Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Can Dogs Get Depressed?: Nine Tell Tale Signs Your Dog Is Depressed or Unwell

Can Dogs Get Depressed?: Nine Tell Tale Signs Your Dog Is Depressed or Unwell

Many still wonder if Dogs can ever be depressed or upset, especially when they are usually so bubbly and full of energy. The answer is YES, simply because animals have emotions too, and the Dogs’ reaction and behaviour when they are depressed or ill is strikingly similar to a Human. Things would have been so much easier if they had the ability to speak, wouldn't it? But alas, they can’t speak to us the way another person could. 
Fixing Dog depression
Thankfully with the research efforts of Dog Behaviourists and Veterinarians around the world, there are a few significant tell-tale signs that can help us read possible early signs of depression or illness, apart from the obvious physical signs such as loose or odd-coloured stool, vomiting, redness in eyes, excessive panting, and lumps.

Intrigued yet?

9 Signs To Tell If Your Dog Is Depressed or Unwell

Before you start sky rocketing with anxiety on these possible signs, you should first take note of monitoring any unusual behaviour, at least for a couple of days. Fret not, suggestions to help fix these issues will also be included in this article, so hang on tight and read on!

A Change In Appetite

depressed dog
A loss of appetite or sudden weight loss is perhaps the clearest sign you could notice, especially if your Pooch has always had a good appetite on regular days. This could be due to illness or depression, some Dogs may do the opposite and overeat (like stress-eating for Humans), because they seek the comfort in their own meals.

Bad Breath

bad breath for dogs
If good Dental hygiene is a common practice with your Doggo, and you have tried freshening treats to curb the issue with no avail, the persistent sign of bad breath may be due to mental or physical issues. For humans it may be lack of sleep or a rotting tooth, and it’s along the same lines for our canine friends too.

Excessive Sleeping

dog depression solutions
Alright, it’s no surprise that our Furkids love to sleep, in fact they have the luxury to sleep whilst awaiting their Pawrents to be home from work. And they’d usually greet you at the door with tails a-wagging when you’re back. So If you notice that your Pooch is suddenly unaware of your “home-coming” or stops getting up to greet you, there is something bothering them.  

Licking Too Much

We are all aware of how our furry companions lick themselves during a session of self-grooming, but when experts say “too much”, they are referring to a Dog’s excessive licking or chewing of their paws.
dog licking paw
Think about a Human’s habit of chewing on their fingernails due to anxiety or nervousness. Somehow a bad habit calms them down, and for our Pooches, licking and chewing their paws soothes them from an underlined problem.

Sudden In-activeness

Another clear sign is when your Pooch seems uninterested in activities that used to excite him/her, such as playtime, taking walks and even at the sight of their favourite treats.
inactive dog
Stiffness and being unable to move about (not due to old age) is also included in this sign, something’s definitely got them feeling all mopey.

Hiding And Avoiding

hiding dog
Some of us like to be left alone when we are sad or upset, similarly if you notice your Dog’s been hiding away in a dark corner (i.e. under the bed, in a closet), it is another indicator that your Dog might be depressed, or is feeling ill.

Sudden Destructive Behaviour

dog depression solution
When a well-behaved Pooch starts portraying destructive behaviour and you find your furniture chewed on or torn up, your Furkid is trying to tell you something! Sometimes, they might display sudden aggression or whining and howling too, clearly, something’s bothering him/her.  


dog depression is real
The exact opposite of hiding and avoiding, a Dog could be constantly pacing back and forth through the rooms, seemingly unable to find a spot to rest on. If your Pooch doesn’t usually display this behaviour, this could be another possible sign of depression or queasiness.

Excessive Shedding

excessive shedding in dog
Dogs that do shed naturally on a regular basis shed in different amounts according to the type of breed, so if you realise the amount of hair that has been shed is much more than usual or if you notice bald patches, it could be a sign of depression, if nothing internal. Yep, like how some of us may bald due to stress!

What You Can Do

Firstly, as we’ve mentioned at the start, you should monitor and understand your Doggo’s behaviour, so if any of these signs start surfacing out of the blue, you can determine that it is not normal.

Visit The Vet

dog and vet
To be absolutely sure, bring your Pooch to your trusted Veterinarian to seek professional help. With a thorough checkup to ensure that these behaviours are not due to any underlying medical issues. After all, we have no other ways to be certain of issues that are internal.

Was It Something Else?

dog depression and illness
If your Dog checks out completely fine after a visit to the Veterinary Clinic, then start thinking back on the possible events recently that may have triggered your Furkid’s depression. Such events could be:

Change of environment – a sudden switch could be unfamiliar and scary for our canine pals, they would require some time to adapt to a new space altogether.

Losing a companion – Dogs are sensitive creatures, the passing of someone or another pet can most certainly bring about depression in your Pooch. Think about the numerous video examples or loyal Dogs that still mourn for their owners, long after their passing!

A new family member – if you have recently gotten a new Pet or had a baby, you might have unknowingly paid less attention to your existing Furbaby. An abrupt lack of attention could impact them too. This could also be applied to a sudden change of schedule in your life.

Suggestions To Fix It

Spend more time with your canine companion, praise and encourage them on positive behaviour when they do portray them. Avoid negative reactions and reprimanding as our Pooches may accept them wrongly.
helping a dog with depression
It is also advised that more socialisation and outings could help improve the situations, along with routine schedules for meals, walking and playtime. This aids in helping the Doggo feel a sense of assurance and security

If All Else Fails

In some severe cases, these little tips cannot help a Dog overcome his/her depression, and in this case, it’s recommended that you make a trip back to the Vet. In which proper medication like anti-depressants should be prescribed.
dog depression solution
Good news is, most Doggies eventually snap out of their depression after a few months of medication, so be patient and remember to shower them with lots and lots of warmth, support and love!


This article was written with informational purposes, as you know, we’d love to share our collective research and experiences as fellow Pet owners. It is not meant to alternate in any way as advice or diagnosis of Professionals. What’s most important is better understanding our precious Pets, indefinitely! Learn more about their other behaviours here

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This article was written with informational purposes, as you know, we’d love to share our collective research and experiences as fellow Pet owners and lovers. It is not meant to alternate in any way as advice or diagnosis of Professionals.

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