Can dogs sense depression? (A Comprehensive Guide)


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Page last updated: 27/09/2022

Can dogs sense depression? (A Comprehensive Guide)

This article explores how dogs sense depression and the types of dogs that are best for fighting depression.

Can dogs sense depression?

It appears that dogs have a remarkable ability to anticipate and respond to humans. Before we realize what we need, they know what we require. They play with us, snuggle with us, and go with us every day on journeys. The special bond and ability to understand each other are vital components of the connection between humans and dogs.

Our dogs are not psychics, but they have an extraordinary capacity to perceive our feelings.

Dogs and humans have somewhat similar social structures. We both live in tight-knit communities, protect each other, and are very trustworthy. We both have a sophisticated language that facilitates attachment, including facial expressions, body posture, and vocalizations. Dogs began to interpret human nonverbal language at a certain stage in history. The better our thoughts and feelings were predicted, the more they were compensated with food, shelter, and affection.

Our dogs are smart to track our emotions, with their destinies so connected to our every wish. An extra cuddle or a game of retrieve might mean a good mental state. A negative mood could represent frightening loud sounds and a day spent cowering under a bed. It makes sense for dogs to monitor us so carefully, as our shifting emotions offer valuable hints about what will occur next.

And dogs are phenomenal observers. Best, some might conclude, than humans.

In some respects, however, we depend too heavily on what we’re seeing. Our visual perception is so highly developed that the more innate perceptions of smell, touch, and hearing, which are strongly evolved in dogs, appear to overwhelm them. Often, we are not sure of what we’ve been losing.

And we can’t, finally, see ourselves. According to McConnell, your friends, family, and dogs know your normal gestures, phrases, and ramblings, and you do not.

In particular, dogs are skilled at reading facial expressions. Attempt this mirroring experiment: sit in front of your dog, create a happy face and dramatize it. Your dog is also going to light up: a big smile, comfortable ears, active facial expression. Furrow your brow now, and look strict. Your dog is going to retract, avert her eyes, and look as guilty as the accused.

A psychiatric service dog (PSD) is a special type of service animal that is equipped to support mentally ill people.

Not only are the hearing of a dog more receptive than yours, but a greater spectrum of wavelengths can also be heard. If you’ve ever thought about how your dog appears to be expecting you to come home, this is probably how. Their sensor ears pick up the faint sounds of the slowing vehicles, the pavement footsteps, the jingle of the keys. To us, such sounds can be almost indecipherable.

Your dog will not comprehend every word you say, but your tone of voice is known to her. The different intonations in your voice can be heard by dogs, meaning that you are delighted, antsy, sorrowful, vague, or frustrated. This is why the moment you find the upturned food waste, your dog hangs her head and scuttles away. A sound is worth a million words to an intelligent dog.

A dog’s sense of smell is about a thousand times more delicate than ours. Our dogs probably experience us as an “image” of a composite scent special and complicated as our visual resemblance. Slight changes are evident to your pet in the scent of a person, just as you may recognize a person has lost weight or got a new hairstyle.

This could be one method dogs diagnose disease. Your physiology adjusts when you are ill and distinct chemicals emerge in your breath. This can be sensed by a dog. One manner that seizure-alert dogs recognize that an individual is about to have a convulsion may be alterations in-breath chemicals.

Often “dogs can sense fear” has been said, and this is probably real. You start sweating softly when you are nervous. It may not be noticeable, and you can’t detect it, but it’s possible for a dog.

You will know that your dog smells you are sad because he soothes you and is attached to you than normal. In a non-threatening way, your dog can approach you. Their tail can, for instance, be dropped instead of alert. As a sign of warmth, the dog could put its paws on you. To comfort you, some dogs will realize that you need to snuggle and curl against you. If your dog knows you like kisses, maybe they’ll start licking you and putting their nose on you.

When you are depressed, body language might include tilting their head, lowered tail, raised paw, and licking. Other signs can be playing with you, cuddling with you, and approaching you with care. 

Not always have dogs been such intuitive animals. Actually, dogs haven’t always been dogs. They were wolves initially. The first animals to be tamed were wolves. They became dogs over thousands of years of evolvement.

Depending on how well they reacted to the needs of human beings, Wolves got closer to people. More likely to persist, their genetic lineage were the dogs who were more sensitive to human feelings and needs.

They began to associate the different human scent with the emotions shown by those people. With each one of their senses, they picked up on all the stuff they were observing. Dogs began analyzing the many emotions of humans according to how we appeared, sounded, and smelled. More positive appreciation was given to the dogs who reacted accurately to these signs and formed deeper ties with their humans.

Even dogs can smell cortisol, which defines our level of anxiety. When dogs smell an increase in cortisol, they can respond in a reassuring manner that can reduce anxiety before it builds up. Dogs can create a comforting ambience in a similar manner, no matter where you are. There are 220 million olfactory receptors in dogs, whereas humans have only about 5 million. This is an immense difference!

