Sometimes, even the happiest of dogs can get the blues. If your pooch isn’t their normal, perky self, here are common symptoms of depression in dogs.
Human beings are often slow to recognize signs of depression in each other, so we’re definitely blind to it in our dogs. It might not immediately occur to us that a dog is suffering from depression, but it is a condition that if left unaddressed, may compromise your pet’s health. Here are a few symptoms of depression in dogs:
- They uncharacteristically snap at you or strangers. Sudden irritability can be a sign of depression, as can signs of aggression.
- They’re not eating with the same enthusiasm. If your dog isn’t interested in food anymore, it might be mere fussiness, but depression is very often accompanied by a reduction in appetite.
- They aren’t interested in playing or going for walks. Sluggishness and unwillingness to exert themselves physically are very common signs of depression.
If you’ve noticed any of the above symptoms in your dog, it is extremely important that you schedule an appointment with the vet at the earliest possible date. Although the above signs are commonly associated with depression, they are also symptoms of severe medical ailments, too.
If your vet has ruled out medical concerns as the root cause in changes in your dog’s behavior, you might want to consider the reasons why your pooch is feeling down. Here are some of the most common triggers for depression in dogs.
- Your dog lost a friend or a previous owner.
- Your dog is being bullied or abused by another pet or a person.
- You’ve changed your own or your dog’s routine and they can’t adjust
- Your dog feels anxious or stressed.
- Your dog isn’t getting the proper nutrition/exercise.
If you believe your dog’s depression is due to external factors, like a poor relationship with other pets, you may want to opt for professional intervention for all of the pets. If it is an overly aggressive child, you must immediately correct the child’s behavior and limit access to your dog. If you think an adult human is abusing them, you need to take whatever action – legal or social – to get the person away from your dog.
When a dog’s anxiety is more difficult to isolate – like if you recently moved and they don’t like the new home – you have to create a routine that they understand and stick to it until they become comfortable and familiar with the new circumstances.
Overweight dogs are also prone to depression, since they aren’t active and don’t exert their energy. Dogs like to feel like they have a job and a purpose, and when they’ve been allowed to become sedentary, their mood can be significantly affected. Moreover, obesity and poor nutrition can lead to conditions like joint deterioration, diabetes, some cancers, and canine DCM. Zignature, Blue Wilderness, and Merrick Grain-Free pet foods are great, affordable options for overweight dogs.
Once you’ve made sure your dog isn’t suffering from a physical illness, there are many things you can do to improve your dog’s mood. Regular exercise, plenty of attention, and a solid routine can help you rediscover the happy playful pup they once were.
I’m a doggie blogger, proud parent of two gorgeous rescue mutts, and an avid watcher of “Stranger Things.”
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