Humans aren’t the only ones suffering from mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly three out of four dogs in the United Kingdom display signs of anxiety or depression according to a recent study.

As Yahoo shares, the research was done by Guide Dogs in the UK and contains some alarming stats. 74% of British dogs, that’s roughly 8.8 million canines, are struggling mentally. The study also ranked the common symptoms that dog parents should look out for, including loss of appetite (36%), destructiveness (32%) and low activity levels (31%).

Another major issue the study reveals is that just 36% of pet owners are able to identify the signs of mental health struggles from their pets. Nearly a quarter of pet owners surveyed in the study didn’t even know dogs could suffer through depression.

The key to keeping your dog’s mind healthy is through plenty of enrichment and physical activities, says Amy Tunney, behavioral health services supervisor at Michigan Humane.

“Allowing dogs to practice species specific behaviors such as chewing, sniffing, foraging, playing with a variety of toys, and exercise can help to reduce stress, depression and improve overall mental and physical wellbeing,” she advises.

That’s what makes the enrichment program for the animals in Michigan Humane’s care essential as they look to be adopted.

“Our enrichment program is huge. We work to prevent and alleviate signs of mental stress and depression in the shelter,” Tunney says.

And keeping your dog happy can have positive effects for your brain too.

Looking to add a dog to your family? View all of Michigan Humane’s adoptable dogs on our Dogs and Puppies for Adoption page.

Photo credit: Pixabay, Pexels

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