5 WAYS TO COMBAT COMPANION ANIMAL DEPRESSION
Depression in companion animals is very serious and often overlooked. In part one of this article we studied the why’s and how’s of companion animal depression. (https://soulsticespirit.com/2018/10/14/is-my-animal-depressed-animals-depression-pt-1/). In the second part of this article, we listed several signs and symptoms of depression in companion animals (https://soulsticespirit.com/2018/10/27/6-signs-your-animal-is-depressed-animals-depression-pt-2/ ) with the promise of a third article part in which we relay method of treatment of the depression.
Many animals who experience or live with depression are often misunderstood. It is important to review the above list of symptoms and note whether or not you feel your animal may be depressed. Thankfully, most companion animal depression can be treated with simple changes in the animal’s routine. Most often, there is often NO need for medication when it comes to treatment of depression in animals. To assess which of the below treatment options is right for you and your animal friends, acknowledging its origin is an asset. Should we locate the origin of the animal’s depression, its treatment has more of a likelihood of a specified treatment plan. Here are several easy and effective ways to combat depression in companion animals:
1. EXERCISE– exercise is an important component of mental health. In addition to increasing cardiovascular health via endurance and strength, exercise releases endorphins that act as mood elevators. Exercise increases self-confidence in animals (and people) and increases circulation. This means that on colder days, exercise helps to keep our animals warm. This is especially important for any animals who have arthritis or kidney imbalances as these conditions correlate to an imbalance of fluid circulation in the body.
2. SUNLIGHT– Sunlight brings joy to all living beings. Because it radiates warmth, in the colder months it can assist to bring peace and calmness to animals. The warmth and golden light of the sun has a rejuvenating feel to animals who suffer from winter-based depression. Additionally it will help to increase the animal’s exposure to sunlight (either outdoors or in a window) as much as possible throughout the winter. Animals are often affected by seasonal affected disorder. Increasing sunlight hours and window-sitting in the sun will assuredly help to combat the winter blues.
3. SPECIES APPROPRIATE DIET– Unequivocally, an animal’s diet is the single most important aspect of mental health. If an animal’s diet is unhealthy, she is likely not receiving an adequate balance of nutrients. This can cause malnourishment and affect the hormonal balance of the brain. Malnourishment also causes muscular atrophy (the exact opposite of what we aim for with regular exercise). When an animal is not receiving adequate nutrients s/he will often resort to eating non-food items which both wreaks havoc on the animal’s inner organs as well as causes upset within the family home. Ideally, an animal’s diet will be as similar as possible to that which they would eat in the wild. There are many new schools of thought that a science based diet is the best diet for companion animals. However when we examine its ingredients more closely, we will note how little nutritional value it actually contains. Feeding animals whole foods that are nutrient-rich will allow for a healthier and longer quality of life. More to the point of this article, the richer the nutrients in an animal’s diet, the more “brain food” they absorb. Higher quality foods result in hormone regulation in the brain and body, healthier weight, healthier joints and bones and proper hydration which all create a healthier mental state for our animal companions.
4. ADD MORE OMEGAS– Omega’s 3 & 6 are a vital staple of any companion animal’s diet. Simply put, their benefits and functions are many. What most human caregivers of animals are unaware of is that water alone cannot hydrate the body. Water helps to flush out the organs or toxins in a healthy way however water alone is not an adequate source of hydration for companion animals. By adding omega’s 3 & 6 to an animal’s diet, we are increasing the amount of water that is retained and evenly distributed throughout the vital organs of the body. This organ moisture is crucial to an animal’s longevity and overall quality of life. More to the point, however, omegas have been linked to a reduction and/or prevention of depression. This is because those who suffer from minor to moderate depression show lower levels of EPA and DHA (two components of fish oil and other complete sources of omegas). By adding one or more sources of omegas to an animal’s diet, in addition to their innumerable other health benefits, you can lower the risk or severity of depression. Common sources of healthy omegas 3 & 6 for cats and dogs are:
a) Fish oils such as wild salmon or sardines
b) CBD oil
c) Flax seed oil WITH DHA (flax seed oil is only a complete source of protein when it contains DHA
d) Pumpkin seeds
e) Chia seeds
5. REIKI/ENERGY WORK– An animal’s wellness extends far beyond her physical body. Often animals (and people) live in negative environments that affect their mental, emotional and spiritual health. Animals are like sponges, taking on and taking in every thought, feeling and belief of her people. Simply put, because all thoughts, feelings and beliefs are energy, when they impede an animal’s health through negative energy, they can easily be balanced by positive energy. This is a fundamental component of energy work. Reiki has been proven to treat depression, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure and various other chronic mental and physical imbalances. Practicing energy work on your animal will help to bring all of their deep rooted emotional and mental imbalances to the surface for you to remove through several Reiki/energy work sessions. An energy field of a companion animal frequently embodies many energy blockages that originate from life experiences, environments or their human family members (past or present). These blockages are composed of thoughts, beliefs and feelings that an animal has taken on from an external source that are harmful to an animal’s mental and emotional wellness. The purpose of treating an animal with Reiki is to learn to remove the energy blockages within their energy field before they become manifest in the physical body as illness. Treating a depressed or ailing animal with Reiki/energy work nurtures their minds, bodies and spirits back to balance. Because animals’ primary language is energy, animals do very well with energy healing work.
As the daylight hours get fewer and the darkness greater, as humans are more reluctant to spend time outdoors because of the chill in the air, companion animals may feel the brunt. We will want to remain attentive to their needs, ensuring that though we may not want to spend as much time as usual playing outside with them, we can find fun indoor activities to keep them active and well. Though not completely eliminated every time, companion animal depression is often lessened by the above forms of treatment. In cases of severe depression, you will want to contact your Animal Communicator or Holistic Veterinarian for safe and effective treatment.
J MORGAN SAIFER
ANIMAL REIKI MASTER