Has your dog seemed sad to you lately? If so, there’s a good chance your intuition is correct. Just like people, it’s not uncommon for dogs to feel sad at times, and when they do, the symptoms are similar to those of a depressed person.
The Signs and Symptoms of Doggie Depression
Changes in Eating Habits
Has your dog’s appetite suddenly changed? This is typically one of the first and most common symptoms of doggie depression. Most dogs, when feeling depressed, will lose their interest in food, and may even stop eating all together.
On the other hand, some dogs will overeat when feeling sad. You can think of this like a person eating a whole gallon of ice cream after getting dumped. If you’ve noticed that your dog has suddenly lost their appetite or wants to eat all the time, there’s a good chance they might be feeling down.
Does your dog suddenly seem disinterested in activities they used to enjoy? Sluggish, apathetic behavior is another common symptom. If your dog no longer cares about going for a walk, playing with their toys, or anything else they used to get excited about, there may be something wrong with them.
When a dog is feeling depressed, it is not uncommon for them to spend most of their time sleeping. If all your dog wants to do is sleep all day, this could indicate they are feeling sad.
Excessively Licking or Chewing Them Self
Sometimes when a dog is feeling down in the dumps, they will excessively lick or gnaw at them self. Usually, they will lick their paws constantly. They do this to calm their nerves, similar to a person biting their fingernails.
Much like how a depressed person may decide to smash something as a means of letting out frustration, a depressed dog may start destroying things around the house. When they do this, they tend to be experts at destroying things you really like. That’s because they are not just blowing off steam, they are trying to send you a message.
For example, German Shepherds are a breed known for having particularly bad separation anxiety. When their owners leave them alone for too long, it’s not uncommon them to return home to a house full of chewed up belongings.
Hiding From You
If your dog seems to be hiding from you all the time, this is a definite sign they are not feeling well. It usually means the dog has experienced some kind of trauma. The trauma could be physical, emotional, or both.
A New Addition Has Been Added to the Family
Dogs can become very jealous. Especially dogs that are “only children,” so to speak. If you’ve recently added a new member to your family – whether it’s a new baby, or a puppy, or even another type of pet – your dog may be feeling jealous, and that could be the cause of their depression.
How to Make Your Dog Happy Again
If your dog is exhibiting many of the symptoms above, they are probably depressed, and something should be done about it.
Take Them to the Vet
The first thing you should do is take them to the vet so the vet can determine if there’s something physically wrong with your dog. If your dog has a physical illness that is bothering them, that’s probably what’s bringing their mood down.
Spend More Time with Them, Play with Them, Etc.
It’s hard to accept that you might be the reason your dog is depressed, but it’s probably you. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad owner, but there’s a good chance you might be doing something – or not doing something – that is making your dog sad.
Dogs, like people, need love, affection, and attention. Dogs also have lots of energy coupled with a very short attention span, so they get bored frequently and require lots of stimulation. If you know that your dog spends all day cooped up in the house, or that you don’t walk them frequently, or show them much attention; that’s likely the reason your dog is sad.
Try spending more time with them doing things they like. That might be all it takes to lift their spirits up again.