Dog depression after moving: what to do?

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In this blog we will discuss what are some of the things that you can do to help your dog cope with depression after moving. 

We will also discuss what are some signs that your dog is depressed and why dogs often get depressed. 

Dog depression after moving: what to do?

If your dog has been depressed after moving, here are a few things you can do:

  • Take your dog to the vet
  • Eliminate the possibility of a physical problem
  • Make the environment familiar
  • Get your dog exercising
  • Spend quality time with your dog
  • Take care of your own mental health

Moving can be a stressful event for the human beings as well as the dogs themselves. Big changes in the dog’s life and environment such as changes in daily routine, or life, house and location are another common cause of depression. 

Dogs like consistency and for them their daily routine is everything, when things change in their routine or when things become unfamiliar like a new house and a new space- they tend to become anxious and can trigger depression. 

Thus, it is possible that your dog could be depressed due to big changes such as moving homes, new neighbours, new work schedule, people moving in and out of the house or the family.

Here are a few steps that you can take if you notice your dog depression:

Take your dog to the vet

The first thing you can do is to take your dog to the vet to have her examined. It is important that you make note of all behaviour changes in your dog and give a full account of these changes to your vet. 

A trip to the vet should also include a thorough examination- some blood tests and maybe an x-ray if a damaged bone is suspected to be the cause of their distress. 

Make sure that you let your doctor also know any changes in appetite, or aggression etc so that your doctor can help you in this aspect as well. 

Eliminate the possibility of a physical problem

The next important thing is to eliminate the possibility of a physical problem that could be causing distress to your dog.

This will require collaboration and cooperation with your doctor in getting tests and assessments required. This should be done to eliminate any underlying diseases and get the right treatment for your dog.

At some point, if there are no physical issues with your doctor- your doctor might ask your vaiors questions about the situation and environment related to your dog. 

Make the environment familiar

If there are no physical issues that are causing changes in behaviour, it is most likely that your dog is stressed because of the move. 

Take stock of the environment and make an effort to make the environment as familiar to them as possible. 

This could be by making them a small den with their favourite blankets as well as some of your old clothes. Get your dogs favourite toys and add them to this space made for them. 

Get your dog exercising

Active dogs require exercise for both their mental and physical needs to keep their brain engaged and challenged for a healthy life.

So make sure that your dog goes out as often as possible and do as many exercises as possible so that she can get the exercise as well as sufficient vitamin D.

Take supplements to improve appetite

Make sure that you talk to your doctor about various steps that you can take to improve your dog’s appetite. If there has been changes in the meal or the diet they take- revert back to the same meal that they are used to. 

Spend quality time with your dog

It is possible that your dog could be stressed and depressed and are in need for your support and presence for comfort.

So try to spend a good amount of time with your pet. If you are working, have the dog spend time in the same room or you can even spend some time playing games and cuddling with them or giving them pets for a sufficient time. 

Take care of your own mental health

There has been some research that links human companions’ mental health and that of their pets; pets often mimic our own experiences. Moving can be a stressful period for the human companion and this can be picked up by your pet. 

It is important that you take care of your own mental health as well. You can get the help you need for your own mental health as well as make changes in your own life such as a healthier routine, diet, exercise etc- for your own mental health. 

What are some signs that your dog is depressed after moving?

Some common signs of depression in dogs include:

