Is My Dog Bored Or Depressed
Alright, letâs get right to it: is your dog bored or depressed?
Well, these 2 kinds of behavior are quite easy to distinguish. In fact, bored and depressed dogs usually show very different signs.
A bored dog will find himself something to do, trust me! Itâs very rare that a bored dog just lies around. On the contrary, heâll probably jump up on you and whine and bark to get your attention to finally have some fun! Or hell finds himself something, like digging in your trash or chewing on your chair, so much fun!!
If your dog just seems to be sleeping the whole time, you can almost 100% be sure that he isnt bored. There are a few lazy kinds out there who are just lying around even when theyre bored. In that case theyll stare at you though. Youll literally see that they want to do something!
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To learn more about lazy dogs, make sure to check out my article about the 7 possible reasons your dog is lazy.
If your dog isnt doing much all day, he could be depressed, though. Depressed dogs show a number of different signs and sleeping all the time is one of them.
How Do I Know If My Dog Has Depression
The symptoms of depression in dogs are similar to those experienced by people.
Common symptoms include low activity levels, a loss in interest in the things they once enjoyed, and a change in eating and/or sleeping habits.
Some dogs may also show signs of aggression, including uncharacteristic howling or whining.
New Ownership Or Temporary Home
There are those tragic moments when pet parents have to find new homes for their furry kids. And there are times when its only a temporary situation, like vacation. The thing is, your dog doesnt know the difference. If you leave your pooch for an hour, five days or forever, it feels the same in the moment. Your dog is likely to become withdrawn in his new environment until he gets more comfortable or you return.
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Why Do Dogs Become Depressed
There are different reasons for dog depression.
The most common one is when heâs lost a beloved friend dog or human. The loss leaves a hole in your pupâs heart that he might struggle to fill again.
Another very common reason is a change in routine. This can be after a move or after you changed your working hours.
Changes in routine are often very difficult for dogs to get used to and can lead to them being either hyped up or a little depressed. If thats the reason it should soon go back to normal. Just give him some time.
How To Encourage A Depressed Dog
Whatever the cause of our dog’s depression, there are practical things you can do to help them. The following measures may be employed to help them regain their spirit:
- The most important thing is that we dedicate time every day to spend with them exclusively. Dogs are pack animals and, as a member of your family, need to feel integrated into the group.
- They need exercise appropriate for their age and energy levels. We need to walk them more than just taking them out to urinate or defecate.
- Intelligence games and education are imperative for proper brain development. This will not only help keep them happy, but reduce the chances of developing brain disorders which may lead to depression.
- Don’t make big decisions, such as bringing a new dog into the home, lightly. You should assess your dog’s state of well-being and ensure you consider their ability to socialize. You may even want to have them assessed by a canine behaviorist to see how well they get on with others.
- Do not leave the dog alone for hours at a time. If you are unable to spend sufficient time with them, ask a neighbor or family member to check in on them. Not doing so can lead to separation anxiety.
- Avoid stressful situations such as playing loud music or shouting in the home which may perpetuate the depression.
- Finally, sterilization may cause some mild trauma in the short term, but it will be better for their well-being in the long run.
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Your Pup Goes Into Hiding
If your pet is depressed they may be hiding more. “You may find them sleeping under the bed or in a closet. This is a common sign seen with depressed dogs,” says Ochoa. If they are disappearing or trying to be withdrawn in odd places in the home, they could be feeling stressed or sad. Try playing a game or giving them more attention to make them feel happier and more relaxed.
Why Is My Dog Depressed The Causes Of Depression In Dogs
Dogs are great creatures of habit. They love the security of a predictable routine.
When something disrupts everything being in its rightful place, some dogs become depressed.
