Veterinarians in Charlottesville want you to know these clear signs of depression in a dog

Depression is a mental health problem and a mood issue. It is identified by having low mood and general loss of interest in different activities of life. Globally, more than 264 million people suffer from depression. However, it is not limited to humans only. As it turns out, our canine friends also suffer from depression.

Dogs have more emotional intelligence than was previously thought of. They experience far greater emotions than they are credited for. Dogs suffer from depression and mood swings due to several reasons. Unlike humans, they cannot communicate these feelings, and dog owners have to be on the outlook of telltale signs of canine depression. Before diving into the warning signs of canine depression, let us first take a look at what causes canine depression.

Causes of Dog Depression

Many factors can have an impact on a dog’s emotional state. Some of the common factors are:

  • Undesirable changes in their routine and environment. This may include moving to a new home, the addition of a new family member such as a baby or a spouse, or the addition of a new pet into the household.
  • Lack of social group and companionship. Loss of human or animal companionship can take a major toll on a dog’s mental health.
  • Fears and phobias leading to unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Changes in the lifestyle for e.g. a stay-at-home owner may have to take up a new job and leave the job. It can cause separation anxiety.

For all the dog owners out there, it is imperative to keep an eye on the following telltale signs of dog depression.

Changes in The Appetite

Canine depression can alter appetite patterns. Most dogs lose their appetite whenever suffering from depression. One telltale sign is a visible loss of weight. On the other hand, some dogs might find solace in food and eat more than usual when depressed. Eccentric appetite patterns are usually an indicator of deep underlying issues.

Sleeping More Than Usual and Being Lethargic

  • Most dogs are lazy animals who sleep a lot especially when their owners are not around. However, if the dog starts to sleep most of the day especially when the owners are back home and there is hustle and bustle in the home, then your dog might be suffering from depression. Prolonged and unusual sleep can be an indicator of a physical health problem as well. But if there are no signs of physical issues, then excessive sleep can be a sign of canine depression.

signs of depression in a dogLoss of Interest in Different Activities

  • Most pet dogs are excited at the prospect of going out for a walk and playing with their owners. However, when they suffer from depression and sadness, they lose interest in the activities that once excited them (just like humans).

Excessive Licking of The Paw

  • Paw licking has been linked to psychological and physiological issues. This might be their defense mechanism against underlying issues which can include depression.

Avoiding Human Contact and Hiding

When dogs are suffering from a physiological or psychological issue, they tend to avoid human contact and go into a state of hiding. Sort out your dog and check for physical injuries. If you don’t find it, the issue can be psychological.

  • Dog depression can be cured with the right behavioral and medical treatment. If you suspect your dog to be suffering from emotional distress, take him to a qualified vet like Autumn Trails and Veterinary Center. They provide multiple services to ensure the general wellness of pets in Charlottesville, VA.