Depression is a difficult thing for humans to understand and tackle. Our dogs are no exception. And while the signs of anxiety may be much easier to recognize in your dog, there are also signs of legitimate depression that your pet can’t always hide from you. Your job is simply to be armed with the knowledge it takes to spot the symptoms and do your best to help. In fact, there are many similarities between spotting a person who is depressed and a dog, for instance, be on the lookout for:
Changes In Appetite
Like humans, dogs stress eat just as much as they are likely to abstain from eating altogether when they’re distressed. If your dog is noticeably losing weight and eating less it’s likely because they’ve lost interest in food as a symptom of depression.
Dogs nap. It’s what they do. But again, if you notice a significant change in their sleeping habits during the day it may be another sign of depression. The best way to recognize this, though, is when you come home at the end of a long day. Most often, dogs are lounging around the house sleeping while you are away.
As we all know, one of our favorite parts of having a dog in the family, to begin with, is that familiar experience of coming home and being welcomed with so much love. They jump, they bark, they run around, and shower us with love when the moment we walk in the door and we milk every moment of it all. But if you come home and your dog continues sleeping instead of smothering you with affection, depression may be the cause.
Just be sure to see if there are any physical signs your dog may, in fact, be injured or ill instead.
They’re Less Active and Interested
Similar to their newfound laziness, disinterest in playtime, going for walks, or any other things that typically get your dog excited can be a result of depression. Just like a person who loses interest in normal activities and suddenly becomes sedentary, dogs can lose interest also.
Again, just like people, a depressed dog may just suddenly want to be left alone. While people tend to simply be quieter and keep to themselves, a dog will often noticeably seclude themselves and hide in places like the closet or under a bed. Sometimes this is a result of an injury or an illness, but depression certainly qualifies as an illness.
Of course, all these are just potential signs your dog may be depressed. They’re not a surefire diagnosis of it. It’s best to pay closer attention to your pup when you notice any of these signs, as they may be fleeting and temporary and they may reveal themselves as the result of injuries. It’s easy for us to assume physical ailments are emotional for our dogs because they simply can’t tell us what’s wrong. This means the best next step is always to take your pet to a veterinarian for help.