Sunday, May 19, 2024

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Depressed

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The Last Alternative: Canine Antidepressants

How to know if your dog is depressed and what to do about it

If his examination and bloodwork are acceptable, your vet may recommend medical therapy. Prozac and Zoloft can be prescribed for your dog, and big pharmaceutical companies always have new antidepressants on the market.

I suggest you try behavioral changes first and drugs later. Even if you do have to resort to medications, you need to realize that these drugs take a long time to start working.

Behavioral therapies might be more effective than antidepressants. If you start the drugs right away, you will never know if the dog responded to them or to the improvements you made to his lifestyle. They have several serious side effects so, for the sake of your dog, it’s better to handle this problem naturally if at all possible.

Depression in dogs needs to be looked into.

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How To Help A Depressed Dog

Similar to humans, depression and its effects can be different for each dog. To help your dog, you need to find out what is causing the symptoms. Thankfully, dogs are pretty resilient creatures. After a depression-inciting event, small changes can make a huge improvement to their emotional state. Here are a few ideas that may be helpful.

Its important to know what a relaxed dog looks like so you can monitor their return to normal. A relaxed dog will have an open mouth with no facial tension, and they may pant. Ears can be a bit tricky since they come in all different shapes and sizes, but generally, a relaxed dog will have their ears slightly back or out to the sides. If your dog is relaxed, they will hold their tail out in a low or neutral position with an easy wag, and when they play, their body will be loose and wiggly.

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.

Dr. Leslie Sinn runs Behavior Solutions and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists and certified professional dog trainer.

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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How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Depressed

The symptoms of depression in dogs can be similar to those in humans, from withdrawing themselves from social situations to being quieter than normal it can be heartbreaking to watch. Some of the tell-tale signs your dog has depression include…

  • Exhibiting low activity levels
  • Less interaction with other dogs
  • Regression in house and behavioural training
  • Take Them To Veterinarian

    How to Know if Your Dog Is Depressed?  You Suppose to Know

    You might be confused about whether your dog is sick or depressed. So, it is easier if you take them to the veterinarian. A full checkup can help to remove any form of doubt. They will go through a number of checkups to make sure that they are physically healthy.

    If they have any physical illness or depression, they will suggest medication and techniques to cure your dog problems.

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    How Do You Know If Your Dog Is Bored Or Tired

    The answer to this question is similar to the question is my dog bored or depressed. A bored day wont sleep during the whole day! He just wont!

    If your pup is snoozing for most of the day but is happily joining you for walks and playtime, then hes most likely just tired. And a tired dog is a happy and well-behaved dog, so enjoy those moments!

    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 dog’s mood maybe they needed a change of scenery to get out of the blues!

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    A Depressed Dog Might Be Too Upset To Get Enough Sleep

    Any kind of significant change in a dog’s sleep patterns is cause for concern, and a restless pup that never seems to settle down might be reacting to stress or anxiety.

    “If the dog is in a stressed state and displaying signs of anxiety such as whining or howling in the owners absence say, then the dog will often not sleep during that period,” Jones said.

    A dog that seems restless or unable to sleep might be dealing with a mood problem or high levels of anxiety.

    When To Seek Help

    Depression in dogs – Symptoms and What to Do

    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 behaviour changes or issues, and help you transform your dogs mood, behaviour and life for the better.

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    Possible Reasons Behind Your Dog Being Depressed

    How can dogs get depressed? What reasons could they have to lose their playful nature to such an extent? Just like how the events and the environment around us affect humans, it can also affect dogs. To understand why your dog might be depressed, ask yourself these questions:

    • Have there been any environmental changes in your dogs life lately?
    • Has there been a cause of grief?
    • Has your dog been getting enough stimulation?
    • Are you spending enough quality time with your dog?
    • Have you noticed any other behavioral issues in your dog lately?

    Helping Dogs Get Over Depression & Anxiety

    Anxious or depressed dogs will typically benefit from predictable environments, closely controlled social interaction , and a consistent routine including lots of physical activity.

