Studies have constantly been showing that dogs can alleviate depression in humans, but what happens when a dog becomes sad and lethargic?
Experts on the subject have come to the conclusion that dogs can also get depressed. Any dog that is left alone at home during the day without its owners shows signs of sadness, or rather acts as if everything has stopped until its loved ones return.
A worse situation is when dogs are chained in front of a house and no one notices or socializes with them. These dogs are very stressed, sad and over time they can become heavily depressed.
A responsible owner will know how to recognize the signs of depression in his pet and, as a rule, they will recognize the reasons behind this situation. So given the possibilities, the owner will be able to cheer up the dog, socialize with it and pay more attention.
On the other hand, there are people who can hardly be called owners. They usually don’t socialize with the dog, and hardly do anything to cheer it up or make its life more pleasant – the veterinarians point out.
Sadness and lethargy in dogs, which can develop into depression, can be detected through certain signs, and if they are noticed in time, you should react to provide timely help to your pet.
5 Major signs that your dog is not happy
1. Lack of energy
As in humans, depression in dogs is often caused by changes in serotonin levels. This is manifested by lethargy and behavior resembling laziness.
If a dog that loves to walk, run, and catch a ball suddenly becomes weary of its favorite activities, it could be a sign of depressed behavior. Do not interpret this as just plain laziness, especially if there is a sudden change in behavior.
2. Change in eating habits
Dogs who feel depressed usually tend to eat less and show less interest in food. This symptom is easier to notice – you will simply see that the dog has not eaten the food provided. The advice is to always pay attention to the eating habits, and this will help you notice changes in your pet more easily. Here’s how much food does a dog need.
3. Change in sleeping habits
Lethargy that turns into all-day sleep can also be a cause for concern. If a dog prefers to curl up in bed rather than play, this is often an indicator that something is wrong.
This, of course, can also be a sign that your pet is physically exhausted, but physical pain is often accompanied by whining or changes in movement and sleep patterns. If it seems that there are no injuries, then the problem may be that your dog is feeling depressed.
Vets advise that it is extremely important not to replace sadness or loneliness in dogs with symptoms of an illness. So, if the pet is calmer than usual, if it is weak, not cheerful and does not behave as usual when the owner returns home, refuses food or walks, it could be a sign that a visit to the vet is necessary.
4. Anxious and obsessive behavior
Some breeds of dogs are more prone to anxiety and wary behavior than others, but if a dog suddenly starts to show a certain unusual behavior, this is something you need to pay attention to.
Constant chewing of one paw or nails may indicate that the dog is anxious or depressed. If your otherwise friendly pet suddenly stops greeting you at the door and hides in the living room, this is a clear sign that something is bothering it.
Aggressive behavior is less common in depressed dogs, but it can occasionally happen. Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand and if the anxiety is overwhelming, it can manifest itself in the dog acting aggressively. Some vets believe that dogs who feel like they aren’t getting enough attention are actually seeking attention.
If the dog exhibits any of these behaviors, consider whether a recent event may have contributed to the change in temperament. The most common causes of sadness and listlessness in dogs are the loss of a family member (both humans and other pets), traumatic injuries, and sometimes even sympathy for the owner’s depression.
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to visit your veterinarian to provide your pet with the best treatment.