Dogs have an inherent capacity to detect an immense variety of odors. They can smell as much as 40 feet deep, too. Dogs may be trained to respond to a range of different scents in order to better serve their humans.

Trained professional dogs may be of benefit to those who need a pet for emotional support. In accordance with the type of comfort and support they can offer, emotional support and animals are specially equipped to meet those requirements. To establish unique associations with particular types of scent, dogs are trained. For example, they will refine their capacity to detect the production of sweat and equate it with stress.

Dogs have a warmth that can’t be substituted for anything else. Their special ability to care for their people gives them a remarkable and unusual stability. They bring love and affection and, despite the struggles of life, are a wonderful companion. Happy times will always be here, and dark times will always be there. No matter what, dogs are still there to provide a bond that is indispensable.

Can dogs sense depression? (A Comprehensive Guide)

Dog breeds for depression

Science has proved it. Dogs are perfect for your mental wellbeing.

Researchers found that having a dog helped people struggling with depression feel better and made them more inclined to support others in different studies recently carried out by the Journal of Psychological Research and the Journal of Applied Developmental Science.

Further study has shown that ownership of dogs also decreases blood pressure, increases brain serotonin and dopamine, and even decreases triglycerides and cholesterol.

You know exactly what it means to have a dog and how it has changed your life if you’re a dog owner. But if you’re still on the dog ownership edge and are still having mental health challenges, dogs provide emotional support and warmth and can help relieve isolation, anxiety, and depression.

  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Sweet and friendly, back in the day, King Charles was the dominant power in royal circles, but they don’t really have a monarch’s behavior; they’re just content to be in your company, whether you’re on a nice stroll or cuddled up on a sofa. For those with depression or PTSD, they are exceptional friends.

  • Pug

Sweet and friendly, back in the day, King Charles was the dominant power in royal circles, but they don’t really have a monarch’s behavior; they’re just content to be in your company, whether you’re on a nice stroll or cuddled up on a sofa. For those with depression or PTSD, they are exceptional friends.

  • Standard Poodle

Not only for display, these medium-sized, elegant dogs are awesome, loyal, quick to train, and are appreciated as a perfect mental health buddy.

They are sweet and do very well with humans and animal friends alike, but their primary concern is their loyalty and their owner’s responsibility.

  • Labrador Retriever

The lab is intelligent and compliant with a relaxed attitude, which provides for a top-notch emotional support dog for any mental health problem. In the midst of a caring lab, people with ADD or autism also feel more balanced and comfortable.

  • Pomeranian

These fun dogs have a vibrant and cheerful attitude and are all polite. Plus, their allegiance is strong and committed to their owners. Poms can flourish in almost any environment, are smart and quick to train, and are ideal animals of emotional support for anyone who wants one.

  • Chihuahua

These small dogs score things in intellect and obedience and are extremely alert to visual and auditory signals and orders.

Chihuahuas will stay or move anywhere, like other smaller dogs, and a Chihuahua would never need to quit your side with those who have 24/7 emotional support and mental health requirements.

  • Dachshunds

One of the cutest emotional support animals out there is this low-to-the-ground dog. Dachshunds are born hunters and are mentally aware, with a strong sense of smell. They are polite, trustworthy, and with children, they do extremely well.

  • Irish Wolfhound

Wolfhounds provide a sense of security as well as emotional and physical support.

They are intelligent, trustworthy, sensitive to human feelings, and they would put their lives on the line for their families. But in turn, be patient with them: if they are handled too unfairly, they tend to shut down.

  • Australian Labradoodle

A common mental and physical therapy dog is this mixed breed. Depending on the nature of the dog, it may respond to many distinct needs for mental wellbeing. In particular, Australian Labradoodles are raised for companionship and direction. They have an even keel disposition and are extremely compassionate and caring.

  • Corgi

They have a good instinct to pick up on the feelings of their caregivers and support them appropriately. Wise, adventurous, enthusiastic, and quick to train are those energetic working dogs. Corgis are often recognized at all times for being mindful of their environment, which makes them ideal for individuals who need continuous emotional support.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.


In this article, we explored how dogs sense depression and the types of dog that are best for fighting depression.

FAQ: Can dogs sense depression?

Do dogs get depresses if their owner is also depressed?

Even a change in the routine of the dog, such as a stay-at – homeowner getting a job, will cause a dog to get depressed. But the death of a family companion or the death of an owner are the two most common causes of serious dog depression.

Can you get a dog for depression?

A psychiatric service dog (PSD) is a special type of service animal that is equipped to support mentally ill people. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are among these. A dog, for instance, can help someone with PTSD do room scans or switch on lights.

Is a dog good for depression?

Pets can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, alleviate isolation, promote fitness and cheerfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular fitness. Pets, particularly dogs and cats. Trying to care for an animal will help kids grow up healthy and more involved. For older adults, pets also provide useful companionship


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