Can Dogs Have Emotional Problems?

More and more people are coming to understand that dogs have emotions. And, that means that they can also have emotional problems. 
Can Dogs Have Emotional Problems?

Last update: 06 March, 2019

In the past few years, more and more people have started to question if animals have feelings. The common consensus is that, yes, they do. And so, if they have emotions, then they must also suffer from some emotional problems. However, there are skeptics who don’t believe this.

In today’s article, we’ll explain what kind of problems they may have, how to detect them and what solutions there are for them.

What emotional problems can dogs have, and how can you detect them?

There are many emotional problems that dogs can have, and they have many different causes. For example:

A dog looking angry.
  • Stress or anxiety.Dogs can suffer from stress caused by boredom. It can also be caused by spending long periods of time at home alone, or by psychological or verbal abuse. This stress can even be fatal because of their sexual instinct.
  • Loneliness. A dog may start to feel rejected by his owners if their jobs keep them from spending a lot of time with their pet. Being alone for long periods of time or feeling displaced by the arrival of a new baby or another pet can also be causes of loneliness.
  • Sadness. This may happen if you’ve recently moved to a new home. Or, if your pet has lost a friend, like another pet or a member of the family.

These are a few of the emotional problems your pet could suffer from. Therefore, it’s very important that you pay attention to any personality or routine changes in your pet. Be very careful if he stops eating, is behaving differently or wants to sleep too much.

Any personality or character changes may be signs of emotional problems. These can lead to behavioral issues that are difficult to cure, but it’s not impossible.

Emotional and behavioral problems

Hierarchy is very important to keep your dog happy and well-balanced. If your pet doesn’t know his place in the home, he won’t be able to keep the balance that all healthy beings need in their lives. So, you have to really know what your pet’s needs are and what makes him happy.

Going to therapy with a dog therapist or psychologist is also important for the dog’s well-being. However, it’s essential that the owners carry out the exercises that the professional gives them to do at home with their pet.

Behavioral changes shouldn’t be overlooked. If a dog that’s normally calm and well-mannered suddenly exhibits destructive behavior, seems sad or has trouble obeying orders, it’s obvious that there’s an issue. The first thing you should do when you notice these behavioral changes, is to take him to the vet. Then, the vet can determine if it’s necessary to take him to a specialist, like a psychologist. 

Emotional problems and compulsive behaviors

You may notice that your dog is doing particular things that he had never done before, and they might even be funny to watch. Some examples are him licking your nose a lot and very quickly. Or he might run around the house like crazy, be scratching more than he should or just run in circles chasing his own tail, among other things.

However, as funny as it may be to watch, if your dog has never done this kind of thing, and just starts doing it overnight, then there’s definitely something wrong. 

Some dogs have emotional problems.

In addition to this behavior, there may be other harmful compulsive behaviors like howling, biting their own tail, attacking other dogs or people, etc. All of these could be signs of emotional problems in your pet, so it’s best to take him to a professional as soon as possible. 


If you want to know whether your dog is suffering from emotional problems, remember:

  • Don’t overlook the signals he’s sending you. It doesn’t matter if you find their behavior funny or not, what matters is that you do something about it.
  • Don’t hesitate to take him to a professional. First, take him to a veterinarian and, if she says it’s necessary, take him to a psychologist.
  • Work with the professionals. It’s important to work with the medical professionals and do all the exercises they give you so your pet can heal. Don’t think that the sessions will heal your pet’s problem themselves, you need to do your part.
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The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.