Try to engage in fun activities with your dog, like games, fun tricks, and general training. There may be no underlying root cause for depression in your dog that you can pinpoint, however a variety of factors and life events can potentially lead to your dog becoming depressed and unhappy for a time. “Keep them engaged, do more of the things they like to do, get them a little more exercise, and they should be fine,” he said. If there isn't an underlying medical condition, then I'd try increasing my dog's activity levels as a way to ensure my dog's mood improves. In dogs, depression is not exactly the same complex clinical disorder that it is in people. Check for physical problems first, but if you can’t find anything and the symptoms continue, he may be depressed. Eastern Shore Hospital, 2020, Kaur, Gagandeep et al. (Picture Credit: Cavan Images/Getty Images) This … Your vet will be able to determine if the depression has a physical cause. What Can We Learn from Pets with Mental Illnesses? You may also consider letting your dog play with other dogs or go to doggie daycare. You may believe you are your dog’s whole world, and you basically are! This is not inherently bad, but do try not to coddle or overly comfort your dog. As a loving dog owner, you will be relieved to learn that you can actually help your dog if it is addressed. Some dogs will stop eating or eat much less than usual. Eventually, some depressed dogs can lose drastic amounts of weight and develop a variety of physical illnesses. Loss Of Interest In Playing Or Going For A Walk. BMJ, doi:10.1136/vetreco-2015-000146. Remember that the right place to begin is with your veterinarian. There are also some dogs who will eat a lot more when they get depressed, because dog food can serve as a comfort to them.If your dog has experienced extreme weight loss in a short amount of time, there might be a chance there is a chemical imbalance caused by clinical depression. While depression isn't typically diagnosed in dogs, vets and behaviourists want owners to become more aware of the signs to look out for.With the right support and treatment, you can help your beloved pup through a period of low mood. You may not realize it, but dogs do grieve the loss of a companion. Dogs, like humans, can suffer from depression. It is very important to try your best to stay on schedule and stick to your normal routine. This can give your dog a sense of security and boost his confidence. Reality: Blind dogs enjoy walks and going outside and going on car rides! I've found that a loss of family member can be extremely stressful and a cause of depression. Depression, unfortunately, is something that can affect dogs just as much as it affects humans and is a very common issue for many dog owners. 8. Dogs can be depressed because of grief, such as if a member of the family has passed away. Some dogs get depressed when being aged. So if a dog seems sad, are they depressed or reflecting their pet parent’s mood? However, there are some common triggers that may or may not lead to depression in your dog. If your dog is acting out of character, first rule out a health problem by a trip to the vet, before assuming the problem is low mood." READ MORE: What Can We Learn from Pets with Mental Illnesses? Keep feeding times and amounts the same, and take her on plenty of walks so that she can get enough exercise. However, dogs can certainly experience depression. However, never jump to conclusions. Take some time to bond with your dog. These behavioral or … Just as with humans, some dogs get depressed as a result of a chemical imbalance or fluctuation. Veterinary Record Open, vol 3, no. Canines are usually able to get over dog depression on their own, with loving attention from their owners. You may find that some shorter-term techniques quickly change your dog's behavior. If you're concerned about your furry companion, look out for these five warning signs of depression in dogs: When dogs become depressed, they often eat less or even stop eating. And just like any other dog, they’ll become your best friend! It's important to verify whether or not your dog is sick or has a chemical imbalance that should be treated with medication. We look at pets as being a part of the family and because of this, it really takes a toll on us when we see them diagnosed with depression and begin to misbehave. It could be a physical injury, or it could be purely emotional. Dogs alter our behavior. When introducing a new puppy or dog to your other dog(s), they can even exhibit signs of depression. While it is true that depression in dogs often resolve on its own after a short time, it is important to be proactive with dog's with depression. The reasons may be different. Dog personalities are as individual as human personalities, so their reasons for feeling upset or depressed may vary. Slow deterioration and loss of initiative are definite clues that something is bothering your dog. Blind dogs also benefit a lot from living with other dogs … Could your dog be depressed? As you progress into the training program, specific activities will be outlined to help you deal with this issue. If this is happening to your dog, you need to address it right away by taking them to the veterinarian for a check up and possible diagnostics. Excessive sleeping could signify depressed behavior. They might be less interested in doing something that previously they love. They can even lose interest in play. Depression can also be triggered from major changes in the dog's routine whether it is a new baby, new pet, or even moving into a new house. Just like sighted dogs, they