    Below are a few more tips on how to help reduce your dogs depression or anxiety:

    See Your Vet

    • Some symptoms of depression and anxiety can actually have physical causes that need urgent attention. The first thing you should do if your dog seems anxious or depressed is to schedule a visit with your vet. While some dogs may recover from depression with just a little extra love and attention from their pet parent, your veterinarian can provide medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety aids to help calm their nerves if things dont show signs of improvement.

    Keep Your Dogs Body & Mind Active

    • Boredom can often lead our furry friends to become anxious or depressed. Make sure your pooch gets plenty of exercise before you leave for the day, and supply your pup with enough toys to keep them busy in order to help quell your dogs anxiety. Look for toys that are interactive or can be stuffed with treats to keep your pups body and mind active while youre out of the house.

    Social Time

    • Domesticated dogs are social creatures that love to be around people and other animals. If your dog is suffering from anxiety or depression you may want to consider getting a companion animal for your pup or take your lonely pooch to the dog park, group classes or doggie daycare for additional social interaction.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Dog Depression

    Dog depression symptoms are very similar to those in people, said John Ciribassi, DVM, past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. Dogs will become withdrawn. They become inactive. Their eating and sleeping habits often change. They dont participate in the things they once enjoyed.

    But vets warn those symptoms also can mean a dog has a medical problem, so the first course of action should always be a full checkup by a veterinarian. A pet that mopes around and no longer wants to go for walks could simply have pain from arthritis, Beaver says.


    How To Cheer Up A Depressed Dog

    How to Tell if Your Dog Is Depressed (with Pictures)

    As we previously mentioned earlier in the article, some dog breeds are more inclined to play with specific types of toys due to their breeding and the traits that have been promoted through their bloodline. Our article on selecting the perfect toy for your dog breed can help you choose the correct toy for your dog to help cheer it up.

    Another common issue is the food that you are feeding your dog. Many low-quality or budget dog foods can have ingredients in them that can cause allergies in your dog to flare up and cause issues. Our article on the best dog food for allergies on the market can help remove this risk. It may be a challenge to get your dog to transition to the food initially but once it does and it works out that the new food will not cause its allergies to flare up it will start to enjoy meal time again and may break out of its depression.

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    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.

    Natural Help For Dogs With Depression


    Exercise is good for depressed humans and it is just as good for dogs. Daily walks can go a long way to help treat depression and also help if your pet is overweight. Most dogs were bred to do some sort of work, and getting them out to exercise can do wonders for their disposition.

    Good nutrition

    Nutrition is an important part of curing any depression. Make sure your dog is getting a dog food that is meeting all of their nutritional needs. There are many dog foods available that do not meet requirements. This would be a good thing to cover with your veterinarian. He can point out a good food that is right for your dog.


    If your dog is suffering from a poor appetite, this could be a good time to spoil them a bit. Treats like meat or canned food can tempt a bored appetite.

    Keep routines the same

    Dogs thrive on a consistent schedule and routine. It helps them know what to expect next, and if things stay the same, it can reassure them that everything is okay.

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    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

    Common Symptoms Of Separation Anxiety

    Do Dogs Get Depressed? | DEPRESSED DOG!?

    The following is a list of symptoms that may indicate separation anxiety:

    Urinating and DefecatingSome dogs urinate or defecate when left alone or separated from their guardians. If a dog urinates or defecates in the presence of his guardian, his house soiling probably isnt caused by separation anxiety.

    Barking and HowlingA dog who has separation anxiety might bark or howl when left alone or when separated from his guardian. This kind of barking or howling is persistent and doesnt seem to be triggered by anything except being left alone.

    Chewing, Digging and DestructionSome dogs with separation anxiety chew on objects, door frames or window sills, dig at doors and doorways, or destroy household objects when left alone or separated from their guardians. These behaviors can result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped paws and damaged nails. If a dogs chewing, digging and destruction are caused by separation anxiety, they dont usually occur in his guardians presence.

