How to Know if my Dog Has Depression

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
How to Know if my Dog Has Depression

Dogs are animals that like routine. They need a time schedule to find stability and to feel in control of each of the elements that form part of their environment. When something fails or is disrupted, dogs can enter a stress state or they may experience anxiety which, if not identified and treated, can even lead to depression. Emotional disorders are very common conditions in dogs, but these are difficult to notice. We often tend to see the symptoms as a kind of jealousy, if we just introduce a new pet to the home, misconduct or general fatigue. Read on and discover how to know if your dog has depression to begin to fight this disease and make your dog happy again.

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Steps to follow:

The first thing to know is that there are certain types of dogs that have a greater downward trend than the rest, as is the case in terrier breeds. For their character and personality, these dogs are more likely to suffer depression. Also, a dog that comes from a kennel or a dog home as an adopted adult will be more prone to the changes in the environment.


To identify the symptoms of canine depression, we must pay special attention to the behaviour of the dog. One of the first significant changes usually is inactivity and the relationship with other dogs. In general, a dog in a depressed state loses enthusiasm to socialise and play with other dogs. The dog may show apathy towards their owners and other humans.


It is even possible that the dog no longer runs and instead starts walking at a slower pace - despite being an energetic dog. Dogs usually go for a walk, or they run and jump without obeying their owner. They usually act in that particular way because they are stressed or anxious due to a lack of exercise. When the opposite occurs, and the dog does not want to do any kind of activity, we're dealing with depression.

How to Know if my Dog Has Depression - Step 3

Changes in appetite are one of the most common symptoms of canine depression. In general, depressive dogs tend to be less hungry, causing a considerable drop in the dog's weight. However, every dog is different and the opposite may happen, as the dog overeats or leaves the bowl empty. See if your dog has stopped eating or eats a greater quantity of food than normal. A symptom that does tend to present the most depressive dogs is an increased water intake.


A dog that is in a state of intermediate or advanced depression, in all probability, will sleep much more than it should do. It is even possible that the dog spends much of the day sleeping and drinking water. However, as with dietary changes, some dogs show symptoms contrary, i.e., they cannot sleep.

How to Know if my Dog Has Depression - Step 5

Another symptom that may appear in a dog with depression is that they will whimper and whine frequently without an apparent reason. Many dogs do this to ask for help from their owner and to get them to pay more attention. They may show other behavioural changes like pacing in circles or hiding somewhere in the home, general behaviour that the dog never did before. It is important to pay attention to these symptoms because it is possible that the cause of canine depression is a lack of attention on the owner's part.


If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms and you suspect the dog may suffer from a state of depression, please go straight to the vet for appropriate treatments to combat this mental health issue. You see, all these symptoms are not unique to this condition, so it is possible that instead of depression your dog may be suffering from an illness or physical ailment. That is why it is essential to see a professional who can determine what is affecting your dog.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Know if my Dog Has Depression, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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