Dogs can also suffer from depression like humans. This might reveal in a variety of behavioral changes such as in appetite or sleeping patterns. If you are concern about whether your dog is depressed or not, here are the 5 signs of a depressed dog.
How can I tell if my dog is depressed?
In order to understand the 5 signs of a depressed dog, you should know everything about your dog’s behavior very well. Your pet doesn’t have the mental capacity or thinking as people does.
But that doesn’t mean they are free to this mental disorder. Keep in mind that depressed dogs might exhibit symptoms differently, sometimes depending on their breeds. And if not treated well, it can lead them to some serious diseases or even death.
When we look for signs of a depressed dog, we usually associate it with sadness and a lack of energy. However, another possible sign is impulsive aggression behavior.
Does your sweet and calm Shih Tzu suddenly start growling and barking to everyone they see? Or did he start acting rogue and have been tearing up your couch, bed, and other furniture?
To deal with these changes, you have to bring your dog to the veterinarian as he might be dealing with an undiagnosed medical problem.
Changes in Sleeping Behavior
Aside from playing with their favorite human, another activity your dog loves to be engaged with is sleeping. Dogs love to sleep. In fact, an average adult dog sleeps from 12 to 14 hours per day.
Meanwhile, puppies sleep about 18 to 20 hours. If you notice that your dog is sleeping more or less than usual then it can be a sign of a depressed dog.
Sleeping too much might be a hint that your dog is bored and longing for your attention. While sleeping less might be related to an underlying disease.
Their grooming behavior is what usually differentiates dogs from cats. Cats are meticulous groomers and prefer to clean themselves. While for dogs, excessing licking or their coat or paw might be an indication of psychological problems.
According to veterinarians, excessive licking or chewing is self-soothing to dogs, but can also be a sign that they are suffering from physical pain, skin problems, and bacterial infections. So if your dog starts grooming like a cat, a visit to the vet is worth considering.
Does your dog start hiding from you when you arrive from work or school? Or do they suddenly want to be alone by themselves? Avoidance or hiding is a probable sign of depression in dogs. It might be caused by a negative punishment that left your dog in emotional trauma.
This sign can’t be ignored as it might lead to other unwanted behavior. If your dog exhibits this behavior, make sure to discipline your dog correctly next time by doing positive reinforcement behavior training.
Changes in Appetite
Just like in humans, dogs might overindulge in food to comfort themselves or avoid eating at all when they are depressed. This can lead to obesity or extreme weight loss.
Appetite changes are never a good sign and can also be a manifestation of serious medical disease. So if you notice this behavior change, best to check with your veterinarian to rule out any possible disease.
There is no conclusive exam to test depression in dogs. That is why it is extremely important to observe any changes in their behavior. If your dog displays any depression signs like above, it is highly recommended to take him to the vet as soon as possible to make sure that they are not suffering from an illness.
Afterward, you can also seek the help of veterinary behaviorists or trainers to learn the techniques of dog discipline.