A brown and white dog resting its head on a bed

Is my dog depressed?

Are you concerned that your pup isn't acting or feeling like their usual self? Do they seem more lethargic than normal, appear uninterested in activities they usually love, and don’t want to interact with humans and other pets as much as they once did? If so, your dog may be showing signs of depression. 

While it may feel overwhelming to realise that your canine companion is struggling emotionally, the good news is that there are steps you can take to address this issue and help them get back on track!

In this blog post, we will discuss factors that could be contributing to depression in dogs so you have a better understanding of why this condition occurs. We'll also cover what the signs of doggy depression look like so you can spot when something isn't quite right.

Finally, we'll provide tips for how to improve the mental well-being of your pup, so they can get back to being their happy self .

Can a dog get depression 

It has long been known that dogs experience emotions such as joy, anger, fear, and frustration. However, can a dog suffer from depression? 

Recent research suggests that dogs can in fact experience similar symptoms to depression as humans do: lethargy, loss of appetite, lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, changes in sleeping patterns and more. 

It is believed that dogs share many similar psychological functions with humans and so a dog experiencing mental fatigue may indeed be considered depressed. If you believe your pet to be exhibiting signs of canine depression then humane medications or therapies may help them make a full recovery.

Ultimately, it is important for all pet owners to recognise the feelings and behaviour of their furry friend in order to guarantee them a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Signs of depression in dogs

Dogs, like humans, can suffer from depression as a result of a variety of triggers. Signs to look out for in your own pet that could indicate they're feeling down include:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns and 
  • Changes in energy levels 
  • Change in body language
  • An inability or lack of interest in interacting with others 
  • Avoidance of games or activities they once enjoyed
  • An increase in destructive and self-destructive behaviour

If you notice any persistent behavioural changes in your pup, it might be a good idea to take them to the vet for an assessment. The earlier you detect signs of depression in dogs, the sooner action can be taken to help them get their zest for life back.

How to treat dog depression

Step 1: Monitor Your Dog's Behaviour

It is important to pay close attention to your pup’s behaviour as this can be an indicator of depression. Watch for signs such as changes in appetite, sleeping habits, and activity level. If you notice any significant changes, it may be a sign that your pup is suffering from depression or an illness.

Step 2: Increase Exercise and Socialisation

Regular exercise and socialisation are essential for dogs with depression. Take your dog out for regular walks or runs to help reduce stress levels, improve mood, and increase overall well-being.

Additionally, take time to interact with other humans and dogs during these activities so that your pup can benefit from the companionship of others too! 

Step 3: Provide Comforting Environments  

Dogs need comfort just like humans do when they are feeling down or stressed out. Make sure that their living environment provides them with a safe space where they can relax without fear or anxiety.

Offer plenty of love and affection while also providing toys or blankets that will make them feel secure at home.

Step 4: Provide Mental Stimulation

Dog depression can be caused by boredom and lack of mental engagement. To help alleviate this, provide your dog with mental stimulation activities such as puzzle toys, hide-and-seek games, or agility courses. You can also take your dog for a long walk in the park or to a nearby pet store for some socialisation.

If you notice that your dog is starting to lose interest in these activities, then it may be time to seek professional help.

Step 5: Seek Professional Help

If the above steps fail to improve your pup’s situation and symptoms of depression persist, seeking professional help from a veterinarian or an animal behaviourist is recommended.

Your vet or animal behaviourist will be able to assess the situation and provide recommendations on how to treat your pup’s depression. 

They may also prescribe medications or other therapies that can help manage your dog’s mental health. It is important to remember that professional help is available, so don't hesitate to reach out if needed. With patience and care, you can have a happy and healthy pup again in no time.

Get everything you need to keep your pup happy

We hope this guide has helped you figure out if your dog is depressed and how you can treat them. If your pup has been feeling down, it’s important that you get them all the gear they’re going to need to be their happy and healthy selves again. 

Scriptly offers just about everything you’ll need to keep your pooch happy and healthy. To shop some of Australia’s most well-known and trusted brands, click here.