Examples of triggers of depression in dogs include:
- A stay-at-home owner returning to work
- The arrival of a new baby in the house
- A new pet joining the fur-family
- The loss of a lifelong companion
- The passing of an owner
- Being relocated
- A change of routine such as no longer going for long walks
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Do These Medications Have Side Effects
Yes, these medications have potential side effects. Your vet may want to run blood tests prior to prescribing an antidepressant and also periodically check your pooch to see how their body is tolerating the medication. Of course, find out the possible side effects of the specific medication your vet recommends before making your decision.
Important things to consider:
- These medications are not a replacement for training or behavior management
- Dog meds for depression may not address an underlying issue
- Antidepressants should be used for a short period of time.
- These medications dont work immediately and may take a few weeks to help
When To Seek Help For Dog Depression
If your dogs mood or behaviour has changed suddenly and you can find no reason why this may be happening, visit your vet to check for clinical causes.
Once your dog has a clean bill of health, consult an accredited experienced behaviourist who can look at any behavioural changes or issues, and help you transform your dogs mood and life for the better.
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Understanding Causes Of Dog Depression
If you suspect your dog is depressed, start with a veterinary appointment to identify the causes of your dog’s depression. is very common and could also be addressed with a veterinarian. 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. You may find that some shorter-term techniques quickly change your dog’s behavior. Also, consider natural remedies including flower essences and a calming essential oil diffuser. Your vet will help you rule out any health issues or physical problems.
If you’re concerned about your furry companion, look out for these five warning signs of depression in dogs:
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Sad
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Its well-established by now that dogs experience emotions. In fact, according to neuroscientist Gregory Berns, they have feelings very much like we do, even though they dont have words to describe them. In other words, dogs do get sad, they just arent able to tell us about it.
So how can you tell if your dog is sad? Dogs dont cry, but they do have other physical responses to feeling unhappy. Here are some physical signs your dog might be sad:
- Vocalizations like whines or whimpers
- Mopey behavior around things they typically enjoy
- Lowered energy
- Eyes appear squinty or smaller than usual
- A change in sleep patterns or behavior
Its important to note that the above symptoms also might indicate a medical issue. If your dogs behavior or energy level changes, your first step should be to call the vet.
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Responding Poorly To Affection
While non-stop affection is enough to put anyone off, if your pet is suddenly wincing or running away when you try to touch them, it could be depression at play. And if you’ve exhausted all other possibilities, from extra time at the park to a pheromone collar, don’t feel bad if your dog ends up prescribed something for their condition.
“Talk to your veterinarian about a prescribed antidepressant,” says Dr. Ryan. “While it isn’t a long-term solution, it may help your dog get through a particularly rough patch.” Fortunately, even when they’re giving you trouble, dogs still make our lives betterâjust one reason they made our list of the 100 Ways to Live to 100!
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How To Spot Signs Of Depression In Dogs
The symptoms of depression will vary depending on the individual dog and the severity of the problem. There are some key things to look out for, however, including changes in body language during their interactions with people and other pets, decreased appetite, and lethargic behavior.
The main thing would be a change in normal demeanor, she says. What I hear from most of my clients is that their dog is not that willing to engage in activities that previously they seemed to really enjoy.
She gives the example of a dog who normally loves to play fetch, but now they may play for one or two rounds then arent really that interested.
Dr. Sinn also lists other signs, including clingy, needy behavior, and, perhaps, a need to be closer to the owner in general. Some dogs, however, can go the other way and become excessively withdrawn.
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Do Dogs Get Depressed When Boarded
If your dog has hated boarding, then there is a risk of depression developing. The WebMD.com website say the following signs can appear:
Dogs will become withdrawn. They become inactive. Their eating and sleeping habits often change. They dont participate in the things they once enjoyed.
The RSPCA animal charity also explain that the symptoms of a depressed dog include:
- Urinating and defecating in the house.
- Barking and howling.
- Chewing, digging, and destructive behavior.
- Escape attempts.
- Becoming sick when in kennels .
