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Yes, dogs also suffer from depression, just like people, as well as other emotional disorders, such as jealousy. If you notice your dog appearing somewhat sad, lethargic, lacking interest in play, or having a reduced appetite, it may be experiencing depression, as it exhibits some symptoms of depression in dogs. It’s essential to understand the potential causes of depression and be able to recognize the symptoms of depression in your dog to provide the necessary remedies through various treatments.

What Causes Depression in Dogs?

The causes of depression in dogs can vary widely. By considering your dog’s life circumstances, you can determine if something may have emotionally affected your dog. In the following list, we’ll show you the most common causes of depression in dogs:

  • Loss of a companion (another pet they live with).
  • Prolonged isolation.
  • Abuse.
  • Change of residence, moving, or disruptions in their routine.
  • Extended periods of being alone.
  • Separation from a mother and her puppies.
  • Depression due to a false pregnancy.
  • Serotonin deficiency.
  • Trauma from an injury or accident.
  • Suffering from an illness. It’s crucial to rule out that the symptoms are not linked to a physical illness. Consult your veterinarian for this purpose.

Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

Depression in dogs can manifest in various ways in each dog, but there is a range of behaviors that, if unusual for your dog, could be symptoms of depression in your pet:

  • Loss of appetite, not eating and/or drinking as usual.
  • Weight loss due to the loss of appetite.
  • Disproportionate increase in appetite.
  • Weight gain due to increased appetite.
  • Excessive sleep.
  • A sad, dejected, or lethargic mood.
  • Isolation, even hiding.
  • Nervousness, restlessness, and/or excessive worry about normal circumstances.
  • Crying, howling, sighing, or whimpering without an apparent reason.
  • Repetitive behaviors such as biting or licking their paws.
  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed.

How to Treat Depression in Dogs?

To help your dog overcome depression, you must be patient and take a gradual approach. The dog’s reactions and behaviors will dictate the pace:

  • Engage in exercise. Try to get your dog to exercise gradually.
  • Increase the number of walks to encourage social interaction.
  • Extend playtime.
  • Spend quality time with your dog, petting and giving affection to make them feel accompanied.
  • Minimize time spent alone.
  • Avoid situations that stress or upset the dog.
  • Consider getting your dog a companion. Introducing another dog into the family may serve as a stimulus. However, this decision should be carefully considered, and you should consult your veterinarian for advice on whether having a companion will be beneficial or potentially worsen the situation.
  • Consult your veterinarian to assess the situation, rule out any underlying illness, and, in severe cases, potentially prescribe medication. In such a case, if you find yourself having trouble giving a pill to your dog in this article we give you tricks to do it successfully.

Always seek the assistance of a professional veterinarian for any discomfort or health issues your pet may experience. We hope this information has been helpful in understanding the causes, symptoms, and techniques to help your dog recover from depression.

Sometimes we can confuse depression with a state of stress or anxiety. Check the differences with our article what to do if my dog suffers from stress?