    EscapingA dog with separation anxiety might try to escape from an area where hes confined when hes left alone or separated from his guardian. The dog might attempt to dig and chew through doors or windows, which could result in self-injury, such as broken teeth, cut and scraped front paws and damaged nails. If the dogs escape behavior is caused by separation anxiety, it doesnt occur when his guardian is present.

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    What Should You Do

    Before you blame your dogs behavior on depression, its vet will need to do a full checkup to rule out any other health issues that could be bringing your dog down, like pain or a thyroid problem. If everything else checks out, your vet will likely recommend giving your dog more exercise, a healthier diet, and extra attention to lift your pets spirits. As a last-ditch effort, a vet might prescribe a sad dog one of the same depression medications humans would use, such as Prozac or Zoloft. We dont want all our dogs walking around on Zoloft if we dont have to, and oftentimes we dont need to, says Dr. Nelson. But if giving that little something to take the edge off helps them live a more comfortable life, theres no shame in that game. Watch out for these other silent signs your healthy dog is actually sick.

    How Depression Affects Dogs

    It can be challenging for owners to understand depression in dogs since they dont possess the same extensive communication skills. However, a vet will tell you that depression in dogs is similar to the symptoms in humans. A dog who is depressed will become withdrawn and inactive, coupled with changes in eating and sleeping habits. They may stop participating in activities that they once enjoyed. Depression is also closely linked with anxiety.

    Sometimes depression also shows up in older dogs as part of dog dementia.

    While your dog may seem oblivious to stresses of the human world, a lot of what causes us to be anxious can affect them too. Experts say that major sources are separation, aging, travel, and fear, with fear being the most common.

    Similar to humans, fear of the unknown can cause pets to become anxious. If there are unfamiliar people or animals around, it might cause your pet undue stress. Loud noises are also a main cause of anxiety for pets.

    Many pets dont do well in unfamiliar environments. Thats one reason pets tend to get anxious when travelling. Some dogs also dont do well when it comes to flying or driving in cars. Keeping your pooch occupied is a great way to distract them and channel their anxiety. Of course, keep in mind that these symptoms can also be indicative of a medical problem.

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    How To Get Her Out Of A Funk

    If your pups acting sad all of a sudden, you might be wondering if dogs can get depressed.

    The idea that dogs can get depressed might seem crazy at first, especially considering the fact that dogs are seemingly always happy, and people who suffer from depression actually get dogs in order to help manage their own depression.

    But dogs actually can get depressed. In fact, your dogs emotions are more similar to a humans than you might have initially thought.

    The Dodo reached out to Dr. Corinne Wigfall, a veterinarian working with Spirit Dog Training, and Dr. Jonathan Roberts, a veterinarian working with Pet Keen, to find out more about depression in dogs.

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    Thy Shall Not Worry Too Fast Dog Depression Symptoms

    How to Know if Your Dog is Depressed

    #10: Increased appetite

    Every dog is made different.

    So in some cases, instead of eating less, other dogs might always be hungry.

    This could be their own way of coping with stress. Like when people eat more snacks to make themselves feel better.

    Other canines can be so food motivated as well. So you may not even notice that theyre having the blues.

    Should I be alarmed once they eat more?

    If this is a new behavior, yes. And if youre also sure that youre feeding your dog well based on their breed and size.

    So monitor your dog more. Also, watch out for other symptoms they might show aside from this.

    Because although it doesnt look like it

    An increased appetite can also be one of the many signs of an illness. Such as:

    • Diabetes.

    #11: Becoming clingy

    A dog in distress can also seek comfort in their humans.

    So theyll always stick by their parents side. Or will often paw at them for attention.

    This is proven in a study about 159 dogs and 152 cats who lost a furry friend.

    And according to the researchers, 74% of the canines have become clingier.

    So if you have a cuddly pooch, theyll be even needier this time.

    Or if you have an aloof one, they may start asking for more snuggles. As they need your emotional support.

    This is because physical contact with a loved one is said to be healing. Not only for humans but also for dogs.

    But, it might be a different case for some

    #12: Distant behavior to everyone

    Depression can also make dogs become withdrawn all of a sudden.

    • UTI.

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