Symptoms Of Dog Depression
If you know the dog well you might be able to tell if your dog is sad solely based on a facial expression. Do not worry if you skip this sign and notice others. It doesnt mean that youre a bad owner or that your pet is out of touch. Dogs are beings and some are more likely than others to express emotion.
Sleeping More Than Usual And Being Lethargic
- Most dogs are lazy animals who sleep a lot especially when their owners are not around. However, if the dog starts to sleep most of the day especially when the owners are back home and there is hustle and bustle in the home, then your dog might be suffering from depression. Prolonged and unusual sleep can be an indicator of a physical health problem as well. But if there are no signs of physical issues, then excessive sleep can be a sign of canine depression.
Is Some Depression Actually Insulin Resistance
However you can also often avoid depression in your dog by taking care of yourself. Dogs have been bred to be empathic and responsive to human moods, and they may become depressed if their master is showing signs of melancholy . Your dog is watching you so if you are acting anxious and distressed the dog will interpret the state of the world based upon your behavior and conclude that there are things to worry about. That means that it is important to deal with your own low spirits first, and often the resulting change in your behavior may be enough to take care of your dogs moodiness and depression.
Recommended Reading: What Age Can You Be Diagnosed With Bipolar Disorder
Duration Of Dog Depression
According to Dr. Jennifer Coates, DVM, an expert for Pup Life Today, a study published in the November 2016 edition of Animals found that canine mourning behaviors, and how long they last will differ from dog to dog. Their behavior has typically returned to normal within two to six months. For each dog experiencing it, the mourning process varies, similar to humans, lasting from weeks to months.
What Causes Depression And Anxiety In Dogs
A major change or a distressing event in a dogs life can sometimes bring on symptoms of depression and/or anxiety.
For example, the loss of its owner or a companion animal, or even a sense of grief being experienced by those around them, can all affect a dog’s overall emotions.
Big life changes, such as a move to a new house, a new baby or a new pet, may also have an impact on a dog’s emotions. Generally, any significant change to your dogs daily routine may bring on symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Read Also: What Are Examples Of Eating Disorders
Causes Of Depression In Dogs
Just like humans, dogs can become depressed for a variety of different reasons. In this section of the post, we’ll explore some of the most common causes.
Physical illness is a major cause of depression in dogs. Some chronic conditions like arthritis or cancer can cause dogs to feel hopeless, which may lead to depression. Even something as simple as an ear infection might make a dog temporarily stop enjoying life and become lethargic.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s behavior. If your dog is diagnosed with an underlying health condition, make sure to follow your veterinarian’s treatment recommendations closely. Treating the illness should help eliminate any depression symptoms.
If no underlying illness is detected, other factors may be to blame for your dog’s depression. Loss of a family member or pet, moving to a new home, and changes in daily routines are common causes of canine depression.
A fear or phobia can also trigger depression symptoms in dogs. For example, if your dog is afraid of thunderstorms, they might become withdrawn and lethargic during storm season. Other common fears and phobias in dogs include children, unfamiliar people, or specific objects like vacuum cleaners.
Can Dogs Have Depression This Behaviorist Says Yes
Dogs cannot express their feelings in the same way that humans are able to. It is becoming apparent, however, that animals are more emotionally intelligent than some would give them credit for.
Dog depression has been studied since the 1980s when dog behaviorist Nicholas Dodman began experimenting with giving antidepressants to dogs who were displaying some typical symptoms of depression that we see in humans.
Some of the symptoms Dodman saw included loss of appetite, lethargy, not enjoying the things that they normally would, and other abnormal behavior.
Dodman was curious if these dogs lives and moods could be improved with the same hormonal supplements that help people with depression, the assumption being that both come from the same root cause: the chemical balance in the brain.
Thanks to these studies, today we know that canine depression can be treated with drugs such as Prozac. Just like with depression in humans. This tells us that the chemistry inside of a dogs brain and the emotions that are linked to them are indeed the same as the human brain.
Knowing and accepting that dogs can have depression and other mental abnormalities is the first step towards helping your dog get back to its happiest, healthiest self.
You May Like: Can You Be Bipolar And Not Take Medication
Triggers And Treatments For Depression
If you can identify what’s triggering depression in your pet, you’ll learn to spot the symptoms earlier. This will help you figure how to help your pet feel better.
- Environmental Changes As with people, events going on around your pet can cause him to feel depressed and anxious. Changes in a dog’s environment or living circumstances can trigger depression and anxiety. For example, dogs can experience depression and grief when another pet or human member of the household is ill or dies. This is also true when a family member moves away or changes schedules. When summer ends and your dog is suddenly alone most of the day after having children around all summer, symptoms of depression triggered by separation anxiety and loneliness can occur.
