Is My Dog Depressed?
Although we know depression and temporary moods of sadness are common in humans, we sometimes wonder if our dogs can get depressed as well.
Just like humans, dogs can experience a range of emotions, including happiness, sadness, and depression. However, unlike humans, dogs can’t verbally communicate how they are feeling, which can make it challenging for pet owners to know when something is wrong.
In this article, we will explore the signs and causes of dog depression and what you can do to help your four-legged friend.
Signs of Depression in Dogs
Similar to humans, a depressed dog may show symptoms that include lack of interest, energy, and appetite. Additionally, there may be other behavioral changes that come with these symptoms. If you are worried about your pup’s behavior or any of these symptoms, you should see your veterinarian.
Here are some common signs that may indicate that your dog is depressed:
Loss of Appetite
A sudden lack of interest in food or loss of appetite could indicate that your pup is experiencing sadness or depression. However, if your dog hasn’t eating in two days, you should see a veterinarian.
Lack of Energy
An active dog is a happy dog. If your dog is less playful, less active, and less interested in exercise, they may be depressed.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns
Depression can cause changes in your dog’s sleeping patterns, such as sleeping more than usual or struggling to sleep at night. This can exacerbate your pup’s lack of energy, because if your pup is struggling to sleep, they will have less energy and be less active during the day.
Hiding or Isolation
If your dog is isolating themselves or hiding in unusual places, this may indicate that they are feeling depressed.
Some dogs may become aggressive or display destructive behavior when they are depressed. This can include behavior such as unusual growling to chewing on couch cushions.
Causes of Dog Depression
There can be several causes of depression or bouts of sadness in your dog. Major changes in your pup’s life to medical issues can cause your canine friend to experience a depressive episode. Some causes of depression in dogs include:
Changes in Routine
Dogs thrive on routine, so any significant changes in their routine can lead to depression. For example, moving to a new home, changes in the household, or changes in the daily routine can all cause stress and anxiety in dogs.
Dogs are social creatures and can experience grief when a family member or another pet passes away.
Dogs that are left alone for long periods may develop separation anxiety, leading to depression.
Depression can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as thyroid problems or chronic pain.
5 Tips to Help Your Depressed Dog
If you suspect that your dog is depressed, it’s essential to seek help from a veterinarian. Your vet can perform a physical exam and run diagnostic tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
Once a medical condition has been ruled out, here are some things you can do to help your dog:
1. Stick to a Routine
As mentioned earlier, dogs thrive on routine. So, try to stick to a consistent daily routine for your furry friend, including feeding, walking, and playtime.
2. Spend Time with Your Dog
Dogs love spending time with their owners, so make sure to spend quality time with your furry friend. This could include taking them for walks, playing games with them, or simply cuddling with them.
3. Provide Mental Stimulation
Boredom can contribute to depression in dogs, so provide your furry friend with mental stimulation through games and puzzles.
4. Consider Medication
In some cases, medication may be necessary to help your dog overcome depression. Your vet can prescribe medications that can help reduce your dog’s anxiety and depression.
5. Consult a Professional Trainer
If your dog is displaying aggressive behavior, it’s essential to consult a professional dog trainer. A qualified trainer can help you identify the underlying causes of your dog’s behavior and provide you with techniques to help address them.
Dogs are incredibly loyal and loving creatures, and seeing them unhappy can be challenging for any pet owner. If you suspect that your dog is depressed, it’s important to seek help from a veterinarian. With proper care and attention, you can help your furry friend overcome depression and get back to their happy, playful self.
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Even long after they’re gone, we never forget our beloved pets. They make our families whole and bring so much joy to our lives. Our veterinarians and staff in Auburndale, FL know that the human-animal bond is sacred. To protect that bond, we aim to provide the highest level of medicine and the kindest, most compassionate care we can. Our goal is to help you help your pet stay healthy and happy for as long as possible. With wellness and preventative care, medical care for illnesses and injuries, routine surgery, dentistry and more, you can rest assured that all your pet’s needs are being met.