10 Silent Signs That Your Dog Is Depressed

10 Silent Signs That Your Dog Is Depressed

Being a pet owner, pets are not just animals for you but a part of the family. While dogs cannot tell you exactly what they are feeling but they show signs that are easy to guess. Sometimes when dogs are sad or depressed, they show behavior just like humans.

If they are going through a health condition, play special attention to these signs, as it may be more than just a mood swing. Here are a few silent signs that your dog is more likely to exhibit when in depression.


Ignoring his playtime

When your dog is sad he would not have the same energy that he usually has. That’s why you can clearly see a loss of excitement in his playtime. It could be his favorite thing such as playing with a ball too. All of a sudden he will stop showing interest in it and completely ignore if you place his favorite toy around him.

Losing interest in activities

You see, not all dogs love chasing a Frisbee or going for walk. Not going to such things may not always be for the same cause in all dogs. They key is to notice a sad behavior in dogs is when there is an unexplained behavior change.

Also, he stops enjoying other activities he used to love. To note this behavior one has to first notice what excites his dog. If the dog is happy to see you when you return you from work and all of a sudden he starts ignoring your arrival, it could be a warning sign.

Not eating the food

Just like humans, dogs also lose appetite when they are feeling down. A sad dog may not like to anything and you may also see uneaten food in the pet bowl. Sometimes changing the regular food also induces this behavior. But if you are feeding your dog the same food and still you find uneaten food in the bowl, this explains a sadness or depression.

depression in dog
The image is taken from “petsgroomingprices”

Sleeping more than normal

Sleep cycle for every animal is different. There isn’t a standard of how many hours your pet should sleep. But if it covers most of the time, it shows sadness. Pay attention to your dog’s sleeping schedule and notice if your dog is spending too much time in sleep. If the dog is sleeping more than his normal sleep, it will make a big difference to his health.

A death around him

Humans are not the only one affected by a loss in the family. If you have a pet for years and there is a death in the family, your dog may feel it more than you. Consider that your dog also needs to grieve and is going through a blue phase. You can’t really take him out of this depression but showing affection to him will comfort your dog. Give your dogs some extra care, attention cuddles and treats while getting over it.

Spending most of the time indoors

Dogs need to go out and run on a daily schedule and if they are sad, they won’t be doing this. Spending time at outdoor is one of the favorite things of dogs. If you are making them go out and they aren’t showing any response, it is a sign that they are depressed.

The regular dog walks may no more be your dog’s favorite if he is going through a depressing phase. It takes some time while your kind behavior and encouragement to step outside will slowly get his energy back.

Unexplained aggression

Indoor pets are usually calm and peaceful. But a dog with depression may show abnormally aggressive behavior. For example, he may start tearing up the couch or growling at you. It’s not always the sadness but could be a sign of anything else too. Look for more signs to confirm why is your dog showing aggression at you.

Likes to be lonely

If you are living alone with your dog, your dog gets lonely when you aren’t around. If your work keeps you constantly out of the house for a long time, there are high chances to see your dog depressed.

Dogs are social beings like humans. And just like us, they don’t like to be alone for long hours. In case you are busy or have some days to spend outside the house, hire a dog walker or take help from a friend. It will make your dog feel better.

Shifting to a new house

Don’t act surprised if you see a sudden sadness in your dog when you move a house. The change is tough for animals and your dog is going through the same. Once when your dog will get used to this new environment, this sadness will automatically end.

depression in dog
The image is taken from “boredcesar”

Licking his body constantly

Animals lick their body to clean themselves but sometimes they lick their bodies to feel better. This is not really a sign of depression in dogs but it should not be ignored. If your dog is having an anxiety issue, this body licking depicts a self-soothing process. Look around for more signs and try to work on them altogether.

What should you do?

Before you look around for the unexplained aggression that your dog is showing, there is something that needs your attention. Your dog needs to get a full checkup from a certified vet to find if a health issue is making your dog stressed.

Your vet may change the diet of your dog and adds more exercise, healthier food, and extra attention to lift your dog’s spirits. If there is a medical condition he may also prescribe any medicine.

You will be amazed to know but some depression medicines that work on humans are also used on pets i.e. Prozac or Zoloft. Giving this little extra help makes them pass this stressful phase more comfortably.

There is no shame in taking your dog to a vet; it absolutely doesn’t show your carelessness. The reasons behind a depression in dogs are countless and it’s better to start checking them from health. So that if there is a health loss, it can be prevented at the earliest possible stage.


The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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