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Is My Dog Depressed? Symptoms And Treatments


Dogs can understand human emotion, and a lot of times, they feel happy and wag their tail when we are so glad, but they also get sad when we are sad. Many people say that animals, in general, feed off the energy given off by humans. 

How do we come to know if our dog is actually sad or just feeding off your low energy? We cannot ask them because they are unable to speak. We can try to understand our dog’s body language and try to get them happy and joyful again. However, you should also be aware if your animal has any sickness because your dog may be gloomy simply because it is sick. Consult a vet to know more. 


A change in appetite – Our pets love to eat a lot. If you notice that they suddenly end up leaving a lot of food or simply not eating, then it may be because they are depressed. However, overeating may also be a sign to look out for, as they may overeat if they feel very depressed. Excessive eating may be to make them feel better. 

A change in physical activity- If your dog is usually very active running to catch a stick or a ball that you throw, a change in this behavior may be a sign of depression. If your dog feels depressed, it may become quite lethargic. 

A change of habits– If your dog does not greet you when you come home or if he does not do what he usually does in the day, he may be in depression. 

Excessive sleeping- When life is tough, we prefer to lie in bed and not face the world because we feel that life is so hard. Your dog may feel the same way too, and sleeping a lot may be his way of dealing with it.  

Hiding- Your dog may end up staying away from you and your family and hiding away in some corner. This can also be a symptom of your dog being sad. 

Licking to cause self-harm– Sometimes, dogs can lick themselves until they start to develop skin infections and sores. Dogs may end up feeling better temporarily because of the licking, but it is a lousy solution for depression. 

Causes For Depression In Dogs

  • An owner who is usually at home goes to work.
  • A new child in the house- The dog may feel this way because all the attention goes to the child, and the owner does not spend enough time with the dog anymore. 
  • A new pet- Just like a child, a new pet is likely to get more attention than the old dog, making the dog quite sad and depressed.
  • The loss of a lifelong owner/companion- Losing a loved one is never easy, and most likely, the dog will feel the loss as well. This situation can make the dog less likely to do things that it usually does. 
  • Moving to a different place- We all love home, and moving to another place can impact animals too because they get very attached to the areas they live in.
  • No attention- Ignoring your animal and not giving it love can make it sad. 
  • Different routines- Dogs can be creatures of habit, and something that gets them out of a pattern that they enjoy doing can be a cause for depression. 

What Are The Solutions To Help Your Dog If It Is Depressed?

Visit a vet– Most likely, your dog is not depressed, but it may be sick. The sickness may be a mild one or a more serious one. 

Reward your dog– When your dog does something you asked it to do, reward it. It will help your dog feel better. When your dog is in a good mood, teach it that there are rewards in a joyful and fun state. 

Create a routine- A specific pattern will be much more fulfilling to your dog. It can look forward to when to expect food or when you will take it for a walk. 

Love your dog– Simply spending some time petting your dog and playing with it can deepen your bond and make it feel loved. This can help get rid of any depression. Play with your dog or find activities that your dog seems enthusiastic about doing. You can also buy some toys for your dog. Young dogs love to bite everything. 

Medication– In some instances, you may have to give your dog medication for depression. Be aware that you consult your vet before giving your dog any medicine because it can impact their mood and behavior.

What Should You Avoid Doing When Your Dog Is Depressed

You should not encourage their sad behavior. When they show signs of being happy, encourage them to do so. Even though we love our pets, we need to be aware because we might end up causing more damage to them instead of solving the problem. Encourage your animals to play with the toys they love and if they show signs of interest and joy, pat them and give them some encouraging, kind, and soothing words. By doing this, they will be aware that everything is fine and they should be happy.


A lot of things that work for depressed people work for dogs as well, and even though they are animals, they still have feelings. They feel happy when you do something nice for them or give them a treat, and they feel sad as well. If your dog shows severe signs or you are especially worried about them, you should take them to the vet. 


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