- Weather and Seasonal Changes Just as in humans, changes in seasons can have an impact on pet moods, as do periods of extended bad weather. For example, the moods of dogs that live in areas where hurricanes occur can be impacted by the change in atmospheric pressure. Additionally, just as the onset of winter can lead to seasonal affective disorder in some people, it can also an impact on dogs.
- Loss of a Companion This is probably the number one cause of depression in dogs. Dogs create strong emotional bonds with both their fellow dogs whom they see regularly as well as those who care for them. The loss of a friend or loved one is difficult on everyone and this is no different for your dog and they need ample time to grieve.
Symptoms Of Depression In Dogs
Symptoms of dog depression are similar to symptoms that humans suffer from. Dogs can become withdrawn, inactive and change their eating and sleeping habits, like sleep more and eat less. Some dogs may lick their paws excessively to soothe themselves. Many signs of dog’s depression are similar to those of a stressed out dog.
Your pup can show a lack of interest in exercise, walks, playtime and other activities they usually enjoy. You may notice that your dog is hiding or avoiding you. In some cases, dogs with depression can display a sudden onset of aggression and become disoriented or lost, even at home.
Many of these symptoms can also be explained by various medical conditions, which is why it is important to take your dog to the veterinarian to get the proper diagnosis and rule out other diseases or problems before it could be determined that depression is the main culprit.
ALSO READ: 30 Ways to Entertain a Bored Dog
Recommended Reading: Can A Diagnosis Of Schizophrenia Be Reversed
Is Dog Depression A Clinical Condition
While any vet would generally agree with you that dogs have moods and emotions similar to those of people, it is almost impossible to diagnose depression in pets as an illness in itself because it can be so hard to identify. One of the core ways in which human depression is assessed and managed is by means of verbal communication with the patient- something that is of course not possible with dogs and other pets! The other issue to bear in mind is that, unusually, in canine depression, the person best placed to make a diagnosis is you, rather than your vet. You know your own dogs moods and norms and behaviour better than anyone else, and so you are better placed to be able to assess your dogs moods on a daily basis. While your vet can of course guide you and support you in managing depression in your dog, the wide range of variables involved make reaching a definitive diagnosis of clinical depression in dogs almost impossible, which is why it is unlikely that you will see depression listed as an illness in an animals case notes. Depression in dogs is generally dealt with as a behavioural issue rather than a medical issue, as depression often has its root causes in factors within the home or the life of your dog that behavioural assessments can help to pinpoint.
But Excessive Sleepiness Might Also Be A Sign That Something Is Wrong
Some dogs seem to spend all day napping, but you should take note when a formerly energetic pooch seems especially sleepy.
“I have seen some dogs that are mourning for the loss of a loved one be quite subdued and sleep more than would be expected,” Jones said.
If your dog has recently suffered the death of an owner or close human companion, be sure to take note of frequent napping. A dog that doesn’t seem to react to your presence or seems groggy throughout the day may need to be evaluated by a vet.
Don’t Miss: What Is Considered An Eating Disorder
Can Dogs Get Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is described as a mix of different emotions, such as anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, or even rage. There arent any exact definitions for pets, but its just as similar, though difficult to diagnose because not many can identify what dogs are feeling.
However, it DOES happen to dogs after birth and is possible for the new mother to feel sadness or resentment. They would show similar signs of normal depression in the average dog. Here are the major signs to watch out for after delivery:
Give Constant Love And Care
And finally, make sure that your dog knows that you love and care for her. She might think that your attention will be divided with her pups, so continue showering her with the same love as you did before. Be patient and stick with a gradual process as you reintroduce her to her favorite activities and meals.
Try to keep them engaged with playtime and exercise, rewarding them as they show signs of happiness. Do NOT try to be negative or enforce her negative behavior by giving her treats as a bribe to be happy, though!
Depression can happen in all dogs, not just postpartum! Learn about how you can treat it in this informative video:
You May Like: How To Get Through A Panic Attack
Causes Of Depression & Anxiety In Dogs
Our four-legged friends crave routine, which means that any major life changes or distressing events can have a huge impact on their emotional state.
While obviously emotional events such as their owners death or prolonged absence can bring on symptoms of anxiety or depression in dogs, other less extreme events such as a move to a new home, injury or illness, change in routine, or even a new pet or person in the home could be the cause of your pup’s case of the blues.
How To Help An Unhappy Dog
Seriously unhappy dogs may require help from a professional behaviourist, or even medication. However, there are also a number of things we can do to lift our dog’s spirits at home, particularly if they are suffering from the winter blues.
