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Depression in dogs: how to detect and combat

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Can dogs have depression? The answer is yes. Our dog friends can suffer pathologies similar to ours. It is important to be aware because the symptoms may go unnoticed, but the situation can be serious and should be remedied by consulting a veterinarian or an ethologist.


Our furry friends can be sad or discouraged, but the problem arises when we detect that a dog is depressed. We must be aware of the symptoms of this disorder to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible. Depression in dogs can be more common than you think and can often go unnoticed, as the symptoms that occur when it appears are not considered important.

So what can you do if your dog has depression? We talk about it in this article.


Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

We can differentiate two types of depression in dogs : endogenous and exogenous. The second is more common, due to the environment and with different causes. Endogenous depression refers to the biological basis. The symptoms that we can detect are:

  • Reduction of your activity.
  • Interact less with other people and dogs.
  • Loss of interest in the environment.
  • Eating disorders (compulsive eating or stopping eating).
  • Apathy.
  • Sleep disorder (sleeping more or sleeping less).
  • Moans, screams and howls .
  • Look for places of refuge.
  • Behavior changes.
  • Less desire to play.
  • Incontinence.
  • He licks his feet a lot .

Causes of depression in dogs

There are several situations that can favor the appearance of depression in dogs:

Depression in Dogs Due to the Death of Another Dog

Dogs form very strong bonds with humans and other furry friends. The loss of a loved one can be devastating for them, and they can suffer from depression, just like we do.

Depression in Dogs Due to Movement

A sudden change of house or even family can lead to behavioral problems and even disorders. You will need your acceptance and adaptation period. We can help you with appropriate stimuli to restore attachment.

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Depression in Dogs Due to Illness

Sometimes dogs suffer from illnesses that interfere with their play and walking routine, which can end in depression.

Depression in Dogs Due to Psychological Pregnancy

In bitches not sterilized , after heat, a hormonal imbalance may occur that makes the body believe that it is pregnant. Then, she will develop maternal instinct and changes in her behavior, including depression.

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stress depression in dogs

There are many factors that can lead to stress in a dog friend, such as fights, conflicts with other animals or illnesses. This can end in depression.

Depression in Dogs Due to Climate and Seasonal Changes

Just like humans, changes in seasons can have an impact on pets' moods, as can prolonged periods of bad weather.

Separation Depression in Dogs

It can occur when a dog has not learned to be alone at home and begins to develop destructive behaviors. It can also happen that some dogs that have been separated too quickly from their mothers and siblings suffer from depression.

Treatment for depression in dogs

Treatment for depression in dogs must be prescribed by a specialist, who will first rule out physical pathology. What the veterinarian will do is investigate the trigger to know which treatment to apply. If there are severe cases, the animal may need medication.

How can I help my dog if he is depressed?

Even if we consult an ethologist or veterinarian, we can follow some tips to show our support for our dog friend.

Dogs live in packs and need to feel sheltered and protected, so if your dog has depression , you must spend time with him so that he feels that you help him and make him feel integrated.

It is very important to stimulate it. Walks should be done with joy and not just to relieve yourself. Let him do the exercise adjusted to his age and play with him to stimulate him physically and mentally.

A somewhat risky decision, but one that could work, is adopting another furry friend. You should discuss this decision with your trusted veterinarian or ethologist, as it cannot be taken lightly and could even be harmful.

Sometimes we forget that dogs were originally wild animals that love nature and the outdoors. This is still rooted in our dog's instincts, so his depression may be related to a lack of outdoor activity. Try having your dog walk or play tag behind you while you walk.

If you have recently lost an older dog, this is likely a great way to help your depressed dog . If you can bring a new dog into your home, with a proper introduction and a little time to adjust, it can add some value, and adding a new friend may be the best way to help your dog through a difficult time.

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