Today, we will discuss depression in dogs looking at the most characteristic symptoms and providing some tips to help improve their happiness.

Dogs are very sensitive animals which can easily perceive whether we are happy, sad or even just tired. fortunately, there are also very loving creatures and their affection and company can come in very handy during these times. However, often we humans are not as good at reciprocating the sensitivity.

As with human beings, canines are susceptible to depression. They may not be caused by the same issues but if we are aware of our dogs eventual behavior, we should be able to easily identify a bite of depression whether short or prolonged.

However, if a dog has only recently been adopted into our family, it may be difficult to differentiate between their normal demeanor and depression.


The most recognizable symptoms include a lack of appetite, apathy, inactivity and a lack of affection towards their caregivers. We may also observe hiding, sleep excessively or an unwillingness to engage in play activity.

However, it is essential to point out that some of these signs may be present thanks to an underlying condition or diseases. This is why it is so important to take them to a vet to rule out a physical health problem.


Causes of depression in dogs are varied, but they usually appear after a significant change to their routine a traumatic experience, hormonal changes or as we have said disease.

Determining this underlying cause, is essential in solving the behavioral problem, the death of a loved one or the introduction of a new family member such as a baby are common causes of depression of dogs but there are many possible issues at play.

depression in dogs

When depression generates a clinical picture, which puts the dog’s health at risk, it will be essential to go to a veterinarian, preferably one specialized in ethology.

If they also show behavioral changes, which involve aggression, going to professional dog trainer or educator will be essential as the situation can worsen and become dangerous.

What to do if my dog is depressed?

If your dog is going through an episode of sadness or depression, do not hesitate to follow our advice to improve their well-being.

1 – Walking

Offer between three and four quality walks a day where they can smell their environment and interact with other dogs. Don’t forget the physical exercise and play before going home.

Check out our 10 common mistakes dog walkers need to avoid.

2 – Spend Time with Them

Spending time with your dog doesn’t mean being by their side without doing anything, it requires quality, time, speaking to them petting and generally offering a lot of love and affection.

depression on dogs spending time with them

3 – Mental Stimulation

Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. So, in your day to day, you shouldn’t neglect, basic obedience training, mental stimulation exercises and intelligence toys. Kong toys are one which are particularly good for this.

4 – Food and Care

Food is a basic element of care, but it is easy to underestimate its importance. Provide quality food perhaps experimenting with homemade options and maintain hygiene through cleaning and brushing.

If after a few days your dog is still depressed, you will need to visit a veterinarian specialized in ethology to obtain a diagnosis and assess well in the administration of drugs or behavior modification sessions are necessary.

Do you have a dog prone to depression? Have you been able to successfully bring them round. If so let us know about it in the comments.

Don’t miss our 9 Tips to Help Keep your Dog Healthy


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