only eats raw, unprocessed, plant-based foods.

What on earth is a plant-based diet, then?
“Honestly, it depends on who you ask!” says Moore, who is all for the flexibility a plant-based diet provides. “Some people use the term to describe veganism, some to describe vegetarianism—some even use it to describe a diet that is mostly plants, but still has a bit of chicken or fish in it now and then.” One main criteria, though, is that a plant-based diet mostly focuses on whole, unprocessed foods, since it’s entirely driven by the health benefits of a plant-first diet.

“I would say that plant-based eating definitely offers the most flexibility,” says Wood.

How do you decide the best one for you?
“There’s honestly no right answer—it’s very individual,” says Wood, who counsels several clients on this exact query every single day. “Identify what you want to get out of it,” she adds.

Are you looking to lower your cholesterol or reduce your carbon footprint, but not ready to ditch cheese? Go for vegetarian. Do you want to be more mindful about animal treatment? Look into veganism. Are you eager to limit your meat intake, but not quite ready to nix it entirely? A more flexible, plant-based diet may be for you.

Consider your “why,” and go from there. If you’re really stumped, though, Wood recommends getting some guidance from a nutritionist to choose a diet that works for your goals and lifestyle.

How do you start adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet?
“Definitely don’t go cold turkey,” advises Wood, who says that cutting out too many food items at once will simply make you feel too deprived to stick to the diet long-term. Instead, cut maybe one food at a time, or reduce your portions of meat gradually, all while adding more plant-based sources of protein, such as beans and nuts. “And add more vegetables, since it’ll naturally make you eat less of the other stuff,” adds Wood.

Betina Gozo’s A.M. Routine Will Inspire You To Make Your Mornings ‘Prime Time’

For five years, Betina Gozo played in a band living an entirely different life than she does now. It wasn’t until her roommate took her to a boot camp class that pushed her entirely beyond her comfort zone that she realized just how out of shape she was. Soon, she was making moves to improve her health—and her new habits started to rub off on those around her.

“I noticed that I was influencing other people in my band by implementing healthier activities into my life. We were doing planks and push-ups together and eating healthy,” she tells Women’s Health. “As I started working out more, I wanted to be better. That’s when the switch flipped and I knew I wanted to become a trainer.”

Fast forward to today. Not only is Gozo a fitness model and a personal trainer, but she’s also been crowned Women’s Health’s Next Fitness Star and is one of 50 handpicked Nike Master Trainers. Her role with Nike involves doing everything from designing workouts for the Nike+ Training Club App to heading up local and regional Nike events. (Pretty awesome, right?)

The 32-year-old owns each day by waking up early and setting daily intentions. “I call morning Betina ‘Prime Time Betina,’” she says. “I’m usually the most productive and energized in the morning. It makes me feel like a warrior when I’ve accomplished so many things before people even start their day.”

Here, she lets us in on her morning routine, including her secret to starting every day in a good mood.

4:45 a.m. My alarm goes off.
“The first thing I do after I get out of bed is drink a glass of water. This helps me rehydrate and makes me feel like I’m starting the day off on the right foot.”

“People often ask me how I manage to wake up so early. I do a lot of things the night before that help. Usually, at 8 p.m. I’m putting down my phone for the day and picking up my guitar to wind down and relax. Then I’ll journal for about 20 minutes. Next, I’ll sip on tea and take CBD, which helps me ease into sleep.”

5 a.m. I’m smiling, then meditating.
“It sounds so silly, but one of the first things I do every single morning is smile. I heard it in a meditation once, that smiling tricks your body into being happy even when you’re not. Then, I’ll bring that energy into my own personal meditation. I’ll turn on my pink Himalayan sea salt lamp and sit down on my bean bag to meditate. It helps me begin every day with a clear mind and a sense of calm.”

6 a.m. I’m training my first client.
“I typically train two clients first thing in the morning, one at 6 and then another at 7. Once I’m done with that, I do my own workout around 8 a.m. It’s when I feel my best, and it makes me feel like I can tackle the rest of my day.”

