When Does Your Pet Need to See a Psychologist?

When Does Your Pet Need to See a Psychologist?

Last update: 11 September, 2018

Several studies have demonstrated that pets have emotional needs. Apart from making sure your pet has food, shelter, and all of his vaccinations, he will need to be emotionally balanced. That’s why it’s important to know when it will be necessary to take your pet to see a psychologist.

Pets are social creatures that play an active role in your family. These animals likewise know what everyone else’s roles are, including their own. Any change to that structure can destabilize them. 

Just as humans do, pets usually have problems adapting to changes. All the unresolved traumas that pets have stored in their memory can influence their present behavior. So if this a problem, then a psychologist can help you come up with a solution.

Signs that your pet needs to see a psychologist

Many experts say that there are several red flags in your dog’s behavior that indicate there is something psychologically wrong with him. If you notice one or more of them and his behavior lasts a few days, then it’s a sign your pet probably needs to see a psychologist.

  • Lack of energy or interest. When your dog lies down all day long and isolates himself. He shows no interest in games or other activities he usually likes and he seems to be constantly sad and tired.
  • Lack of appetite. If your dog is not eating his food, you can try giving him other things to eat, but if he still doesn’t react to it, then something is wrong.
  • Overreacting. This takes place when your pet often starts jolting backward, barks loudly, growls or becomes violent at any sign of affection or sudden noise. Most likely you’ll notice him being afraid or neverous for no reason at all.
  • Destroying objects when you’re away from home. When you arrive home and find the pillows torn to shreds or any other household object destroyed, your pet might have had a mental breakdown while you were gone so he reacted by breaking in his reach.
  • Running away from strange things. Your pet starts to hide or run away at unusual times. Something is stopping him from remaining calm and he doesn’t want to be at home. Most likely something is harming him and it may not be physical.
dog chewing on furnitue

Reasons your pet might need to see a psychologist

A lot of different things could be emotionally unbalancing your pet. Many of them might seem insignificant to you, which makes it harder to figure out if he needs to see a psychologist.

  • Pets have a strong sense of a belonging. They think of themselves as the masters of their environment and even their owners. If you bring home a new pet, have a baby, or a new guest spends the night over, your pet could take this as a blow to his pride and independence.
  • Moving. Changing houses or even cities is very stressful for people, so just imagine how much it is for pets. Their entire environment changes and they’re not used to the new sounds or smells surrounding them. It’s an adaptation period that sometimes requires professional help. 
  • Separation AnxietyAny changes to the amount of time you spend with your pet can affect his mental health. Having to work overtime, going on vacations can be hard or death can be too much for your dog to handle. He won’t understand why you’re not around anymore and it’s common for your dog to go through behavioral changes.
  • Old traumas. Accidents and abuse are traumatic for dogs. They constantly remember them and your dog can react to them at unexpected moments. This is especially common in adopted dogs with mysterious pasts. They might have more love and affection now, but they can suddenly act violent or strange. There’s no doubt here: your dog needs to see a psychologist.
depressed dog needs to see psychologist

Should you take your pet to see a psychologist?

This is a common doubt for most people. There are some societies where taking their pet to see a pyschologist is a natural, normal thing to do, but other people still have their biases. They think that a vet or they themselves can provide all the necessary help.

The truth is that everyone around your pet is necessary when it comes to treating his mental issues. It’s a team effort, and a vet can help, but only as support for a qualified psychologist.

Then there’s you, you’re the one who needs to bring your dog to the sessions. Besides that, it’s just a question of time, patience, and an infinite amount of love.