6 Telltale Signs That Your Dog Is Depressed

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Just like humans, dogs aren’t strangers to depression. If you noticed that your canine pal’s energy level has dropped and his behavior isn’t the same – it’s quite possible that your pup is depressed. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know for sure if your pooch is depressed since you can’t speak his language and ask him yourself.

Causes of Dog Depression

A major change in a canine’s life can lead to phases of depression. This may include:

  • Moving into a new house
  • New baby in the household
  • New pet
  • Loss or departure of a family member or another pet

Even a simple change in your pup’s usual schedule can cause him to feel dejected. If you’re worried about your dog’s sudden change of behavior and whether he’s depressed, a Dubai pet food company gives you these telltale signs.

1. Change in appetite

A dog who is feeling depressed will often eat less, or worse, stop eating. However, there are also some canines who tend to eat more because they see food as a source comfort (much like some humans!). If your pup has experienced substantial weight loss in a short span of time, there’s a chance of a chemical imbalance caused by clinical depression.

2. Loss of interest

If your dog no longer loves going for walks or other activities he used to enjoy, this can be a sign of depression. The feeling of sadness is clouding your dog’s interest in things causing him to frown on what he used to love.

3. Change in sleeping patterns

Does your dog sleep more than usual? If you come home and find your dog not wanting to get out of bed, this could signify depressed behavior. Dogs are active by nature so if your canine is sleeping excessively, there may be something wrong with him.

4. Avoidance

Dogs adore their owners so if your dog avoids you, that’s a strong indication that something is bothering him. A dog who wants to be left alone could either have a physical injury or is purely just emotional.

5. Wetting indoors

If your pup is potty-trained but is suddenly treating your house like a big bathroom, depression may be to blame. Whether you’ve been too busy lately and left your dog without regular walks, you’re not unlikely to find yourself with an accident if your dog is depressed.

6. Excessive licking

A dog who is suffering from depression will often lick his paws to soothe himself. If your pup is displaying signs of excessive licking or any biting behavior, he may be downhearted.

What to do if your dog is depressed

If your usually happy canine friend has the symptoms of depression, the first step you should take is to bring him to the vet. This way, your vet can check your dog thoroughly to ensure that the changes are not caused by any physical illness.

Once your vet finds that your pup is healthy, the best thing you can do is keep up the routine that you have with your dog before the traumatic experience. This will help your pup get back his sense of normalcy. If you feel overwhelmed and always pressed for time, consider hiring a professional cleaner so you can devote some quality time to your pup.

  • Keep your dog engaged.
  • Do more of the things your dog loves to do.
  • Give a reward each time your dog show signs of happiness.
  • Be careful not to encourage negative behavior.

If months go by but your dog still seems to be experiencing depression, your vet may prescribe medical treatment. It’s crucial that you deal with the problem early before it gets much worse. In most cases, a dog gets successfully treated with early environmental enrichment and behavior modification.

Give your dog enough attention

Canines are social creatures and usually able to get over depression quickly when you shower them with love. A pet who mopes around may only be fishing for your attention. Make sure to always find time to bond with your dog so that he won’t feel lonely and get depressed.

Separation anxiety is common in dogs who are left at home. Find your dog a companion when you’re out for work or make sure to give him lots of attention once you get home. This way, your furry friend will always feel secure and loved.


Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.

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