Firstly, it’s important to not reinforce a depressed state by offering treats or rewards to a dog that refuses to go for walks or eat as usual. Instead, spend time doing something your dog enjoys, and reward that healthy behaviour.
Find opportunities to dog with other dogs – visit places where there are likely to be lots of dogs, or join training classes. Socialising can help a dog’s disposition immensely, as other dogs can provide interaction that even the most loving human is unable to.
If a formerly extrovert dog is becoming quieter after being left on his own for periods of time, be aware that he may be suffering from – it may be a good idea to invest in a dog walker or doggie day-care. A plug-in pheromone diffuser can also be a useful way to help your dog feel calmer during periods of change or stress.
Don’t Miss: Does Buspar Work For Panic Attacks
Changes In Sleeping Habits
It’s no secret that dogs sleep a lot, particularly when their owners are gone. However, you should be concerned if you leave your dog for a long time and he continues to sleep after you get home, barely reacting to your presence, something is probably wrong, or if he stays curled up instead of coming to the window or door for things that once attracted him, like the visitors or a passing dog.
Do Dogs Get Depression How To Help Your Sad Dog
AMR Image/Getty Images
Dogs occasionally suffer from bouts of depression. When dogs are depressed, they often appear sad and withdrawn. They can even lose interest in play.
Although dogs do not have the same capacity for reasoning as we humans, it doesn’t mean they cannot experience depression. In dogs, depression is not exactly the same complex clinical disorder that it is in people. However, as a loving dog owner, you will be relieved to learn that you can actually help your dog if it is addressed. Often, the first step to doing this is getting your dog in for a veterinary visit.
Recommended Reading: Who Is Qualified To Diagnose Ptsd
Is My Dog Depressed Or Bored
Some pet owners might dismiss their dogs behavior as boredom. If this is the case, try taking your dog out for activities they used to enjoy and see how they respond.
For sad dogs, this might look like taking them for a car ride or out to the dog park. Perhaps bring one of their favorite toys along with you to see if it sparks any new interest. Take note of any changes to your dogs mood-maybe they needed a change of scenery to get out of the blues!
Causes Of Dog Depression
Beaver said major changes in a dogâs life could lead to periods of depression. Those include moving into a new home, a new spouse or baby in the household, or adding another pet. Even a change in the dogâs schedule, for instance a stay-at-home owner who takes a job, can cause a dog to get down.
But the two most common triggers of severe dog depression are the loss of a companion animal or the loss of an owner. And be careful the dog isnât simply responding to the reactions of other people in the home.
âDogs pick up on our emotions, so if the owner has died, the dog could be responding to the grief of others,â Beaver said. âOr the dog may not be getting the attention heâs accustomed to, which is stressing him out.â
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Ptsd From An Emotionally Abusive Relationship
Can Dogs Get Postpartum Depression How To Handle It
Your dog has just given birth and went through labor with successful delivery, congratulations, its time to celebrate! With a wonderful litter of pups and a healthy mom, its time to enjoy helping your pups grow to beautiful dogs. However, there are some things you have to look into after birth, taking great care of the mom.
Not only will your mama dog go through a lot of physical work caring for her litter, but their emotions will also take a toll. Just like us, they also go through different mental health issues, so it has you wonder, Can dogs get postpartum depression?
Read on as Ill answer if they do go through it and anything else to learn about postpartum depression in dogs.
Consider Getting Her A Companion
If your dog is depressed because of the loss of her furry sibling, getting her another one might be just what she needs to feel whole again.
You should only consider this option if youre confident your dog will thrive having another fur sibling around, though, since not all dogs will be comfortable with a roommate.
Recommended Reading: Can You Get Ptsd From Someone Cheating On You
Anxiety & Depression In Dogs: Causes Symptoms & How To Help
Depression and anxiety can affect dogs, much like humans. Here, our Southeast Memphis vets share what symptoms to look for and how to help cheer up your furry four-legged friend.
It’s true, dogs are capable of suffering from depression and anxiety. This is because they are intelligent creatures who, like humans, experience a range of emotions.
Beating The Doggie Blues
If your dog is getting less exercise than usual for any reason – during wintry weather, for example – think about and increasing the amount of he receives. Puzzle-solving toys are a fantastic way to keep his mind occupied. They also have the benefit of rewarding him each time he gets the puzzle right – something that’s sure to help increase his dopamine levels.
You could also try bringing his exercise indoors. Think about creating an obstacle course with cardboard boxes for your dog to chase through, or invest in an indoor-friendly ball, for a game of catch in your living room.
Always keep in mind that while caring for your dog’s physical health is important, it’s just as crucial to keep him , too.
You May Like: What Does Ptsd Do To A Person