Depression in dogs: how to help your sad dog
Dogs are known for their upbeat dispositions and endless enthusiasm. But, like humans, they can also suffer from depression. If you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog, it could be an indication of depression:
- Loss of interest in playtime or other activities
- Lack of energy and enthusiasm
- Change in sleep pattern (e.g., sleeping more than usual)
- Loss of appetite (which may lead to weight loss)
- Repetitive behavior (e.g., chewing or licking spots on their bodies)
Common causes of depression in dogs
Loss of a companion - If a dog has lost a companion, he can become depressed. A puppy will sometimes become depressed when separated from his mother or litter-mates.
Change in the environment - Moving to a new house, having visitors over, or other changes in the home environment can cause a dog to become anxious and depressed.
Illness or pain - Dogs who are ill or in pain often have difficulty concentrating on anything else but their discomfort. An injured or sick dog may also have trouble sleeping because of pain during the night, leading to excessive daytime sleepiness and depression.
Separation anxiety - Separation anxiety is often characterized by destructive behavior (such as chewing up furniture), extreme nervousness when left alone and an unwillingness to be left alone even for short periods of time.
What to do if your dog is depressed?
Get them moving. A lack of exercise can contribute to depression in dogs, so make sure they are getting plenty of opportunities to run and play. A long walk or trip to the park will do wonders for their mood.
Socialize them. Dogs are social creatures, so spending time with other dogs or people can be a great way to lift their spirits. If your dog is feeling down, arranging playdates or walks with friends can help.
Expose them to as many new experiences as possible. Take them on walks through different neighborhoods, bring home new toys or treats for them to try out, and go on vacation somewhere new so they can see new sights and smells.
Stimulate their minds. Boredom can lead to depression in dogs, so keeping their minds active is essential. Try playing games like fetch or hide-and-seek or teaching them new tricks.
Establish a routine. A routine helps dogs know what to expect and when to expect it. They’ll feel more secure and less anxious in their environment if they know what’s coming next.
Check with the vet. In some cases, depression may be caused by an underlying medical condition. If you’re concerned about your dog’s mental health, it’s always best to consult with your vet.
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City Vet, NY provides a variety of wellness care services for your pet. From routine surgery and dentistry to in-house diagnostics and full-service grooming, we are committed to promoting responsible pet ownership and preventive health care. Our compassionate veterinary team is here to provide the best possible care for your beloved pet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!