People who pet dogs can notice that time by the time their dog/dogs seem sad, uninterested in playing, eating, and express other symptoms which remind depression.
In this article, we will discuss dog depression, its symptoms, and the ways to treat it, which can help you to return the joy to your dog.
The Symptoms of Dog Depression
Sometimes some dogs can suffer from depression as human beings do. Here are the signs of dog depression:
Dog depression assumes appetite changes. If your dog is depressed, he can eat less or much more than usual, or stop eating at all.
If you notice an extreme weight loss in a short time, there may be a dog depression.
When dogs struggle with depression, they also sleep more than usual, like people do. In average, dogs sleep about 12-14 hours per day, what about puppies, they sleep 18-20 hours per day.
So, if your dog being adult, sleeps like a puppy, it can be a signal that he has a dog depression.
Loss of interest
If you notice that your dog lost interest in things and activities that he used to enjoy, it can be a sign of depression.
Those activities can include going for a walk, playing, and others.
As you know, dogs are friendly and social animals.
So if your dog hides from you, and prefers to be alone, it can mean that he has got a physical or psychological injury (here- depression).
Dog depression can be expressed by extreme licking too.
However, you should also keep in mind that the reason why your dog licks his paws much can be eczema, a bacterial infection, or another physiological reason.
However, if the dog excessively licks his paws, and if there are other symptoms too, then it can mean that he has a dog depression.
Causes of Dog Depression
Dogs are individuals like human personalities, so the reasons why they can feel depressed, are different too.
So, the causes of your dog depression can be:
Moving to a new house can be a reason why your dog suffers from depression.
The dog can have adaptation difficulties because he could have his secret places to hide the bones or places to play, and changing the environment can cause adaptation difficulties.
New family member
If you have a new roommate, baby, or a spouse, your dog may be jealous and get depressed; but this will last till your dog gets used to the new family member.
Loss of a loved one
If a dog’s owner or a close person dies or leaves home, the dog can grieve and show depression symptoms and separation anxiety.
However, not all dogs grieve in the same way: it is possible that he comes to you and tries to lick to make you feel better.
If you get a new pet and start spending time playing with him, you can notice depression signs in your dog because of jealousy.
This can take a short time till your dog forms a relationship and maybe becomes friends with the new pet.
Change in schedule
Changes in your job schedule make significant changes in your dog’s life, too (time of going for a walk, eating, or playing), which is another possible cause for dog depression.
Dogs are empathetic animals; they can feel what we feel and can mimic our feeling.
Showing depression signs can mean that your dog is responding to your depression.
Health problems can make your dog act depressed. You should take your dog to a veterinarian to check if he has an illness or not.
The dog may suffer from a mental illness, clinical depression, or other health problems.
Treatment of Dog Depression
It is not always possible to help your beloved pet yourself, but in cases when it comes to an acute as well as a chronic form of the disease, it is necessary to be careful and involve entrepreneurs in the necessary measures.
The treatment includes the following methods:
- First of all, it is worth contacting the clinic to determine the cause of the pathological condition. The dog may be tormented by the pain accompanying severe diseases of the internal organs or physical trauma.
- The dog must be protected from any shocks. If previously noisy companies regularly gathered in your house, now you should refuse it.
- Give the pet as much attention as possible so that he does not feel abandoned.
- You can supplement the collection of dog toys with something new that will take his attention and cheer up.
- Walk with the dog more often, perhaps a lack of fresh air and daylight became the reason for the development of his ailment. You can bring your dog to a quiet park or forest, which will positively affect his health.
- If the cause of the disorder is the loss of a friend, you should consider acquiring a puppy. You can also invite other dog lovers for a walk, introduce your dog to other dogs.
- Do not shout at the animal and do not punish; this may aggravate the situation. It is quite reasonable in such a condition that the dog behaves strangely.
- In severe cases, you can give soothing infusions of herbs; this will protect the body from the effects of stronger drugs and will allow your pet to recover much faster.
If the disorder has turned into a clinical form, and the dog still is not interested in games, walks, the owner’s extreme care does not care – it is time to connect the medications.
Such treatment can last from a month to a year; fortunately, addiction is not threatened, since the person determines the duration of the course.
What to Do If My Pet Suffers from a Dog Depression?
Not only human beings but also any animal wants to feel needed; dogs are no exception.
If possible, your dog should be limited from shocks, because he can perceive changes acutely.
If your pet suffers from a dog depression, you should:
- Keep his things, rubber bones, and bowls in one place, and give food at the same time.
- If you plan to move, it is worth several times to visit a new place of residence with a furry friend. The regular appearance of his toys and objects in the new house will accelerate the process of adaptation.
- When a new family member appears in the house, your dog should get to know him – to sniff, examine. With this approach, the likelihood of illness even the most closed, afraid of strangers individuals, is significantly reduced.
- A loyal dog, who always joyfully greets the owner at the doorstep, awaits joy and gratitude in return. Do not ignore his impulses. The more attention he gets, the less likely it is that your pet will suffer from dog depression.
- As soon as you notice the first changes in the behavior of the pet, make sure that he does not have any pathologies. The longer painful sensations will torment him, the higher the likelihood that he will become depressed.
Recommended books and sources
- A Dog’s Purpose
- HFNE “I Hate Dogs”
- HFNE “I Hate My Dog”
- The Complete Dog Breed Guide
- The Dog Encyclopedia (DK)
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.
FAQs about dog depression
How do you know if your dog is depressed?
You can know that your dog is depressed if he shows the following signs:
– Appetite changes,
– Sleep changes,
– Loss of interest,
– Extreme licking,
– Hiding and avoiding contacts.
Can having a dog help with anxiety and depression?
Having a dog can help with anxiety and depression.
According to some studies, dogs reduce anxiety, depression, and stress; they also ease loneliness.
Some people who suffer from anxiety or depression, choose one of the service dog breeds (psychiatric service dog or emotional support animal), to support their therapy.
Can animals die from depression?
Animals can die from depression.
For example, when dogs lose their owner or a partner, he can grieve and stop eating and drinking food, which can lead to death.
Can a dog be suicidal?
A dog can be suicidal.
As we mentioned above, he can refuse eating because of dog depression, which not necessarily, but can lead to death.
Do dogs get jealous?
Dogs get jealous; it is possible to notice when you bring a new pet home.
Your dog can feel jealousy and get depressed, seeing that you play with another pet.
Can a dog die if left alone?
A dog can die if it is left alone for many days without food. In other cases, you can leave your dog home alone for 12 hours, but the thing is that your dog can get sad and stressed.
Research showed that it is too long to leave dogs alone for 10-12 hours; even though dogs often adapt to their owner’s routine, if it were up to them, they would avoid being alone, because it is stressful for them.
As you see, dogs can get depressed as people do.
However, if you often caress the animal, walk and play with him, protect him from shocks, then he will be safer from a dog depression.
What we recommend for depression
If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.