love being around people and other dogs. If none of these activities seem to be helping, your vet may still be able to help. As a pet owner, how do you fight an invisible, inner enemy? They may drink only minimal amounts of water and lose interest in play. Separation anxiety is very common and could also be addressed with a veterinarian. It's well-known that dogs form strong emotional bonds with members of their human family, and often suffer grief when a loved one dies or moves away. Dogs get depressed just like people do. Dogs can be incredibly sensitive to events and changes that happen around them which is why most often dogs develop depression that is situational. If some of the major changes are triggering anxiety and you've put your finger on the source of the problem - try working with your veterinary behaviorist or a trainer on techniques that decrease these triggers. Like humans, some dogs can occasionally suffer from bouts of depression. Have you noticed lately that your dog's energy level has dropped, his eating and sleeping habits aren't the same, or he's not as interested in the things he used to be interested in? Understanding Depression In Canines, The Use Of Fluoxetine By Veterinarians In Dogs And Cats: A Preliminary Survey. If your dog is dealing with any of these changes and exhibiting the signs listed above, depression is the likely culprit. Although dogs do not have the same capacity for reasoning as we humans, it doesn't mean they cannot experience depression. Depressed dogs will often lick their paws to soothe themselves. If several months go by and your dog is still depressed or experiencing anxiety, a vet might prescribe medical treatment. As we mentioned previously, first, take your dog to the vet to make sure these symptoms are not caused by a physical ailment. Sometimes depression is weather related. Yet, sometimes, it is because they feel that their time is nearly up. Because dogs are genetically tuned to bond closely with their human owners, this can, in … Your vet will help you rule out any health issues or physical problems. And reward them when they show signs of happiness, Beaver said. I would do anything to turn my dog's sadness around! Loss of Interest. However, one might wonder if dogs … I would come through the … Is My Dog Depressed? * Due to the fact that you have a life, new circumstances - meet a new family member. You might come home from work and find that your dog doesn't want to get out of bed. When dogs are depressed, they often appear sad, lethargic, and withdrawn. There's a lot you need to know to make things go smoothly with your new friend. In particular wintery conditions, it may not be feasible to take your dog for a walk. Antidepressants like Prozac are only given to dogs with severe cases of depression, and usually for short periods of time. Key triggers to look out for include: Loss of a family member (human or animal) can affect dogs and other animals just as much as people. MYTH: Blind dogs are depressed and don’t do anything. Some vets will prescribe a drug like fluoxetine (Prozac) though this is not right for all dogs. You may also consider seeking the help of an animal behaviorist. It's possible your dog is depressed. Maybe this is in part the reason why most dogs don’t seem to miss their puppies – they know, in ways that a lot of human moms don’t seem to, when it’s time to let go. Understanding Depression In Canines. If your dog has experienced extreme weight loss in a short amount of time, there might be a chance there is a chemical imbalance caused by clinical depression. So what should you do if your usually happy dog has the symptoms of depression? Now two years into a project to train dogs to go into an MRI — fully awake — so that we can better understand how their brains work, I believe the answer is: Yes, dogs miss us when we’re gone. Medications are sometimes thought of as a last resort, but there are cases when they are the best option. If your dog suddenly starts hiding from you or wants to be left alone, that's a strong indication that something is bothering her. Too much coddling and comforting on your part may actually reinforce the sad behavior. Losing a pet is a sad and stressful situation for everyone, including the other dogs in the household. Sometimes, new dogs can be a source of stress and agitation for a current dog which creates more problems. Issue a calm reprimand. As a pet owner, bringing a new four-legged family member home can be exciting! There are also some dogs who will eat a lot more when they get depressed, because dog food can serve as a comfort to them. Here’s a typical scenario back when we had dogs. A major symptom of depression in dogs is no longer showing interest in going for walks, nor in all the other activities your dog used to enjoy. Depression in dogs is typically observed through behavioral changes that can’t be explained by any other health issues. Dog Depression Treatments. If there’s a sudden change, like the kids going to school or you taking extra shifts, you might notice that your dog seems sad all of a sudden. If it seems like your dog is displaying excessive licking or biting behavior, he may be depressed. Do Dogs Get Depressed When You Get a New Dog? Dog Depression Dog depression affects a number of pets. So when you’re feeling sad because you’ve lost a beloved pet, your dog is feeding off your sadness. Has your dog ever gone through depression? Significant changes in your life can directly affect their life. If the vet finds that your dog is physically healthy, the best thing you can do is maintain the routine that you and your dog had before the traumatic event, to get her back to a sense of normalcy. Do dogs even get depressed? If the timing is right for your family, you may consider getting another dog. Why Do Dogs Get Depressed? If that’s the case, they may discuss canine anti-depressants with you or recommend other courses of … Proceed carefully. Exercising with your dog is a wonderful way to begin.. The Spruce Pets uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. However, what we can say is that dogs do show symptoms of what looks like depression. It's natural that you will want to pay more attention to your dog when he is depressed. 