9 a.m. It’s smoothie and e-mail time.
“I keep the smoothie pretty simple. I start with homemade cashew milk, then add spinach, banana, ice, and protein powder. While it’s blending, I drink a glass of water and pop two MitoQ Skin Support supplements. They’re designed to help the skin stave off signs of aging and provide extra protection against the damaging effects of pollution. I feel like they help my skin stay moisturized and bright.”

“Then, I usually take some time to catch up on my e-mails and online clients. Since my job requires me to give a lot of myself to people, I have given myself permission to only check or answer e-mails no more than two times a day to protect my energy (and sanity!).”

Man Rescues A Beagle From Being Euthanized In A Shelter, The Dog Can’t Contain His Gratitude, Hugs His Rescuer

Lots of dogs end up in rescue shelters and some are euthanized if they have serious medical problems that are too costly to treat. However, man’s best friends don’t warrant such a horrible fate. Every doggo and pupper deserves to be cured, to have a forever home as well as a kind, caring owner to look after them (chew toys are optional). Gregory the Beagle was nearly put down at an animal shelter but his story had a happy ending.
The cavalry — Joe Kirk — arrived just in the nick of time to save the dog. A thankful Gregory had a very special gift for his hero — the cutest hug you’ve probably seen all week. Photos of the dog snuggling up to Joe quickly went viral online.

Gregory the Beagle was two years old when Joe Kirk saved him from an animal shelter that was going to put him down

Joe saved the Beagle two days before it was scheduled to be put to sleep. Joe and his wife Schenley Hutson-Kirk are co-founders of Hound Rescue and Sanctuary, a non-profit organization based near Findlay, Ohio. It helps neglected dogs find new homes, provides lifelong sanctuary to “unadoptable and senior” canines and helps strays. Its main mission is to save dogs from euthanasia by taking them in from “high risk and kill shelters”. Hats off to these wonderful people.

Gregory rewarded his savior Joe with a warm hug once he understood that he was being rescued

“Gregory is one thankful and appreciative Beagle! He KNOWS he is SAFE! He is Heartworm Positive and will be going through treatment, but he knows he is in good hands! We will get him healthy and provide him all the love he so deserves and a wonderful future!!” Schenley detailed in a Facebook post a year ago.

“We generally house and care for 25 to 30 dogs at a time, consisting of dogs that are available for adoption as well as sanctuary dogs that will live out their lives being loved and cared for by us,” Schenley and Joe Kirk told us.
“After saving Gregory from the euthanasia list at the shelter, we provided him the veterinary care and heartworm treatment he required.”

The couple also added that “after successfully completing his treatment, Gregory was adopted to his forever home. He now has a wonderful family that loves him very much and he is enjoying a very happy life. Gregory’s family also has another Beagle and he and Gregory have become best pals.”

“We are often asked how many dogs we have saved. The answer that always comes to mind is, “we have saved one more”. One more dog is safe and will have all of the love and respect that they are so deserving of. One more dog will be properly fed and receive needed veterinary care. One more dog will have a loving forever home. There is no better feeling and nothing in life that is more fulfilling,” the couple explained.Schenley told Today that, according to her husband, all Gregory wanted to do during the car ride was “cuddle” up to Joe. “He is very loving, very affectionate,” she confirmed that the Beagle was, without a shadow of a doubt, a very good boy. “He loves to be next to you. He loves to give kisses.”

The Beagle had been taken in by the Franklin County Dog Shelter on April 25, 2018, when he was two years old. The shelter was planning to euthanize Gregory because of his health problems. Fortunately, Joe and Schenley immediately started treating the Beagle for heartworms after saving him.

Heartworm disease is caused by foot-long worms that live in the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Signs of this illness in dogs can be weight loss, fatigue, decreased appetite, reluctance to exercise, a mild persistent cough, a swollen abdomen, and heart failure.

