Depression in Dogs, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

Depression in Dogs

Depression is not a disease that affects only humans. Even if they can not talk to us to express their malaise, the animals can also be victims of this psychological disorder, dogs included. It is then up to the master to observe his animal in order to be on the lookout for a change in his behavior as well as in his habits, to be able to act quickly and efficiently, if necessary.

What are the causes of depression in dogs?

The causes of depression in dogs can be many. To be able to help him effectively out of this mental distress, it is important to know the problems that caused the dog to feel so bad.


Stress is obviously one of the main causes of depression in dogs. If it is recurrent, it will push the animal to be more and more closed to itself, to end up shut in a bubble of loneliness and malaise.

Many factors can cause this stress. A move for example, may be the cause: if the dog was used to living in the countryside and / or being able to go out in a garden when he wanted, and he finds himself overnight locked in a small apartment this can strongly affect his mind.

It is also known that too early weaning causes behavioral problems in the adult dog (that is, when the puppy is removed too early from his mother). Remember that a puppy is not really weaned until two and a half to three months of age. A dog removed from his mother before the end of this period may have behavioral problems, including depression.

The arrival of a new being in the home, be it a new animal, a child, or a new companion, may let the dog think he is too much, pushing him little by little to isolate himself.


Death is also a factor that affects our pets. If your dog was very attached to a family member or even to another animal in the house, and it disappears overnight (whether due to death or a simple departure), this can strongly affect the dog who will sometimes have a lot of trouble recovering.

Finally, loneliness can cause depression for your little protected. If you were very often at home, with your doggie, and that overnight you repeat more and more regular and prolonged absences, your dog may then feel lonely and depressed more and more, as and when as the loneliness will be too great.

As you will understand, there are a multitude of factors that can lead your dog to depression. As a teacher, it is up to you to analyze the changes that have been able to disturb the moods of your four-legged friend, so that you can act accordingly so that he feels better and regains his joie de vivre.

Symptoms of depression in dogs

Depression in dogs causes a number of symptoms specific to this disease. Although it will not necessarily present all, the appearance of some of them should alert you:

  • tendency the isolation of the dog, or even the distance when someone tries to make contact with him.
  • significant loss of appetite: the dog that previously finished all its bowls in record time, now barely touches it, or even no longer wants to feed at all, causing irreparable weight loss very consequent.
  • apathy, softness, without any motivation for games or outings, or for nothing.
  • sleep very little restorative because of a state of permanent anxiety; the slightest noise will startle him or wake him up.
  • tendency to squeak, or to scream for no apparent reason, it is his way of expressing his malaise.
  • destructive behavior that the animal did not have before; we’re not talking here about a young puppy teething or a dog a little over excited.
  • loss of the notions of cleanliness, towards himself, by not washing himself again (his coat will then become fat and dull quickly) or towards his needs; It is not uncommon to see a dog that has learned to never do its homework, to relieve itself in the middle of the living room.

Be careful though, although these symptoms are usually related to depression, they can also be the cause of other problems, especially old age. It will therefore be strongly advised to consult a veterinarian so that he can make an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment of depression in dogs

As for treating a depressed human, a depressed dog will mainly need all the attention of his or her master (s) to regain his joie de vivre. It will therefore be patient, and push him out, to play, without forcing him, but encouraging him in a cheerful voice.

Do not hesitate to meet other dogs. Indeed, a social interaction with one or more of his fellow creatures can stimulate your four-legged friend and push him to play, or simply give him a taste for socialization.

During your absence, make sure your dog friend is not alone. Give it to a neighbor or friend, who has a dog, preferably, so that he does not feel lonely as soon as you leave, making him go back into a depressed state.

During quiet moments at home, do not hesitate to spend time with your dog. Caress him, brush him, do whatever it takes to make him feel loved.

The only “gadgets” that can help your dog get out of depression are mainly dogs that are removed too soon from their mother, are necklaces or cushions that release maternal pheromones, helping to soothe the dog’s anxiety.

It may take some time, from weeks to months, but does not your little protégé deserve your time to help?

How to prevent depression in dogs?

Preventing depression in dogs depends greatly on the events that will take place in your life. If all goes well and there is no big change apparent, it will just be enough to give him attention. Walk it regularly, play it, cuddle it, feed it properly, and so everything will be fine.

If a particular event is likely to reach your dog, do not hesitate to bring him attention. If this concerns the death of an animal or a person of the family for example, do not forget that it also affects it, your presence will then be essential so that it can recover.

In the case of a big change of habits (arrival of a child or a new person in your life, or even a move), continue to bring him attention. The dog should never feel excluded from your new life.

To conclude, do not forget that for a dog, his master is his whole life. To make him feel good and to prevent him from falling into depression, he will simply have to feel loved in all circumstances.

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