Depression In Dogs: How To Spot The Symptoms
Fri, December 3, 2021

Depression In Dogs: How To Spot The Symptoms

For dogs, it is said that the signs of depression are also similar to those observed in humans. But, unlike humans, dogs cannot tell us if they are not feeling good / Photo by: Sommart Sombutwanitkul via Shutterstock

 

Dogs are a symbol of sunshine and pure happiness. Most people will bravely claim that they love having dogs as their pets because they're just such comforting companions. Unfortunately, dogs also experience sadness, just like humans do.

There are different ways to tell if people are depressed. Some of them exhibit symptoms like not eating regularly, or they might show their emotions by crying too much. Humans might find that they are crying unexpectedly, especially in situations in which they least expect to.

For dogs, it is said that the signs of depression are also similar to those observed in humans. But, unlike humans, dogs cannot tell us if they are not feeling good. Cesar Way, a website that produces articles about dog psychology and health, said that pet owners should understand that dogs can feel sad or depressed too. Even though there’s not much research on it, there is still anecdotal evidence that exists pointing to dog depression. 

Sleeping Too Much

Similar to humans, dogs who sleep a lot might be depressed. Sure, maybe your dog just likes sleeping, but if they are naturally active and playful, dog owners must keep an eye on their dog’s sleeping schedule. For example, if you leave your dog for a long time, and if they continue to sleep when you arrive and barely react to your presence, then something must be wrong.

But, before jumping to conclusions, check for physical problems first by visiting a veterinarian to determine if your dog is suffering from disease or injury. If there are no physical problems, then your dog might be feeling lonely or depressed. 

Loss of Interest

One of dogs' favorite activities is to play all day long. They will wag their tail continuously once they see you holding a ball or a toy. But Hills Pet Nutrition, a company that provides quality pet food, mentioned on their website that if the dog starts to be less eager to do the things they used to enjoy, it might be a sign that they are depressed or feeling down. 

If your dog suddenly loses interest in playing, walks, and other things that used to excite them, they might become less active or slow down. Pet owners should let their dogs do the activities that they enjoy in the first place, and let them do these at their own pace. Since depression in dogs is similar to humans, one must remember that they also need to have their own space and time when dealing with these problems. 

Similar to humans, dogs who sleep a lot might be depressed. Sure, maybe your dog just likes sleeping, but if they are naturally active and playful, dog owners must keep an eye on their dog’s sleeping schedule / Photo by: Sigma_S via Shutterstock

 

Losing a Loved One

Dogs are known to be creatures that know how to express their emotions vividly. When someone they care about dies, they will also be affected by it. Dogs can get attached to people and other housepets around them. They will sense when a family member or a close friend dies or moves out, and it can affect their moods significantly. 

If you notice that there is a big change in your dog’s mood after a human or pet is no longer at the house for whatever reason, the pet owner must make sure that they receive more love and affection than usual. 

Shouting at Them Can Make Them Feel Sad

Our furry friends can sometimes misbehave. Whether they chew furniture or spread their muddy paws over your newly cleaned floors, one might find it frustrating to see them acting out. Dog owners will usually shout at their puppies or dogs when this happens, but a new study mentioned that owners who use “punishment-based” training with their dogs might actually make their pets depressed. 

In an article published by Country Living Magazine, an American lifestyle and home magazine, they shared that the research was conducted by the University of Porto in Portugal. They said that the shouting and scolding methods of behavior management can sometimes result in negative consequences in the future. 

Scientist Ana Catarina, who led the study, shared that they recruited 42 dogs from training schools that used food or play to encourage good behavior. The researchers filmed the two groups of dogs during training and they tested their saliva to look for the stress hormone cortisol. They found that those dogs who were in the negative reinforcement groups showed signs of stress such as lip-licking and yawning. 

Marc Bekoff, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Colorado, also added, “Punishment training may seem to work in the short run, but these methods can have future negative consequences. These dogs are living in perpetual stress.”

Dogs can have bad days, just like their owners. It might also take someone who loves them to notice their feelings. They will need someone to guide them back to their normal and happier state. However, pet owners must remain patient and understanding when their dog feels down or depressed. 

Researchers said that the shouting and scolding methods of behavior management can sometimes result in negative consequences in the future / Photo by: Javier Brosch via Shutterstock