Dogs can’t speak and outright tell us how they are feeling, which makes it slightly harder to understand that something is wrong. Still, dogs are highly expressive animals. By paying attention and knowing what to look for, you can detect mental distress in your furry friends easily.
Watch out for the following symptoms of depressions in dogs:
1. Behavioral Changes
Dogs do not necessarily show sadness and despair like humans. Sometimes, rapid changes in their behaviors are telling of depression. A gentle, well-behaved dog who suddenly begins to chew a lot, makes several attempts to escape, forgets all about his bathroom training and defecates all around the house, starts barking, and shows mild to severe aggression are some of the behavioral changes dogs exhibit due to of depression. Whenever your dog begins to show changes in behavior, it’s always wise to connect with a dog behaviorist and take their professional opinion.
2. Changes in Appetite
Food is one of the driving forces in animals, especially dogs. When your dog loses interest in food, you should know that it points towards a physical or mental ailment. However, some dogs also start overeating which may also indicate depression. If this change in appetite is sudden and shocking, don’t rule out the possibility of depression.
3. Excessive Paw Licking
Dogs like to lick, and pet owners are well-aware of this trait. However, excessive and incessant licking can be another sign of depression or a physical condition. Either way, this symptom shouldn’t be ignored. If you observe excessive paw licking along with any of the other symptoms in this list, sure enough, your dog needs professional help.
4. Lethargic and Sleepy
Dogs are usually hyper and display an energetic demeanor. Sure, they sleep a lot, but they mostly do this when there’s no one home and nothing exciting is happening. However, if you leave the house with your dog sleeping, and return without an ounce of reaction from your dog, it’s a clear sign that your dog isn’t feeling well. When left for such a long time, dogs build pent-up energy, and it’s entirely unusual for them not to react to the excitement of their owners coming back unless they are not well, depressed, or both.
It’s entirely uncharacteristic of adult dogs to go into hiding inside the house. If you find your dog hiding under the bed, in the closet, or in any dark, secluded corner, it’s a clear sign that the dog is depressed or stressed. If you see this, shower your dog with attention and try to lure them out and get them to play with their favorite games.
The quicker you detect depression in dog, the faster your furry friend will get treated. Whenever you notice any unusual changes, your first line of action should be to go to a vet. However, if your vet rules out all physical health conditions, it’s time to pay attention to their mental health.