Surprising Signs That Mean Your Dog Is Secretly Depressed

Did you know dogs can get depressed just like people do?

Dog lovers know that their beloved pets are much smarter than most people realize. Your pup thrives on routine, consistency, and good energy in the home. When any of these things are disturbed, symptoms of depression may surface and affect your dog’s overall demeanor.

If you’ve recently experienced a big change like a move or a break-up, keep an eye out for the following signs that your dog may be depressed.

1. Acting lethargic

cute cavalier king charles spaniel dog

It’s the same sign as in humans. | Buffy1982/iStock/Getty Images

Notice your dog moping around and not interacting like he usually does? It could be a symptom of depression.

Dog psychologist Stanley Coren explains that even canines can feel the effects of being cooped up during long winter months, similarly to people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A death in the family is another reason a dog might get upset suddenly.

Next: You’ll notice this symptom every day.

2. Showing less enthusiasm for activities

border collie on a couch under a blanket

A major change in energy is concerning. | Lindsay_Helms/iStock/Getty Images

As your dog ages, his energy levels naturally start to decrease. But if you notice your dog failing to greet you at the door like he always does, it might be a sign of something more serious. It’s important to take him to the vet if you notice these behaviors consistently over time.

Next: Check his dog dish.

3. Change in appetite


If your dog seems uninterested by food all of a sudden, see your vet. | YakobchukOlena/iStock/Getty Images

Depression in dogs typically results in loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss. There are a variety of reasons your dog might stop eating, from medical issues to major changes that he’s not comfortable with. A visit to the vet is the only sure way to diagnose the problem.

Next: This behavior can be scary.

4. Surprising changes in behavior

Puppy hiding under a cabinet

He’s trying to communicate how he feels. | Hidako/iStock/Getty Images

Have you noticed your dog hiding more than usual or acting aggressively toward family members? These can be signs of depression. When dogs act out, it’s because they’re trying to communicate how they’re feeling without words.

Next: When you notice this habit, there may be a problem.

5. Different sleeping habits

sleeping bernese mountaindog

Sleeping more during the day could be a sign of illness. | SonjaBrenner/iStock/Getty Images

When your dog starts sleeping more during the day or frequently waking up at night, it could mean he’s feeling sad or frightened about things going on during the day. But altered sleep patterns are also signs of several different sicknesses including cancer, so always get your pup checked out by a vet.

Next: Here’s how he’ll try to talk to you.

6. Howling or whining

Howling Beagle

Howling is typically a sign of displeasure. | LivingThroughTheLens/iStock/Getty Images

Your dog may not be able to communicate with words. But when he howls or whines, he’s showing his displeasure for things that are going on. Whining, howling, and moaning may be a sign of depression — or it could be a symptom of a larger health problem, such as diabetes, kidney disease, food sensitivities, or other issues.

Next: This is the surprising treatment for depression in dogs.

7. What can you do?

Dog leaning away

Get your pooch checked out. | fotoedu/iStock/Getty Images

If you suspect your dog may be depressed, the vet will probably check for a thyroid issue first. If recent changes in circumstance indicate that depression is likely, your dog could get prescribed anti-depressants like Prozac or Zoloft.

More likely than medication though, your dog may just need time to adjust to a situation like a new home or a death in the family. As long as you give him plenty of love and attention, your dog should be back to his old self in no time.

Read more: The Reasons Behind These Weird Dog Behaviors May Surprise You

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