Can Your Dog Really Get Depressed?

If you have a dog and you genuinely care for it, then you want to make sure that it is as happy as can be at all times. There is much to look out for here, but one of the main concerns for any dog owner is depression. A dog has a brain like any other mammal, and just like us they can get depressed from time to time. It is a good idea to know what kind of signs to look out for here, so that you can then treat your dog if necessary. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the most common signs of depression in dogs. If you notice any of these in your pooch, you might want to think about getting them checked out.

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Low Activity

A big part of all pet care is ensuring that they get the chance to move around a lot. One of the absolute hallmarks of depression in any animal is a consistently low energy. If your dog suddenly stops wanting to exercise, and instead just lays there all day, you know you might well have a depressed dog on your hands. This can be worrying and distressing to see, but as long as you do something about it early on you should be able to fix the problem. First of all, be sure to try and get them up and moving, so that you can be sure that they are actually suffering from low activity, and not just having an off day. If you really can’t get them moving, then you know you probably have a depressed dog on your hands. Low activity is one of the real sure signs, and something you should not ignore if it persists for any extended period of time.

Lost Interest In Activities

Whatever your dog usually tends to enjoy, if they suddenly stop doing so, you can be sure that they are probably not feeling their best. Exhibiting a sudden loss of interest in their favourite toys, games or location can mean that they are struggling to enjoy life generally. When this happens, you need to act fast to ensure that you get them seen to as soon as possible. You might find this particular symptom especially upsetting, so it is worth making sure that you are doing whatever you can to fix it as early as possible. If you don’t, you might be letting it significantly worsen without even knowing it. Again, do your best to get them interested, but if they aren’t having it, then you should consider taking them to the vet to see what the professional diagnosis might be, if anything.

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Change In Eating Habits

Most of the time, dogs will not have any trouble eating. In fact, dogs usually tend to absolute love eating food, and if there is a sudden change in eating habits then you might have cause for concern. This is especially likely to be true if you try to give them their favourite treats and they won’t even touch it. Similarly, if you notice the exact opposite, it can mean that they are depressed too – in other words, either a loss or a gain of appetite can be a sign of depression, and either way you should absolutely not ignore it. If you can’t get them to return to their normal eating patterns, you should have them checked out. It’s possible they are depressed – but your vet will first need to make sure that it isn’t any other medical issue, such as a physical problem which has caused a change in appetite.

Change In Sleeping Patterns

Along with eating, sleeping patterns are another extremely reliable place to look if you want to know what is going on in your dog. If they are exhibiting a sudden or extreme change in sleeping patterns, it can be due to a number of things – but one of the most likely is that they are experiencing depression, or at least some kind of a mood change. Again, as with any other symptom, it’s worth checking that it is not just a temporary change brought about by something else – so wait a while and then have them checked out if it persists.

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Over-howling or whining could mean that they are experiencing anxiety, which in turn can be a sign of depression – or just of anxiety itself. Either way, you shouldn’t ignore it if your pooch is crying all the time, and in any case you will probably find it impossible to leave them alone if they are.

Sarah x



  1. 19/03/2018 / 15:10

    That’s an interesting post! Thanks for sharing x

  2. 23/03/2018 / 17:02

    I did not know this! Super important to be aware of – it really is like having a child!

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