Everyone goes through tough times in life. Between work, bills, and relationships, depression can strike and suck you into a little black hole that seems nearly impossible to crawl out of. Well, the same thing can happen to your dog. I mean, they’re not worrying about paying off the mortgage and they don’t have to deal with unreasonable bosses. But, they do deal with stressful situations. A few common causes of doggy depression include:
- The loss of another dog
- The loss of an owner (AKA dog parent)
- Welcoming a new dog into the family
- Welcoming a baby into the family
- A new spouse moves in
- Moving to a new house/apartment
- An owner get’s a new job and the pooch is now left alone for hours
- Lack of stimulation
While it’s hard for us to know for sure if our fur babies are feeling depressed (since they can’t simply tell us), there are a few signs we can look for. Below are the 5 warning signs your dog is depressed:
1) Changes In Sleep Pattern
It’s normal for dogs to sleep a lot. We even wrote an entire article about it! When you are at work, or out for the afternoon, chances are your dog is snoozing. When you get home, though, your dog should wake up and be excited to see you. He should want to run around, play, and have your full attention. If your pooch continues to sleep when you get home and ignores your presence, take that as a major red flag.
On the flip-side, another warning sign of depression is restlessness. If your fur baby refuses to nap and isn’t sleeping through the night, there’s a problem.
*Click here to find out how long the average dog spends sleeping.
2) Changes In Appetite
If you notice a change in your dog’s eating habits it may be because he’s feeling overwhelmed with emotions. When dogs are depressed they will either lose interest in their food and drop a few pounds OR they will eat everything in sight and gain weight. It’s just like how humans deal with stress and depression – some people stress eat and others lose their appetite completely.
3) Loss of Interest
Has your dog suddenly stopped playing with his toys? Does he refuse to play with his other best four-legged friends? Do you have to drag him outside to go on walks? If your pooch has suddenly lost interest in the things that used to excite him, he may be suffering from depression.
When a dog hides in a closet or a quiet room of your house it’s usually because he’s ill or injured. Depression is considered a mental illness. So if your dog doesn’t show any signs of injury and is hiding, it may be because he’s very sad.
5) Excessive Chewing
Is your dog on a sudden destruction streak? A typically calm dog that’s randomly chewing up the furniture (and everything else in sight) is most likely bored and/or depressed.
Don’t Jump To Conclusions
Don’t immediately assume your dog is depressed if he shows one or two of the warning signs I just mentioned. The first thing you should do is bring him to his vet and have him checked out. There may be something wrong medically that you’re unaware of.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Depressed
There are medications you can give your dog to help them beat depression, however, I am NOT a fan of antidepressants. Instead, shower him with love and attention. Get him active. Force him to go on walks. Of course, don’t forget to bring the treats along with you. As soon as you notice your dog acting normal again, give him a tasty prize. Doggy depression doesn’t usually last long. Your pooch should be back to normal in no time.