  • Hiding and avoiding is a classic sign that your dog is struggling with something. If you are witnessing avoidance behaviours from you, hiding, and non responses from your otherwise active and receptive dog, it is possible that your dog is going through a hard time- be it because of physical illness or because of depression. 
  • Your dog’s avoidance means that your dog is stressed and doesn’t want to be a part of the action or is preoccupied with their pain or the stress that they cannot engage with others. 
  • Another sign that your dog is depressed or that something is wrong is having a lack of interest in things your dog would have otherwise got excited about. This can manifest in various ways such as refusing to play, not taking notice of their favourite words, toys, or door knocks.
  • Another possible sign is a change in appetite. It has to be mentioned that changes in appetite is a very common symptom of a lot of other health issues. Depression can make them lose their appetite, refuse to eat, as well as show disinterest in their favourite foods. 
  • Another sign is sleeping too much. A change in sleeping habits can also indicate depression, so if your dog suddenly laying in, staying in her bed, and napping a lot more than usual, it is indicative of something wrong- it might not exactly be depression but there is something bothering your pet.
  • If you have been noticing that your dog is licking their lips, chewing their paws, yawingling, grooming themselves too much could be inactive of stress- this is their way of grooming themselves and calming themselves. 

If your dog is showing such behaviours, it is possible that they are trying to pacify themselves from the stress and could be an individual that is troubled or depressed. 

These are some signs that your dog could be depressed however, it has to be mentioned that you spot multiple signs to rule out coincidences and context. 

You also have to rule out chronic pain and underlying diseases to confirm that your dog is depressed or not. 

Why do Dogs get depressed after moving?

Here are some possible causes of depression in dogs include:

Loss 

One of the main causes of depression in dogs include bereavement when the lose people in their lives. Moving away can cause them to lose people they are familiar with- people and other pets around the space of their old home. 

Dogs also go through a grieving period after loss and for them grieving periods in dogs can actually last a lot longer than in us since human beings have the capacity to come to terms and recover however, for animals due to their limited understanding they have a harder time. 

Big Changes

Big changes in the dog’s life and environment such as changes in daily routine, or life, house and location are another common cause of depression. 

Dogs like consistency and for them their daily routine is everything, when things change in their routine or when things become unfamiliar- they tend to become anxious and can trigger depression. 

Thus, it is possible that your dog could be depressed due to big changes caused by moving homes.

Stress

It is also possible that your dog is depressed because of heightened stress in their lives due to the moving and all the other people moving in and out of the house- the movers- that is causing them anxiety and depression. 

Neglect

Dogs tend to quickly develop very close bonds with their human companion and if your dog isn’t receiving enough of your attention or is feeling left out, it is possible that your dog could be stressed and depressed. 

If moving homes is causing you to neglect them or not be able to spend so much time with them, it could be because you are leaving them alone for too long which could be stressing them out. 

Human companions mental health

Moving can be a stressful period for the human companion and this can be picked up by your pet. 

There has been some research that links human companions’ mental health and that of their pets; pets often mimic our own experiences and because dogs  are very smart they can pick out these subtle changes and this can stress them out. 

Conclusion

In this blog we will discuss what are some of the things that you can do to help your dog cope with depression after moving. 

We will also discuss what are some signs that your dog is depressed and why dogs often get depressed. 

FAQ related to dog depression after moving

Why is my dog sad after moving?

Big changes in the dog’s life and environment such as changes in daily routine, or life, house and location are another common cause of depression. Moving can be a stressful time as well as dealing with these changes can be troubling for them. 

Dogs like consistency and for them their daily routine is everything, when things change in their routine or when things become unfamiliar- they tend to become anxious and can trigger depression. 

How long does it take a dog to adjust to a new home?

A dog might take three weeks to a month to get used to a new home.

Are dogs traumatised by moving?

Yes, Moving can be a stressful time as well as dealing with these changes can be troubling for them. 

Dogs like consistency and for them their daily routine is everything, when things change in their routine or when things become unfamiliar- they tend to become anxious and can trigger depression. 

References

Lisa Joyner. 11 signs your dog is depressed. Country Living. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/pets/a30608033/dog-depression/

Do dogs get depressed after moving to a new home? Pet dog owner. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. https://petdogowner.com/do-dogs-get-depressed-after-moving/

New Territory: Can Moving House Affect Your Dog? Biggles. Retrieved on 24th April 2022. https://bigglesremovals.com/uk/blog/can-moving-house-affect-your-dog

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