5 Human Mental Disorders That Can Also Affect Our Pets

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Do you ever wonder if your pet’s strange behavior could be indicative of a mental disorder? It totally can!

In fact, any mental disorders that you may think of as being uniquely human can actually also affect our beloved pups and cats. Disorders like…

1. Depression

Scientists know that animals can experience depression just like humans. Nonhuman primates and rats, specifically, have been observed to exhibit clinical symptoms of the illness, like lethargy and self-harm. Dogs and cats, too, seem to experience many of the same symptoms, often due to a specific event like the loss of a companion.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is now the most common mental disorder among Americans. Could all that stress be rubbing off on our pets? Anxiety is an evolutionary adaptation, so dogs, cats and other animals are certainly capable of experiencing it. And like with humans, pets can sometimes become trapped in a cycle of anxiety in response to certain triggers. For example, they might tremble and have accidents whenever they hear a certain sound or whenever their owner leaves.

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3. OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder can affect dogs, and some breeds are more prone than others. Dobermans are particularly prone to the disorder; about 28 percent of them experience it. A study of doberman brain scans showed similarities with scans of humans with OCD.

In dogs and cats, OCD may manifest as repetitive behaviors, like pacing or yowling or destroying furniture.

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It’s commonly said that dogs “live in the moment.” That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t experience trauma. Like humans, dogs and cats can both develop post-traumatic stress disorder in response to life-altering events, like natural disasters, gunfire, or abandonment.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

5. Alzheimer’s Disease

Pet owners with aging pets often notice that their animals seem to forget basic things, like their normal routines or familiar humans. Interestingly enough, Alzheimer’s and related diseases don’t occur in most animals, but they do occur in dogs and cats. That may be because these animals live much longer lives than wild animals, at least relative to their potential lifespan, thanks to the protection and care that they receive from humans.

So if your pet ever starts acting strange, maybe it’s time to go to therapy!

And take your dog, too.