Just as with people, it’s possible for dogs to experience depression. Oftentimes, canine depression is triggered be a major life change. The death of a human companion or another animal in the home can cause dogs to stray from being their normal, happy selves. Other big changes, like a move or welcoming a new baby into the world, can be traumatic for some dogs and may result in an onset of the blues.
So, how can owners tell if their dog is suffering from depression? Just as with people, the disease can take many forms in dogs. Some canines will lose interest in their favorite activities (walks, games, etc.), while others will become lethargic or sometimes even aggressive. Other possible symptoms of depression in dogs include loss of appetite, more hours spent sleeping, or the onset of destructive behavior.
If you think your dog is depressed, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian because these symptoms are not unique to the condition and could mean another medical problem is brewing. If depression is ruled as the culprit for your dog’s symptoms and/or behavior, compassion and time are the two best cures. Dogs need time to adjust to any new situation, whether it be a new house or a new family member. When changes occur, try to stick to your canine companion’s typical routine and always provide access to comfort items like familiar blankets or toys. If your sweet doggy has an accident in your new house or displays other undesirable behaviors, try to remember that losing your temper won’t help the situation. Lastly, keep in mind that dogs will often mimic the emotions of their owners. As you start to become more comfortable, less stressed, or less sad in a given situation, it’s likely that your dog will follow suit.