Experiencing A Death In The Family
Youre not the only one mourning the loss of a family member or another petyour dog needs to grieve, too, and might go through a blue period. You cant really speed up that grieving process, says Hartstein, but you can comfort them and be sensitive to their needs. Give your pooch some TLC with extra cuddles and treats while it gets used to the loss. Check out these other 19 things your dog really wants from you.
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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.
What Is Depression In Dogs
So why would your dog be depressed? There are all kinds of reasons ranging from on-going illness through to the loss of someone special to them. There are other reasons your dog could appear dog-tired though. Pain, infection and poisoning can all lead to languid lounging. Help get your furry friend feeling like their old self with our quick guide. Youll find out how to recognise depression in dogs, other issues to look out for, possible causes of depression and ways you can help.
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Do Dogs Get Depressed When You Get A New Dog
As a pet owner, bringing a new four-legged family member home can be exciting! However, for your existing pups, they may need help adjusting to a new dog. When introducing a new puppy or dog to your other dog, they can even exhibit signs of depression. You may be wondering, can dogs be depressed? While depression in dogs is a less studied field than depression in humans, dogs can be depressed. If youre thinking my dog seems depressed, evaluate whether or not your dog has been exhibiting these common signs of depression in dogs:
- Sleeping excessively
- No interest in going for walks
- Loss of interest in playing with balls or old toys
- Eating more or less than normal
Should I Put My Dog On An Antidepressant
This is a personal choice, of course, for each individual dog owner. However, antidepressant medications are prescribed fairly often to dogs who have symptoms of depression and can be highly beneficial to get them out of their slump.
The most commonly prescribed pet med for dog depression is Fluoxetine, the generic form of Prozac, which helps with both depression and anxiety.
Other popular medications used for this condition are Amitriptyline, which adjusts serotonin levels, and Doxepin, which helps with depression and also treats allergies and skin conditions.
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How Can I Help Treat My Dog’s Depression Or Anxiety
The good news is that dogs can often overcome depression and/or anxiety on their own. Depending on the dog and the situation, it can take days to months. No matter what, the love and care of their owners, and sometimes some guidance from your veterinarian, can help them overcome the blues.
Pet owners can try the following techniques:
- Offer your dog more attention. But wait until you see some signs of happiness, like a wagging tail, and reward them for that behavior.
- Keep your dog active with regular walks, playtimes, and other activities you know they enjoy.
- If your dog’s symptoms are related to the loss of an animal companion, consider getting another pet or start socializing them with other pets.
Depending on the severity of their symptoms your veterinarian may also prescribe anti-anxiety medication as well as recommend behavior management techniques.
In some cases, depression and/or anxiety may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition in a dog. If your pet has not recently experienced a major life change or distressing event, talk to your veterinarian about what else could be troubling them.
Can Dogs Get Depressed
Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, said veterinarians dont really know if dogs suffer from depression the same way people do. Its hard to know because we cant ask them, said Beaver, who also is a veterinary specialist in animal behavior at the small animal clinic at Texas A& M University College of Veterinary Medicine. But in clinical practice, there are a few situations where that is the only explanation.
Beaver said although its not uncommon for pets to get down, especially during periods of change, its rare for dogs to suffer from long-term depression.
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Sleeping All The Time
Dogs sleep a lot. Thats old news. But typically this happens when their owners are gone. 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.
Check for physical problems first, but if you cant find anything and the symptoms continue, he may be depressed. Also know that this can work in the opposite direction, with your pup having trouble sleeping and becoming restless.
Signs Of An Unhappy Dog
- Withdrawn the dog may have little enthusiasm for exercise or games or joining in with the things they normally enjoy
- Lethargic they may be sleeping more than usual
- Loss of appetite – they may lose interest in food or there may be other changes to eating patterns
- Inability to settle the dog may appear restless, not sleeping well or deeply, or other changes to sleeping patterns
- Behaviour changes the same mood states that can present as apparent depression can present as other issues depending on the dogs personality. These can include chewing, attempts at escapology, increased reactivity, loss of toilet training, and even aggression.
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