Depression in Dogs: How to Detect and Treat Them?


Just like humans, your furry friend can also feel many emotions like happiness, anger, or sadness. Expressing different emotions is good, but it becomes concerning when negative emotions stay for too long. The prolonged sadness can be depression in disguise. But how do you know if your pet is suffering from depression? 

Your dog can’t communicate their feelings, but at least you have the potential to see the symptoms of depression in them. So, what are the signs of depression in pets? What could have triggered this horrendous mental disease in your pet? And how do you treat it?

All your queries will end after reading further in this blog, where we discuss all about depression in dogs. So, scroll further if you want to fill your pet’s life with pawsitivity.

Symptoms of Depression in Dogs 

As a pet parent, it can be difficult to decode whether your pet is suffering from depression. However, different visible changes can indicate mental distress in dogs. If your furry friend is showing any of these symptoms, then you should take immediate measures:

  • Lack of appetite 
  • No interest in their favorite activity
  • Withdrawal 
  • Increased aggression
  • Wanting more attention from owners
  • Lethargy 

All the above symptoms can be signs of depression in your pet. However, you should not conclude, as these symptoms are present in other diseases, too. So, you need to know if your dog has faced any situation that causes depression. Knowing the reasons behind this mental disease helps you to know whether symptoms are due to depression or something else.

So let us see what are the causes behind the gloomy situation in dogs:

Reasons Behind Depression in Dogs 

Here are some reasons that trigger mental illness or depression in your little one:

  • Physical disease or injury 

The mind and body are interconnected. So, any illness, disease, or injury can negatively impact your pet’s mental state. Many pet parents provide treatment for physical ailments, but at that time, they forget to check on their dog’s mental health. 

  • Environmental changes 

Relocating to a new home, welcoming a new family member, or introducing a new pet to the family can affect your dog. Your little one may not embrace the change in their environment. A new location might make your pet feel anxious as everything changes for them. Surely, your little one would miss the old locality where they spent days running and playing. On the other hand, if you introduce a new member, whether it be a baby or another pet, all the attention will go away from your dog. Sharing love and care with someone is not something they would agree upon initially. 

  • Losing a loved one 

If your pet separates from a family member or another pet friend, then it can be quite harsh on them. In such a sad situation, your pet may grieve a lot. In some severe cases, dogs may not be able to overcome themselves from this state.

  • Seeing you sad 

Do you know that if you are sad about something, then it can impact your pet, too? Your furry friend is smart enough to understand whether you are feeling sad or happy. Not only does your dog know how you are feeling, but chances are they might catch those feelings, too.

  • Trauma 

Many bad events in your dog’s life can make them depressed. Losing a loved one, being hospitalized, or exposure to a new environment can be traumatic. Also, depression is common in adopted dogs who grew up in abusive environments in the past.

We have seen the reasons that can cause depression in dogs. If your pet has also suffered from any of these situations, then you should check their mental state. The most important step to treat depression in canines is to consult a veterinarian. The expert can guide you on what you need to do and also provide a prescription if required. Apart from taking your pet to the vet, you can also put some effort yourself to ensure that the sadness goes away.

So, how do you treat depression in furry friends? 

Here are some measures that are effective when it comes to improving your canine’s mental state:

Effective Remedies for Treating Depression in Dogs 

  • Take some time out for bonding 

Your presence is something that your dog will cherish in their tough time. So make sure that you spare ample time to bond with your pet. Not only will quality time cure depression in your pet, but it also enhances their trust in you.

  • Incorporate an active lifestyle 

Exercising and playing can help in managing depression in pets. Movement of the body releases endorphins that help decrease sadness in dogs. Physical activity in pets is significant, so make sure to make their routine an active one.

  • Make them comfortable with new changes 

Making your dog familiar with a new environment can be difficult but not impossible. You can make your canine used to environmental changes by creating a routine for them. A routine will help your dog to cope with the new change. Also, make sure that your pet socializes in new settings, as it will help in preventing loneliness. 

  • Plan a self-care day 

Having self-care days on weekends is not only a fun activity but also will help treat depression in your pet. A day consisting of walks, cafe hopping, and bonding sessions will boost your dog’s mood. So get creative by planning different self-care activities for you and your pet.

  • Implement behavior management techniques 

You can search for behavioral modification training in depressed pets. Seeking professional service is helpful if the depression in your dog is due to trauma. However, only use the behavior management technique if recommended by the vet. 

Key takeaway 

As we raise awareness towards mental health amongst humans, it is equally important to do the same for pets. Your dog’s mental health matters as much as their physical well-being. You need to be patient while improving the mental state of your pet. By applying remedies and taking the help of a vet, you can brighten up your little one’s life again.

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