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Is My Dog Depressed?

family-footerHave you ever felt sad, lonely and disinterested in activities you once loved? These are common symptoms of depression in people. You might be surprised to learn that depression doesn’t just affect humans; your canine friend could be suffering from a case of the blues as well. Watch for these signs of dog depression to help you realize if your pet needs treatment.

Changes in Eating Habits

One of the most common signs of dog depression is a change in eating habits. Your dog might eat excessively, wolfing down food and still acting hungry. He might also take small nibbles of food without finishing his meal. Or he might stop eating altogether.

Water Refusal

Along with losing the desire to eat, depressed dogs also often turn up their noses if you offer water. Dehydration could be very dangerous for your pet’s health, so contact your vet if your dog continually refuses to drink.

Sudden Weight Loss

Linked to eating and drinking less or not at all, your depressed dog could suddenly start losing a lot of weight. This could be detrimental to his health, so if he drops more than a few pounds and still won’t eat, call the vet.

Excessive Shedding

Another physical change resulting from dietary changes, excessive shedding is a sign your dog isn’t getting enough to eat. The nutrients he does consume go toward keeping his vital organs operating. This leaves hair follicles to die, the skin to become less healthy and shedding to increase.

Low Energy Level

Depressed dogs also have a tendency to lie around all day and sleep. If your dog is usually active and playful and suddenly acts disinterested in activity, even when you try to engage him, he could be depressed.

Withdrawn Behavior

Many times, depressed animals want to be alone. Instead of seeking your company, they’ll lie down under the kitchen table or in a vacant room to avoid interacting with anyone. If you try to call your dog or entice him with a treat, he might ignore you, often even failing to lift his head.

Aggressive Behavior

Rather than simply ignoring your attempts to entice him out of hiding, your dog may become aggressive toward you and other pets that he usually gets along with. He may growl if you extend your hand toward him and even snap at you in an attempt to signify his desire to be left alone.

Anxiety and Restlessness

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. Your dog may jump at small things, like a door closing a little too loudly. He may spend a long time fluffing up his bed, seemingly unable to find a comfortable spot. Your dog may follow you around the house, yet still want to avoid interacting with you directly.

Causes of Depression

It’s saddening to see your dog struggle with depression. You should know that depression isn’t more prevalent in one breed than another. Also, you’re more likely to notice some of the above signs of dog depression if a recent life-changing event has occurred. For example, moving to a new place, changing owners, experiencing the addition of a new family member, or the death of another pet can all bring on depression in dogs.

If you’re worried about your pet’s mental health, the experienced vets at Germantown Vet Clinic can help. We’re here to make your dog happy and healthy. We can provide personalized tips to help your pup overcome his depression and return to his old, happy self.

Contact us online or by phone at (240) 252-7467 to set up an appointment!

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