Signs Of A Depressed Dog

Signs Of A Depressed Dog

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Dogs can also suffer from depression like humans. This might reveal in a variety of behavioral changes such as in appetite or sleeping patterns. If you are concern about whether your dog is depressed or not, here are the 5 signs of a depressed dog.

Can dogs get depressed?

If dog depression is real, is it the same as human depression? To tell the truth, many veterinary behaviorists and experts say they cannot exactly identify the similarity.

Because unlike people, they can’t ask dogs what they really feel.

However, studies and tests say there’s a few evidence concerning dog’s behavioral changes pointing that depression is the main and only caused.

Well, this is a perfect explanation that dogs really suffer from depression and stress.

What are the causes of dog depression?

There are several factors that contribute to dog depression. In general, this health problem really occurs when there’s a major change in your dog’s daily routine.

To make this clear, I have listed below the few reasons that cause dog depression:

  • A new environment like moving into a new home or place.
  • Adding a new member to your homes like a spouse or a baby.
  • Leaving your dog home alone for a long period of time.
  • Adding a new pet in your households like a cat or a new puppy.
  • Other health problems and illnesses.
  • A loss of an owner or companion.

How can I tell if my dog is depressed?

In order to understand the 5 signs of a depressed dog, you should know everything about your dog’s behavior very well.

Your pet doesn’t have the mental capacity or thinking as people do. But that doesn’t mean they are free to this mental disorder.

Keep in mind that depressed dogs might exhibit symptoms differently, sometimes depending on their breeds.

And if not treated well, it can lead them to some serious diseases or even death.

Sudden Aggression

When we look for signs of a depressed dog, we usually associate it with sadness and a lack of energy.

However, another possible sign is impulsive aggression behavior.

Does your sweet and calm Shih Tzu suddenly start growling and barking to everyone they see? Or did he start acting rogue and have been tearing up your couch, bed, and other furniture?

To deal with these changes, you have to bring your dog to the veterinarian as he might be dealing with an undiagnosed medical problem.

Changes in Sleeping Behavior

Aside from playing with their favorite human, another activity your dog loves to be engaged with is sleeping.

Dogs love to sleep. In fact, an average adult dog sleeps from 12 to 14 hours per day.

Meanwhile, puppies sleep about 18 to 20 hours. If you notice that your dog is sleeping more or less than usual then it can be a sign of a depressed dog.

Sleeping too much might be a hint that your dog is bored and longing for your attention. While sleeping less might be related to an underlying disease.

Excessive Licking

Their grooming behavior is what usually differentiates dogs from cats. Cats are meticulous groomers and prefer to clean themselves.

While for dogs, excessing licking or their coat or paw might be an indication of psychological problems.

According to veterinarians, excessive licking or chewing is self-soothing to dogs.

But can also be a sign that they are suffering from physical pain, skin problems, and bacterial infections.

So if your dog starts grooming like a cat, a visit to the vet is worth considering.


Does your dog start hiding from you when you arrive from work or school? Or do they suddenly want to be alone by themselves? Avoidance or hiding is a probable sign of depression in dogs.

It might be caused by a negative punishment that left your dog in emotional trauma.

This sign can’t be ignored as it might lead to other unwanted behavior. If your dog exhibits this behavior, make sure to discipline your dog correctly next time by doing positive reinforcement behavior training.

Changes in Appetite

Just like in humans, dogs might overindulge in food to comfort themselves or avoid eating at all when they are depressed. This can lead to obesity or extreme weight loss.

Appetite changes are never a good sign and can also be a manifestation of serious medical disease.

So if you notice this behavior change, best to check with your veterinarian to rule out any possible disease.

4 Simple ways to comfort a depressed dog

Whenever a person you love is sad or depressed, you find ways to comfort them to ease their loneliness. The same way for a depressed dog.

The only big difference is communication because a dog cannot express their feelings verbally.

That’s why it is very important to understand your dog’s behavior to figure out if there’s something wrong.

Now, assuming your dog is depressed and you figured out some changes with your dog’s attitude or behavior. What would be the first thing to do as a loving dog owner?

Here are the four simple ways to comfort a depressed dog:

  • Spend Extra Time With Your Beloved Dog. Based on my experience, this is probably the simplest way to cheer up a depressed dog. As a dog mom, spending extra time with your pooch is very crucial. Sometimes a big hug, sitting beside them, or watching them eat, is all they need to lift up their mood.
  • Play Some Music! Sounds weird? Did you know that a certain type of music brings a perfect vibe to your dog? According to research, there’s some evidence indicating that dogs love listening to music. If you both love music then this might be the perfect way to comfort a depressed dog.
  • Socialize Your Dog With Other Pets. If the cause of dog depression is a loss of a pet companion, then this is a simple way to fill that void. If you can’t adopt another pet for some reason, the best thing to do is to let your pooch socialize with other pets with your guidance. This can make your dog feel that he or she is not alone.
  • Keep Your Dog Busy! Boredom can lead to dog depression just so you know. Dogs must be sad or depressed simply because of a lack of physical activity. They might feel that there’s something missing in their lives to fulfill their happiness. I suggest you do some experiments to find out what activities they really want and try adding it to your dog’s daily routine.

How dogs recover from depression?

Do dogs need treatment for depression? Yes! as a matter of fact, treating a depressed dog is the same as humans. They simply need attention and medication.

According to studies, depressed dogs typically bounce back from depression within a few days or months depending on the severity.

Sometimes, a perfect bonding with the owner is all they need to recover. Keeping your dog busy and engaged like doing exercise together is an amazing way of treating your dog depression naturally.

However, the same as humans, dogs react differently in treatments. Some tips might work perfectly but some may not.

If this happens, it is better to consult your vet and seek medical help.

Most veterinarians prescribe FDA approved medicine to cure dog anxiety.

If you want to know more about the signs of a depressed dog, this video below is perfect for you!

This video tells about dog depression: Symptoms and What To Do!

There is no conclusive exam to test depression in dogs. That is why it is extremely important to observe any changes in their behavior.

If your dog displays any depression signs like above, it is highly recommended to take him to the vet as soon as possible to make sure that they are not suffering from an illness.

Afterward, you can also seek the help of veterinary behaviorists or trainers to learn the techniques of dog discipline.

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