If you have a dog, you know how our furry friends express themselves, like humans. That said, your little pal can also become sad and withdrawn when feeling stressed out. This can lead to depression that can linger for too long if not addressed.
When this happens, making them happy and relaxed is crucial. If this lingers too long, you might need to visit your vet. However, you can also try a few habit-changing exercises to get them back to normal.
Now, here's a big question, how to tell your dog is sad? In this article, we go through the main signs of depression in dogs and what to do if you think your doggo is suffering.
Do dogs get depressed?
Before we get into the signs to look out for and what to do if your dog is suffering from a case of the blues, we need to answer the important question, can dogs get depressed? The answer is, sadly, yes. A man’s best friend can, unfortunately, suffer from depression. This article will help you navigate your pup’s potential sadness and how to make your dog feel better.
Why do dogs get depression?
Dogs can become sad for many reasons, perhaps after the loss of a family member, a teenager going off to college or the passing of another dog in the house. Turns out, dogs can get very attached to people and other pets. So, any slight change in the relationship can take them into depression.
Signs your dog may be depressed:
As you’re here, you’ve probably asked yourself, is my dog depressed? By noticing and addressing the five signs below, your dog should feel better in no time.
The most common sign that shows depression in your dog is tiredness. The dog will stay in one place or lay around often rather than interact with other people in the house. Also, if your dog is sleeping too much, it can be because of their age but if you notice a sudden change in their sleeping pattern, it can be due to depression.
A change in appetite
A sad and stressed dog may not show interest in food or drink. They may suddenly stop eating their food. However, they might show interest in human food. If you find they have sudden cravings or any abrupt change in appetite, it can be due to depression.
Runs away or hides
If your dog is sad, it may go into hiding more. You can see them sleeping under the bed or in the closet. If you notice this behaviour more, it is a sign of depression. Also, if you see them disappearing suddenly or withdrawing in odd places in the home, it can be because of sadness. Give them some time. Play games with them and give them attention to make them feel happier.
Licking their paws
When a dog is depressed, they may lick their paws more often. This is one of the calming methods for dogs. A constant licking shows that your dog is trying to comfort itself. Secondly, it can also show some medical issues. So, it's better to visit a vet and get it checked.
A lack of interest in daily activities
If your dog doesn’t want to play or go for walks, this shows that your dog is down in the dumps. Try playing with them, taking them on a walk, or giving them extra attention.
What to do if your dog shows signs of depression
Firstly, well done for noticing and caring – now you’ve seen these signs, it’s time to help your dog get back to its normal, happy self. Here are five tips for what to do if you think your dog may be sad:
Maintain a healthy routine
Dogs thrive in a good routine. Try to keep their feeding, walking, and play times consistent. If they’re not up for their usual walks, try to go on shorter, smaller walks.
Socialise with other dogs
Some dogs could feel lonely, especially if they are the only pet in the house. If you have friends with dogs or have access to a dog park, let your dog socialise with other dogs. Let them walk and play together – it could be a huge help.
Keep a close eye on their symptoms
As we’ve covered, dogs with depression may show signs like loss of appetite, lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed, excessive sleeping, or changes in behaviour. Keep an eye on these – note any major changes, good or bad. You may want to take this information to a vet if needed.
Spent lots of time with your dog, and give them loads of attention
More time should be spent with your dog. Play with them, go on walks, or simply talk with them. Although they can’t speak to us, they will love the affection and attention you give them. They may feel better as a result of this.
And finally, see a vet
If your dog shows the signs above, and the tips we have been through haven’t helped, take your pup to the vet. They may have medication or further advice which could drastically improve your dog's life.
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We hope you found this article helpful. It can be a stressful time if you think your dog has depression, but you are doing the right thing by looking for ways to make your dog feel better.