Monday, January 23, 2012

Bath Time for Asa

My baby girl was seeming a little depressed today as she watched the kids play with the puppies and me snap picture after picture of them. I felt bad for her and tried to take her picture too but she was not interested in posing for me. Which is really not like Asa at all. She's the type of girl that loves to be brushed, dressed up in pretty dresses and prance around the house showing off. She loves posing for the camera and getting all sorts of attention. But today nothing was cheering her up. I tried to offer her a treat and she took it but she wasn't as excited about it as she normally would be. I even shared my dinner with her but still no luck making her smile.

So I decide she needed some girl time. Some good ol'fashion pampering. Just to show her that she is still "my girl" So first we started with a hot bath. Not too hot though but enough to help her achy muscles relax as she got my full attention scrubbing her down with her Aloe and Water Lilly shampoo and conditioner. Of course she's a Shiba and like most Shiba's she hates water but she certainly didn't mind too much after I started massaging the soap in and giving her all sorts of praise and compliments.

After her nice relaxing bath I dried and spent a full hour at least brushing her. Boy you would think that you could make another full grown shiba inu out of the fur that comes from them when you brush them. I had to take a break and change my clothes after that between Asa having decided that if she had to be all wet I had to join her and all her fur sticking to me like Velcro. I was pretty uncomfortable myself. I wasn't done pampering my little girl as of yet though. I trimmed her nails and put her best dress on her and snapped a few photos of her as I complimented how beautiful she was. But, she was still a little depressed at the end of the day over what would seem to be all the fussing over the pups. I need to make sure that postpartum don't take hold of my girl. That is hard on any mother, but especially on one that has no way of letting out her emotions. Now, I know some of you are thinking "Postpartum in dogs, your crazy." But I'm not crazy and I'm not kidding you. Dogs like humans suffer from postpartum and even regular depression.

Dogs, just like humans have their off days; they can mope around, spend more time sleeping than they usually do, go off their food or avoid everyone all together. Usually, they go back to being their usual selves just as quickly as their depression appeared.
The truth is, dogs experience a deep and varied emotional life mostly brought on by us humans, and we as dog owners often witness the expanse of these emotions throughout our dogs lives. Because dogs share a similar neurological make up to humans, they to are capable of experiencing a series of complicated emotions, such as depression.

Postpartum depression can occur in female dogs after the delivery of puppies. The depression can set in quickly or take several weeks. If your dog has depression, she may exhibit signs of sadness and lethargy. She will lose interest in her puppies, and she may even refuse to nurse them. In some cases, female dogs suffering from depression will also become aggressive with her puppies.

Loss of appetite is a sign of postpartum depression. Your dog may show less interest in food and water. She may not even respond to treats that she would normally crave.

A female dog with postpartum depression may show a lack of interest in her puppies. She will avoid grooming them and push them away when they try to nurse. She may refuse to nurse all of her pups. 

All female dogs sleep a lot after having puppies, but if your dog is sleeping excessively, she might be suffering from postpartum depression. All dogs are different, and some dogs are able to recover quickly from the hormone surges that come after pregnancy. While others take it harder. 

As with humans, dogs can experience depressive symptoms for a whole host of reasons, however, depression is usually a reaction to a stressful event such as:
  • The loss of a human friend or the dogs owner
  • The loss of a canine friend
  • Illness
  • Trauma
  • Bad treatment
  • Weather changes
  • Environmental changes, for example, change of house or location
  • Loss of attention due to a new addition to the family, such as a baby or puppy
  • Separation from it's owner for long periods during the day
  • Boredom due to being left alone
  • Lack of exercise and mental stimulation balance.
  • or a imbalance in the dogs neural chemical make up, usually referred to as clinical depression.

Depression in dogs rather it be postpartum, chemical or otherwise can be really difficult to diagnose. But some symptoms you should watch out for are.:
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss, due to refusing to take food
  • Loss of interests in play activity
  • Withdrawal from people
  • Clinging to owner
  • Restlessness
As for my Asa she has been displaying 4 out of 8 of these symptoms over the past few days and I am quite concerned for her. The good news is though the pups will be old enough to start feeding can puppy food at the end of this week and that should take some stress off of her. Hopefully she will be able to start getting back to her old self again once she doesn't have to worry about nursing any more. 

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