In this article, we will be taking a look at how to tell if your dog is depressed or not. We have seen a steady number of people asking similar questions recently so we decided to publish this post.
Unfortunately, a depressed dog can share many symptoms with both a sick or just a lazy dog. Our hope is that this article will help any of our readers in this situation work out whats happening and help get their dog back on track.
How To Tell If Your Dog Is Depressed
There are five main different symptoms that most dogs will display when depressed. Although most dogs won’t display all five symptoms, displaying two or three at the same time can be pretty common. These symptoms are:-
- Appetite Changes
- Changes in Sleeping Habits
- Loss of Interest
- Avoidance or Hiding
- Excessive Licking
If you notice any sudden changes in your dog in these areas then your dog may have depression. We will now move on to covering each of these symptoms in more detail and give you an idea of what to look for before moving on to various ways you can cheer your dog up.
You will know your dog better than anyone, especially its appetite. Although a small number of dogs may randomly go off their food for a few days due to illness, you will be in the best position to pick up on when your dogs eating patterns have changed.
Take note, appetite changes are not solely down to depression in your dog. If you have suddenly changed their main food or their treats then this may cause digestive upset in them giving the impression of a sudden appetite change. If you have recently changed your dog’s food then try switching back to its old food or one of the high-quality dog foods off our ultimate list of dog foods.
Changes in Sleeping Habits
Detecting changes in your dogs sleeping patterns can be a little difficult for most dog owners as you may be out at work during the day when your dog may take naps. Additionally, things like sudden changes in temperature in your location can result in your dog sleeping more often then it had done in the previous season.
One thing that may help you get a better picture of if your dog is depressed is trying to offer your dog a treat or its favorite toy when it goes to bed.
Loss of Interest
One of the easiest to spot signs that your dog is depressed is if it shows a sudden loss of interest in things it previously enjoyed such as going for walks, playing with toys, playing with other dogs or its meals. Your dog losing interest in one of these for a short period of time may be totally natural for your dog but losing interest in two or more can be a sign of depression.
Similar to our advice above, you can try to get your dog interested in its toys and such to see how it responds. One common problem that we see with dog owners if that they provide some-par dog toys for their specific dog breed. We wrote more about how to select the perfect toy for your specific dog breed in this article that may be helpful to you.
Avoidance or Hiding
The vast majority of dog owners love their owners and will rush up to you to give you a warm welcome as soon as you get home. If your dog has suddenly taken to avoiding you or hiding from you rather than spending time with you then there is a high-chance something may be wrong.
There are some instances where this may be expected for a short period of time. For example, you have had to take your dog to your local veterinarians for its booster jabs and your dog blames you and is simply sulking. If there is nothing like this that has recently happened to your dog then keep an eye out for any of the other symptoms on the list as it may be depression.
Excessive licking of their paws can be a common coping mechanism for dogs that have depression. Although some dogs do lick their paws naturally if your dog suddenly starts to compulsively lick them excessively then it is a good indicator that your dog is depressed.
How To Cheer Up A Depressed Dog
As we previously mentioned earlier in the article, some dog breeds are more inclined to play with specific types of toys due to their breeding and the traits that have been promoted through their bloodline. Our article on selecting the perfect toy for your dog breed can help you choose the correct toy for your dog to help cheer it up.
Another common issue is the food that you are feeding your dog. Many low-quality or budget dog foods can have ingredients in them that can cause allergies in your dog to flare up and cause issues. Our article on the best dog food for allergies on the market can help remove this risk. It may be a challenge to get your dog to transition to the food initially but once it does and it works out that the new food will not cause its allergies to flare up it will start to enjoy meal time again and may break out of its depression.