Have you ever seen some really depressed dogs?
It’s quite a heartbreaking sight, seeing your usually bright and cheerful
What’s wrong with my dog? Is he depressed? Did I do something to bother her? Is she sick?
Well, it could be that your dog is depressed. Just like humans, dogs get depressed due to a number of factors – all of which we will discuss within this article.
So, is your dog depressed? Read on to find out reasons why dogs get depressed, and what you can do to get them out of this low phase in their lives.
Signs That Your Dog is Depressed
With humans, the first sign that someone is depressed is usually the lack of smiles or laughter. With dogs, however, laughing is not easily in all breeds. Instead, what you’ll notice that your dog has adapted to a lethargic lifestyle, remaining inactive for a copious amount of time.
Your dog might resort to sleeping for an excessive number of hours. Sleeping is the best way to get rid of negative thoughts – as you might have experienced yourself – so your dog is trying to sleep the sadness away. You might notice this when you come home after a long day, expecting to see your dog bouncy and excited. However, if your dog remains asleep when you get back home, then this could be a sign that your dog is depressed.
Other signs pointing out that dogs are depressed is a sudden loss of appetite. You can notice this if you find your dog picking at his food or taking a few bites but not really relishing in his meal. Loss of appetite could be tied to depression.
If your dog has suddenly gained or lost a bunch of weight, then this could pinpoint to depression too – as it’s linked to your dog’s appetite. Like humans, this will depend from dog to dog; some dogs end up binging on food as a source of comfort. Other dogs will turn away from food, not being able to process the idea of eating.
Why is My Dog Depressed?
The reason for sudden depression in dogs can be plentiful. Below are some of the common reasons as to why your dog could have fallen into a hole of depression.
- A Change of Environment
If you’ve recently changed
It could take a while for your dog to readjust to this new environment. Make sure that she has enough space at home to stretch out and relax. If you live in a small apartment, then it’s important to make sure that your dog gets the necessary amount of exercise to keep them relaxed, fresh and happy.
- A Loss of Friend or Family Member
Dogs are very social creatures. They love to mingle with humans, other dogs, and sometimes other animals. If you’re a dog owner, then you’re definitely familiar with your dog’s anticipation of you arriving home. The moment they hear your footsteps approaching your door, they bounce up, wagging their tails and excited to greet you.
In dogs, canine depression can be linked to a loss of a close companion. Has someone living in your house moved out recently? Or did a child grow into a young adult, therefore having less time to spend with your dog?
If your dog is experiencing loss-related depression, then you should keep them entertained to keep them distracted from this loss.
- In Retrospect, A New Friend, Pet or Family Member
Yes, gaining a new addition to the house could impact your dog’s mood. Due to their social nature, dogs love to mingle. But what if your dog isn’t a big fan of this new friend you have over?
If you’re dating someone new, or maybe got a new child or a new puppy to your home, then your dog might experience bouts of jealousy. This happens since your attention is suddenly not solely focused on your dog.
If this is the case, then make sure that you make your dog feel included in activities you partake at home. Let them sit on the couch and cuddle with you, and allow them to familiarize with your new friends.
- Change in Weather
The change in seasons could spur a lot of changes – in routine, appetite, and also mood. Depending on where you live, weather and season changes could factor into a lot of changes for your dog.
Do you live in a particularly cold place? Is it always raining outside? These are some reasons as to why your furry companion could be feeling low or behaving grumpily. Being cold is not so much fun when all you want to do is play!
If that’s the case, then you need to make sure that your dog’s body temperature remains active during the cold seasons, too. Besides daily exercise, you can buy your dog a blanket to keep them warm, or as a token for how much you love them.
What if My Dogs Get Depressed?
If your dogs get depressed, or have displayed any of the above signs, then you might be a bit concerned. A depressed dog can have a huge toll on the overall atmosphere of a household.
Dogs – usually characterized as bouncy, playful and happy creatures – are quite a sad sight to see if they appear depressed and uninterested.
If your dog seems to no longer seem interested in activities that you used to enjoy together, then there are some things you can do to cheer them up.
The first thing you need to do is take your dog to a local vet or one that you’re familiar with. There, the vet can help you determine whether the ailment is indeed depression. You might be surprised to find out that your dog is simply suffering from an upset stomach! A trip to the vet will help you figure out what’s wrong with your dog.
If your dog seems to be
Are they getting regular exercise? Is your dog following a routine that they’re able to keep up with? Are they receiving enough love and attention? If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, then there are a couple of things you need to work on with your dog.
Things You Can do to Cheer Your Dog Up
First thing’s first: establishing a routine is super important for your dog. Anticipation can lead to anxiety, as they’re unsure when their next walk is, or when their next meal is.
Dogs have a biological clock which reminds them when it’s time to do a certain thing. Teaching command words like “Let’s go!” and “Here boy!” can also trigger some responses in your dog – if you don’t have the luxury of time to establish a routine (perhaps you have a demanding job).
Having a new routine can help divert your dog’s attention from whatever negative feelings they are experiencing. Stick to a certain time to feed them and go for walks. Take your dog to a park, give them extra treats – only when they’re acting happy! Giving your dog a treat when they’re sulking might encourage them to sulk around some more.
Does My Dog Need Medical Attention or a New Puppy?
Usually, the best thing you can do for yourself or your dog when experiencing depression is to try a new lifestyle. Even taking a simple ten-minute walk has been proven to improve happiness levels in both humans and
If you notice that your dog is still depressed, weeks or months into your lifestyle reboot, then perhaps you could ask your vet if your dog needs further treatment.
Some vets prescribe antidepressants to dogs with traumatic experiences, to help them overcome their severe depression.
Other pet owners recommend getting a new puppy or pet to keep give your dog some company. While this could work for some pet owners, it’s not necessarily usually the case. Some dogs fall into further depression if there’s a newcomer to the house. This could be because your attention is suddenly divided, or because your dog is experiencing jealousy.
The most important thing for you to do is to give it time. If your dog is behaving antisocial for a couple of days or weeks, then it could be possible that they’re just looking for time to recharge.
For example, if you find your dog lying down with a sad look and his head rested on his paws, then you might think that he’s sad. However, for your dog, this could simply mean that he’s quietly resting, especially if they’ve exercised.
It’s not uncommon for pets to experience depression every now and then – whether it’s because of physical illnesses or a change in lifestyle. But the fact is, dogs rarely suffer from long-term depression.
Have you noticed any of the above signs of depression in your dog before? What do you do to cheer them up?
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