We love our dogs more than anything and want them to be as happy as possible. Therefore it is better to be on watching for depressed dog signs before it is late. One of the caveats we have as dog parents and friends, sometimes it is not that easy to understand the depression symptoms. You just can’t go ahead and ask `Ollie how are you doing?` and get a clear answer. We can get a sense right through it but what if the sense we are getting is wrong and it is lasting for a long time? Will our dog be alright? Maybe he is under depression? Let’s check for the signs and see what we can do about them.
But wait... Do dogs really get depressed?
Unfortunately yes. Dogs get depressed just like humans. Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists says it is much more difficult to figure out the depression in dogs as you can not get a verbal response from them. However in many cases, they look into, depression is the only explanation of the observed behavior.
Why do dogs get depressed?
Physical illness, grief, environmental changes, or their humans’ experiences might be the leading causes of depression in dogs. Regardless of the reason, we as their lovers don’t want to see our loved ones in this situation. Let’s look at the signs and see what we can do about them.
Depressed dog signs:
1 Lack of appetite
If your dog is one of those ones who do anything for a treat and suddenly you see less interest in treat motivation as well as regular meals, it can be a sign of depression. Unfortunately, a lack of appetite can be a sign of physical problems as well. So please make sure to see your veterinarian for a physical check-up.
2 Lack of interest in their toys
If your lovely dog has gone from begging you to play more with the toys to you begging your dog to pay you a bit of attention to play with the toys, time to question if everything is alright with your fur baby. If you think the reason might be different, be sure to check out Why Does My Dog Lose Interest in Toys.
3 Increased Paw Licking
When you see your dog licking his paws more than usual you may need to give him more attention. Increased paw licking is a way for your beloved dog to soothe itself. Similarly with excessive chewing, licking the paws can be a result of psychological or physiological problems.
4 Change in sleep habits
We all know that dogs tend to sleep a lot, especially when the owners are not around and regain activeness whenever there is a company. Just think of being away for school or work, the dog takes its time to rest, then unusually continues to take a nap even after you arrive home. If your fur baby hardly reacts to your company, there must be something wrong.
This goes both ways, it is either the dog sleeps a lot or has a hard time sleeping. See if there is something physically bothering your pup and if he seems to be physically healthy, it is possible that the dog is depressed.
5 Hiding away
Is your dog a bit aloof and seem to avoid you? Just like us human beings, when they choose to be alone it is either they experience physical pain or illness. Depression falls under the illness category. This behavior usually links between emotional or physical issues.
6 Loss of interest
Admit it or not, you are also affected when your dog suddenly loses interest with the usual things that excite him like strolling around the park, playing, and more. Depression can also be expressed in dogs who become less interested, less active, or just seem to lose their purpose.
How to help a depressed dogIf any symptoms seen above, need to make sure to see your vet and it is not due to a physical condition. Then see what has changed in your or your dog's life to lead to depression. And spend more time with your dog and be patient! If depression symptoms don't go away for a long time, consider seeing a behaviorist for depression dog therapy
If you already determined what causes your dogs’ depression, it would be much easier for you to help him. Know what triggers the change in behavior. It can be due to a loss of a companion, changes in weather or environment. Just like us, when there comes a sudden change in what we were used to having or accustoming to, it sometimes affects our mood and state of mind. This also happens with our dogs.
Again, make sure first that your pup is physically healthy since depression won’t clear up regardless of what you do. However, if everything seems to be normal physically you may want to try some of these ways to brighten up your dog's mood.
Ways to cheer up
Take him outdoors:
These lovely creatures still need a bit of sunshine and fresh air. Take them to their natural habitat since lack of outdoor activities might be associated with his depression. Go out for a morning walk or play more outside even just within your backyard. If you have the time you may also want to take him out to a new place for a longer walk. This will not only benefit your dog but also you. Observe if it changes his mood over time, if he cheers up a bit, continue doing this more often.
Spend more quality time with your dog:Yes, they do need love, care, and attention too. Play more, go out for walks, or just take time to cuddle at home. If the depression is due to your dog feeling lonely throughout the day while you are away then this could be a great help. Just be patient with your fur baby and everything will be better in time.
Pamper your dog:
We are not saying to take him to a spa or dog massage - well if you can, why not? Simple things like a new toy for you and him to play with together or give him special treats whenever your dog plays or interacts more to encourage the behavior.
Meet new friends:
It would be great to expose your dogs to other dogs so that it could boost his mood. Try bringing him to a dog park, or have a walk with a companion who has dogs too. If it’s not too much for you, you may want to get a puppy for your dog to have a new friend. It would need time to adjust but it could be a great way to get him out of depression.
Calm your dog with music:
It is clinically proven right tunes help dogs deal better with their stress. Try Barkwoo Dog Music that is designed for dogs.