Petful states that a shocking 2.7 million out of 7.6 million pets that enter animal shelters are euthanized each year in the United States. There are various reasons for putting an animal down. Such as contagious illnesses. Or overly aggressive behavior. However, the most heartbreaking reason is probably overpopulation: some shelters that get overcrowded put less adoptable animals to sleep to make space. However, there are everyday heroes like Joe and Schenley who make sure to rescue every animal they can.

These Beautiful Russian Blue Cats Have The Most Mesmerizing Eyes

Pets are not new to social media and often, they are as famous as real-life people. If not more… and we are not mad about it. The mesmerizing emerald eyes to get lost in is what made this feline duo real Instagram influencers with a following of 122k.

If the eyes are the mirror of the soul, here are two of the most beautiful souls you‘ve ever seen. Two so-called “American Type” Russian Blue Cats, Xafi and Auri, charm with their silky silver fur, captivating green eyes, mysterious smile, and distinctive personalities.

Even though Xafi, born in April of 2016, is a year older than Auri, the sisters by blood look like twins as they have grown to the same size. But while fans are confused, the cats’ paw-rents, UK-based Annaken and Tim, have their tricks to tell them apart. “Auri has a rounder face, wider ears, and slightly darker fur. Xafi has a more angular face with slightly taller ears. Their “Meow” is also distinctly different as is the way they both move and act. Auri also looks a lot more muscular and toned even though they are exactly the same weight: 3.5kg,” the couple notes.

Despite their similar appearance, their personalities couldn’t be more different – Xafi is more affectionate and snuggly compared to the cheeky and mischievous Auri who has earned the nickname “Klepto-Cat” for stealing everything in her sight. “Xafi is human-oriented where Auri is independent. Auri is athletic where Xafi is clumsy. Xafi is loudly demanding when wanting cuddles whereas Auri asks in a very gentle and quiet way to get a fuss. But both are just the most loving and sweet girls I’ve ever known,” Anneken, who manages their social media presence, explains.

The different temperaments of the Insta-famous cats reflect on their modeling as well. While Xafi is a little camera shy, Auri enjoys the attention and has mastered some impressive poses. “It took me quite a while to develop the skills to photograph cats. Capturing photos of the two together is very challenging. We use treats and toys to try and get them to pose and look into the camera. I do less and less of those types of photos now – I prefer capturing them in their natural environment now just doing their cat-things,” cat mum Anneken.

People Share Photos Of Themselves And Their Pets And They’re Just Too Similar

There is a classic scene in the film ‘100 Dalmations’ where all the owners are walking their dogs and each pair looks basically identical. Well, this isn’t just a funny cartoon depiction, as it turns out humans and their canines often look alike. Twitter user Harry Clayton-Wright took to the platform to share a photo of the iconic and stylish actress Elizabeth Taylor and her pet Shih-Tzu sporting matching hairstyles – and the likeness is uncanny.

The image sparked a thread of other dog owners sharing their doggie doppelgangers and it’s amazing how many people are twinning with their pets.

Listen to Dairy Farmer Explain His Sweet Friendship With ‘Allo Vera’: The Cow Who Thinks He’s Her Calf

Some people might say that dogs are man’s best friend, but this jersey cow might be the exception.

Australian dairy farmer Phillip Hughes has developed a surprisingly strong bond with a doting heifer named Vera in his herd.

Hughes, who lives on a farm in Edith Creek, North West Tasmania, says that he can always recognize her because she is constantly running in the opposite direction of the herd so she can stay by his side during his rounds.

Every morning when she trots up to Hughes, he says “Allo, Vera” – and she has answered to the nickname ever since.

“Some lady said [Vera] loves me, and I said no, I think she thinks I’m her calf,” chuckled Hughes in the ABC News interview. “And the way she talks is just like a cow with her own calf. I can’t understand cow language, but it’s the noises she makes, you know?”