We as owners of dogs have this confident feeling that we know every step to meet our dog needs and how to make them feel happy. However, what we keep forgetting is that like us humans, our four-legged friends can suffer from a long list of emotional troubles, and on top of the list, there is depression.
Besides, depression in dogs can be the consequence of a major life change, like moving to a new house, having a new roommate, major changes in their routine, etc. Therefore, you may be wondering how I should know that my dog is feeling down or depressed, do not worry we have listed here some of the silent signs your dog is depressed, to help you overcome this kind of situations.
Aggression is a major sign of depression
First, you should start paying attention to all the little details because they certainly do matter, as an example, did you notice that your dog suddenly changed from being soft and playful to lunging to every person or animal they see while walking out. This may be a sign of depression, because if your dog suddenly starts to express signs of aggression, then it is worth talking to your vet about.
Depressed dogs may lick themselves constantly
Licking is not always considered as a normal thing that our faithful friends do. Research has shown that it is not always a normal activity that dogs do, they do not just lick themselves to get clean, and they do that in order of making themselves feel better. While it is not a well-known symptom of dogs’ depression, but you should always pay attention, because they may just pick a spot and keep licking it.
A depressed dog may be eating less
Since dogs can be humans best friends, you can spot the similarities between us and them, and like us humans when dogs feel depressed they as well lose their appetite and just leave their food laying in the bowl. However, if your dog surprisingly loses appetite, it may be a strong sign that they are dealing with depression. Unfortunately, depression is not the only consequence of losing appetite; your dog may as well have some serious medical issues. Either way, you need to contact your vet as soon as possible just to avoid any complications in the future.
A depressed dog will sleep more than usual
Sleeping too much is not considered a new sign of depression to us humans, but every dog breed is different from the other, so the amount of hours a dog should sleep is not fixed. Nevertheless, you should always keep count and pay attention to your dog sleeping hours, as in example if your dog normally sleeps 14 hours a day and now it is 20 hours, that would be a noticeable difference, and if you are concerned, you should always ask for an advice of the experts.
Losing interest in playing may be a silent sign of depression
Dogs are different, not every dog enjoys throwing a ball or going out for walks, so lack of exercise might not be a clear sign. What you should pay attention to is that if your dog used to love and enjoy some activities but he stopped and can’t enjoy them anymore, this kind of behavior might be key in discovering if your dog is feeling depressed or not. As an example, if your dog always keeps waiting for your kids by the door to come from school, but suddenly he stops doing it, then you should start feeling concerned and contact your vet as soon as possible.
A depressed dog might develop some strange habits like howling
Sometimes you are just sitting in peace, or maybe sleeping, suddenly you start hearing your dog howling. Those long, mournful howls from your furry friend are not just their way of showing off their vocal range. New sounds and vocalizations are sometimes a sign that your dog may be depressed. As they can, also be a sign of injury or an open wound, if they are all of a sudden howling regularly. You need to make sure you get your dog checked out.
Biting may be a strong sign that there is something wrong
If those sweet innocent bites have turned to aggressive harmful bites, then it is a real alert and you may consider taking your buddy to the vet. Biting is a big sign of aggressive behavior and as we stated previously. Aggression is a clear sign that your dog is going through a rough time and dealing with depression, and you should get this behavior checked before your dog bites someone other than you.
Depressed dogs may become destructive
Chewing shoes is not a new or strange behavior when it comes to puppies, you always come home to catch that your puppy is biting and chewing your teddy bear or your shoes that you left out. However, when it comes to adult dogs, it is not the case, chewing stuff and being destructive is not a normal act. You should take the opinion of a specialist or vet concerning a potential depression, so you can always try to find solutions before any behavior starts getting worse.
A lack of interest in their toys
Sadly, dog depression is not something to ignore. In fact, it is a very serious issue. A depressed dog would not have the same energy and vibe he had, before getting depressed. Therefore, when it is time to play around it will not excite your dog as much as it used to be. After noticing that your dog has moved from begging to play with him, to stop caring at all, it is a good time for you to take the opinion of the expertise and take your dog for a visit to the vet.
Keeping your dog healthy is the best way to combat depression
Based on the signs we were able to list, whenever you feel like your dog is feeling depressed, you need to make sure all the basic needs are being fully covered and fellfield. Give them fresh food and water, regular training and exercise, belly rubs, and the assurance that he is a very good boy. Because, when you as an owner provide a stable set of clear rules to live by, your dog will gain a full sense of emotional security.