How to Get Through Dog Depression?

Updated: February 20, 2024

Can dogs get depressed? It is not a remote possibility that your dog can get depressed and dog depression is very similar to the symptoms and signs in humans.

There are many causes for why dogs get depressed. So, for better understanding, we have come up a guide on how to help a dog get through depression. Learn to better understand some of the causes, signs and symptoms of dog depression. 

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"To make sure you get the right diagnosis, the first step in determining if it's dog depression is to consult your veterinarian immediately."

Signs of dog depression

Is my dog depressed? Just like humans, dog depression symptoms can include the following:

For diapers:

  • Will become withdrawn
  • Will become inactive
  • Sleeping and eating habits change
  • Weight loss
  • Shows no signs of interest in the things they once loved doing

But take note that these symptoms, too, can mean that your dog may have a possible health issue. And to make sure you get the right diagnosis, the first step in determining if this is depression or not in your dog is to consult your veterinarian immediately. Because a dog who doesn't look forward to take a walk in the park might just simply mean his joints are aching.

What causes dog depression?

There can be a number of reasons and events that can eventually lead to depression.

  • Moving into a new home
  • A new family member
  • A new pet
  • A change in a dog's daily routine (e.g. a hands-on and stay-at-home pet parent who suddenly has a busy schedule)
  • A traumatic incident
  • Loss of companion animal
  • Loss of a pet parent

In a number of cases , dog depression may be a secondary sign of an underlying health problem like prolonged anxiety, acute infection (e.g. parvovirus), poisoning, kidney failure, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, etc . If you think your dog hasn't had any major changes in his life and still shows sign of depression, talk to your vet on what could possibly be causing this.

How to Care For Dog Depression

Most cases of dog depression usually go out on their own and they are easily overcome, although it can take up to a few years. But your dog can't do it alone. Here are things you can do as pet parent to speed up your dog's recovery .

  • Give more attention. Praise your dog whenever you see signs of happiness (wagging tail, chasing tail, etc). Never praise your dog if you don't see any signs. This way, your dog will be able to incorporate the reward/praise into being happy first.
  • Get active. Depression worsens when your dog is basically not doing anything. That's why walks, play times and activities they enjoy are important. For example, if your dog loves chasing balls , then do it on a regular basis. And whenever you see them having a good time, praise them or give a reward.
  • Get them a friend. If your dog's depression may have been caused by a loss of a companion animal or a close human friend, you can consider getting another pet or you can take regular visits to the park, doggie daycare or on training classes for him to be able to meet and socialize with other people and other dogs
  • Provide calming supplements. A depressed dog is so full of stress and anxiety. These calming supplements can help in making him feel calm, relaxed and at peace.

Your dog won't be able to simply snap out it and if you think it's getting worse, talk to your vet for possible medications. Antidepressants also work with dogs as much as it works for humans. There are antidepressants specifically made for dogs.

Depression is something you should never take for granted as it prevents your dog from having a quality of life he deserves. Just remember that as a pet parent, it is your responsibility to keep him healthy both physically and mentally for that happy and healthy life ahead.

"If you suspect your dog's depression is getting worse, speak to your vet to discuss possible medications."

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