Dog Depression: Why It Might Hit

21 January, 2018

Sure, it may seem like a disorder that’s unique to the human condition. But, in reality, dog depression is a very real thing. For instance, your furry friend cannot talk to you about how they feel. However, if you look closely you will notice that they actually display symptoms of depression that are very similar to what affects humans. But, why do dogs get depressed? The causes can, of course, be very diverse. Here, we’ll take you through a number of possible ones.

What are the possible causes of dog depression?

First, dog depression can begin with endogenous causes (that is, not attributable to any external factors). But, the causes are more often to be found in the dog’s environment. 

For example, sudden changes can influence dog depression. These changes can include, for example:

  • The addition of a new member to the family (another pet, a baby, etc.)
  • A death or absence of any member of the family group (whether human or animal).
  • Moving home.
  • Modifications to the dog’s routine: if you are absent for longer periods, or you come and go at unusual times, etc.
  • A fight with another dog during a walk.

In addition, changes in the weather can also cause your four-legged friend to suffer from depression.

Dogs can suffer from depression just like humans do. Although in some cases, the causes may be internal. However, it is most often caused by traumatic situations in the dog’s environment, or by inappropriate treatment by its owner.

Other causes of depression in dogs

But there are also deeper, less tangible factors that can cause dog depression. In these cases, the responsibility lies with the owner for not taking proper care of their pet and making sure their mental wellbeing is looked after. Some examples include:

  • Not promoting the socialization of a pet, especially with other dogs.
  • Failing to make sure they get enough exercise.
  • Overprotecting them.
  • Humanizing them.
  • Leaving them alone all day or not giving them the necessary attention.
  • Mistreating them in various other ways (hitting them, shouting at them, keeping them tied up and / or isolated, etc.).

In addition, if a dog’s owner is suffering from depression, it is likely that the dog itself will also get depressed. And because the owner is suffering from depression, he or she will be less able to provide the dog with all the care it requires.

Get to know the signs that your dog may be depressed

Although, as we mentioned, the signs of depression in dogs are often similar to those shown by humans with the condition, some of them may be easily confused with symptoms of fatigue or even just of boredom. That’s why you should pay close attention to your dog’s behavior, because if depression is not detected in good time, it can be become debilitating for your dog.

Among the common signs of depression in dogs are:

  • A lack of interaction with humans and other animals, both at home and during walks.
  • Inactivity. Your dog doesn’t feel like playing, running, or even walking.
  • Changes in their eating habits. In this case a dog may eat more – and put on a significant amount of weight – or, conversely, may lose all interest in food.
  • Alterations in sleep patterns. Generally, a dog that is suffering from depression will sleep more, but he or she may also feel nervous or restless, and have difficulty sleeping.

Other signs of canine depression

Some other possible signs of depression in your dog include:

  • Constantly having a dropped or droopy tail. Remember that understanding canine body language is a good way to find out what’s going on with your furry friend.
  • Starting to relieve themselves inside the house.
  • Displaying unusual behavior. Behaviors such as moaning or whining frequently, restlessness, excessive attachment to the owner or hiding can be related to depressive states.
  • Clearly self-destructive behaviors. In more serious cases, the animal may hit its body against walls, stop eating or physically harm itself in other ways.

Now that you’ve read some of the common warning signs, you’ll be better able to monitor your dog’s behavior. If you’re in any doubt as to whether your four-legged friend is developing this condition, it’s better to go to the vet straight away to make sure, and get advice as to how to deal with the situation in the best way possible, and get your beloved pet on the path to recovery.