Top signs your dog is feeling depressed
We like to think of dogs as happy-go-lucky creatures that are quick to show joy, but sometimes we notice an expression of sadness or a change in their normal dog behaviour that has us wondering: do dogs cry? Do they develop dog anxiety? Do they develop dog depression? While your pup does experience a range of emotions, including sadness, it doesn’t experience depression the same way humans do, says Dr Linda Simon.
Your dog isn’t staying up at night worrying about the economy or climate change. Still, the things that make your dog sad are often the same types of things that make you sad, like physical pain, loneliness, loss of a loved one, abuse and neglect, Dr Simon says. While most canine sadness is brief, sometimes dogs can experience very deep and long-lasting sadness that may turn into dog depression. There are plenty of dog stories that highlight such deep doggy emotions, like one about a loyal pup who guarded his deceased owner’s grave for three years.
Your dog may also seem depressed if you are depressed, Dr Simon adds. Dogs are very perceptive of their humans’ feelings, and when you’re sad, your pup may express sadness as well, even if it doesn’t understand why you are upset. Dogs have unique ways of expressing their sadness, so to help you understand your fur buddy better, we asked experts to share the top dog depression symptoms.
What makes dogs sad?
Like humans, dogs are complex creatures. And like humans, they can become sad for a number of reasons. When considering whether your pup has canine depression, ask yourself if your pet is dealing with any of the following scenarios.
Experiencing a death in the family
You’re not the only one mourning the loss of a family member or another pet. Your dog needs to grieve, too, and might go through a blue period. You can’t really speed up the grieving process, but you can give your dog what it most wants: comfort. Shower your pet in attention – think extra cuddles and treats – while it gets used to the loss, Dr Simon says.