1, 2016, p. e000146. So, is your dog depressed? Well, it could be that your dog is depressed. Generally speaking, when we speak of a depressed dog we are referring to a dog who is exhibiting a change in behavior that manifests as decreased interest in normal activities or a change in interaction with his family. 15+ Popular Stores You Didn't Know Were Dog Friendly, Pets Becoming Fake Service Dogs is a Serious Problem, Separation Anxiety in Dogs: 6 Breeds That Hate Being Alone, New Giant Mattress Is 12 Feet Across, Perfect for All the Pets. Why Your Dog Seems Sad and Depressed All of a Sudden Just like humans, dogs react to their environment. If you are dealing with the death of one of your dogs, there are several things you can do to help your remaining dog (or dogs) get through this difficult time. However, for your existing pups, they may need help adjusting to a new dog. Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, 2020, Can My Pet Get Depressed?. The first step is recognizing the problem. That will only encourage it to be repeated. When dogs are depressed, they often appear sad and withdrawn. Just like humans, dogs get depressed due to a number of factors – all of which we will discuss within this article. Again, these depression symptoms are remarkably similar to humans. This is a tricky question to answer because dogs can’t talk. Often, the first step to doing this is getting your dog in for a veterinary visit. The good news is that you can help to alleviate your dog's depression and get him or her feeling better again. Trying to help a dog that is depressed is important to that pet's quality of life, health and happiness. If your dog suddenly loses interest in playing, going for walks, and other things that … Any dog is susceptible to depression, but it seems dogs showing symptoms also faced a life-changing event such as a move to a new home, change of owners, new addition to the family or another pet recently died. On the other hand, old age is also another symptom of depression in dogs. It’s like, “Okay, I’ve done all I can here, now scoot!” It’s the human equivalent of getting them packed up and off to university. Is My Dog Depressed? Also, consider natural remedies including flower essences and a calming essential oil diffuser. Like humans, when dogs get depressed, they often sleep a lot more than they usually do. For example, dogs in such situations sometimes go into depression and reject food and attention until they eventually die. However, this could make things worse if your current dog does not accept the new dog. Most dogs bounce back from depression within a few days to a few months with just a little extra TLC, said Ciribassi. Because depression symptoms mimic many illnesses, the first thing to do is get your pup to the vet. Do not pet, cuddle, baby talk or otherwise reward the dog after the aggressive behavior. This may be helpful if your dog is depressed because of losing a companion. If you are ill or unwell, this may cause depression in your dog as dogs tend to be extremely attached to their human family. If your veterinarian does not think a physical illness is the culprit, consider making some changes at home to try to make life fun again. * If you notice any major changes in your life, try to gradually prepare the dog. Some advice from veterinarian, Pippa Elliott MRCVS: "Dogs do get depressed, for sure. Tell us how you handled it in the comments below. Canine depression can often be triggered by the loss or departure of a family member, either a human or another pet. Continue to try to engage her with activities she used to enjoy, like going to the dog park, and make sure you pay her extra attention. Do Dogs Get Depressed? If you suspect your dog is depressed, start with a veterinary appointment to identify the causes of your dog's depression. The Use Of Fluoxetine By Veterinarians In Dogs And Cats: A Preliminary Survey. Krista is a dog lover, freelance writer, and contributor to The Spruce Pets for nearly 6 years. Signs of depression can look very similar to signs of illness. When dogs become depressed, they often eat less or even stop eating. It could be triggered by something major such as a move into a new home, a death of a pet sibling or an addition of a new family member to the household such as a baby or another pet. There are several potential causes of depression in dogs. Still, your dog is accustomed to a specific lifestyle. © Copyright 2020, WOS, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Read our, The Spruce Pets uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Partly, it is because they do not have the similar energy as those young puppies. By using The Spruce Pets, you accept our, 6 Things Your Vet Wants You to Know (But Won't Tell You), How to Stop Your Dog From Peeing in the House, Ways to Help Your Itchy Dog With Allergies. Read on to find out reasons why dogs get depressed, and what you can do to get … Depression is not more prevalent in one breed over another.