Dogs are generous companions that will shower you with love and loyalty unconditionally. Unbeknownst to all, mentally and emotionally, they are more complicated. Their brains, when it comes to emotions, have remarkable similarities with humans. Like us, they can experience anxiety, depression, stress, etc.
For some time, committing suicide is an act reserved exclusively to humans. Several reports in the past show instance of apparent suicide among dogs and other animals. To learn more about dog suicide, let’s dive deep into their psychology and find out how you can help them.
Can Dogs Commit Suicide?
According to psychologists, a person turns to suicide when they feel that they are incapable of living. Instead of pacing their problems and fears, they find death to be an easier option. To conclude that dogs can be suicidal would mean they should understand the concept of life and death. And, there has been no evidence of this.
What is clear is that dogs can suffer from depression. They become disconnect and start to lose strength and energy to play. Abandoned dogs under observation show an inadequate response to stimulants or danger. In most dire situations, the dog enters a semiconscious state and just waste away.
It is uncommon for dogs to succumb to depression. A dog’s strong survival instinct should always take over in dangerous situations. However, dog suicide persists because of numerous reports over the years. In Italy, pets who have been left alone for weeks claimed to have been so upset and depressed. Because of this, they have allegedly thrown themselves from their balconies.
Dog’s Mental Health
Experts who have studied psychology and mental states of animals say that they have striking similarities to humans. Dogs can experience anxiety disorders, PTSD, compulsive disorders, autism, and other issues aside from schizophrenia.
Dogs can experience grief, which can lead to depression. Owners may observe some changes in the way they interact, which interferes with their life. Behaviors that indicate signs of anxiety, depression, or stress include:
- Loss of appetite
- No interest in seeking attention
- Declining to play outdoors
- Compulsive licking
- Started nipping at people
- Becoming aggressive
- Doesn’t follow standard routines
Mental Health Treatment For Dogs
If there are any signs that your dog needs help, it is best to seek professional care immediately. This way, their problems can be quickly addressed with medication, therapy, or other treatments. As an owner, you can do the following to help enhance their mental health:
- They Need Exercise – A few minutes of quick play can help your dog relax and stay calm. Positive activities like running, hiking, or walking will also help the dog bond with you.
- Mental Enriching Activities – Without the proper mental stimulus, your dog becomes bored, which leads to anxiety. Giving them puzzles and other toys, or playing games with them can help deter destructive behaviors.
- Some Alone Time – Dogs who are anxious need time to retreat. Sometimes busy places like parks or having guests at home can become too overwhelming. What they need is some space to retreat.
- Let Them Do What They Love – Doing activities or giving them toys that they love can distract them from their grief or depression. Let them enjoy the things they love and show them how they can entertain themselves.
Mystery Of ‘Dog Suicide Bridge’ In Scotland
The Overtoun Bridge, known as a place where dogs commit suicide, is located in the Dumbarton’s Scottish Lowlands. More than fifty dogs have jumped over this historic bridge and died since the 1950s. This phenomenon has caught the attention of experts and dog lovers all around the globe. Many have attempted to unravel this tragic mystery trying to search for an explanation or debunk any superstitions.
And, from what these people have gathered, the occurrences have so many similarities. A significant number of these deaths happen in the same spot between two parapets on the right side of the bridge on a clear sunny day. Moreover, those who have perished belong to long-nosed breeds such as Retrievers, Collies, and Labradors.
Dr. David Sands, a dog psychologist from Lancashire England, observed that squirrels, mice, and minks live the undergrowth beneath the bridge. In an experiment, he found that 70% of the dogs were highly attracted to the musty scent of the mink.
Their theory is that the bridge’s thick walls block the dog’s sight and sound from outside the walls. Then, as they got close to the parapets, the scent of minks becomes overwhelming. It excites the dog, luring them to investigate or give chase. They leap over the wall, unknowing of the fifty-foot drop and rocky bed that awaits below.
Owners have stated that there was no evidence of suicidal feelings or unusual behavior from their pets before their trip. The dogs who leaped to their deaths did not indicate stress or suicidal tendencies. They are just adventurous and curious pets who gave in to their natural animal instinct.
A dog can experience the depth of emotions and mental state the same as humans. Since they can’t communicate or ask help as we do, they need their owners to take care of them. They need all the love, care, and attention they can get to get better physically and mentally. If you think your dog is having some issues, seek professional help immediately.