Have you been noticing lately that your dog’s energy levels have dropped, or his sleeping or eating patterns have changed, or maybe he lacks interest in the things he used to enjoy doing before? These could be signs that your dog is suffering from depression.
Just like every human being, dogs can experience symptoms of depression. These can be triggered either through the loss or departure of a family member, be it a human or an animal companion or a change in the dog’s daily routine such as the arrival of a new baby, pet or even moving into a new home. In this article, we shall be discussing some warning signs which show that your dog could be depressed.
Lack of appetite
Dog depression manifests similarly to that in humans. When dogs are depressed, they can experience several appetite changes. Dogs may start eating less or more, and others may even stop completely. Dogs may eat more when they are depressed as food could serve as a comfort to them. If your dog has experienced sudden weight loss, there is a good chance that it is suffering from depression.
Spending too much time indoors
Studies have shown that if your dog is not exposed enough to the outside world and is consistently left indoors, there is a higher chance that it may suffer from depression. More so, if your dog is left at home alone for long periods of time, they may get bored, stressed, and even frustrated with their surroundings. Most dog breeds need to run around in order to ward off boredom and to get back their energy. Experienced vets recommend owners to take their dogs on long walks or around the park, as this serves as mental stimulation. A simple walk in your backyard or around the block won’t cut it.
Experiencing the death of a family member
Just like every human being who grieves the death of a close family member or pet, your dog will also mourn the loss of a relative or an animal companion. If you sense that your dog is depressed following the loss of a close relative, it is important to comfort and distract him with the things he enjoys the most, such as taking him for a walk.
Losing interest in favourite activities
If your dog starts showing signs of lack of engagement and does not have the same energy levels that he used to before, then most probably it may be suffering from depression. Pet owners may start to notice that their dog is no longer excited to engage in playtime activities and it is showing a lack of interest to go out for walks. If you notice any of these signs it is important to speak to your vet, and he can guide you on the best way forward to lift your pet’s spirits.
Has your dog ever gone through depression? Tell us how you handled it in the comments section below.