Dog Depression: 5 Warning Signs Your Dog Is Unhappy

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When it comes to our furry little friends, we’d immediately conjure an image of them running up to the door with their tongues out and their tail wagging just to greet you after a long day of work. These jovial creatures are what make our day – but what happens when they’re not as cheerful and happy anymore?

Similar to us humans, all dogs experience a myriad of emotions, from happiness to sadness and even depression. Out of the blue, your energetic pooch is withdrawn and listless, and this goes on for quite some time. If that is the case, your pup is probably depressed.

Depression in dogs is primarily attributed to a significant life change or traumatic event. In the case where they have no outlet to navigate their emotions, such overwhelming feelings can develop into anxiety and depression. So, how do you know if your pup is experiencing depression? Here are 5 common signs you should look out for.

1. Sudden aggression 

There’s always a preconceived misconception that depression simply means that one feels sad and listless. Whilst this may be partly true, it’s not necessarily all there is to it. Depression can manifest in other emotions, and one of these emotions is anger. If left unchecked, one will subconsciously tap onto that anger and will lash out at every single thing that may trigger them.

Similarly, a depressed dog may also react in a similar fashion. They may suddenly start barking and growling at others unprovoked, or tear your furniture into pieces, or even nip at you when you’re merely walking past. If your dog displays bouts of aggression suddenly, make a trip down to the vet as soon as possible. Aggression might be a sign of physical pain in dogs, so a visit to the vet can help you figure out the issue and how you can treat it.

2. Avoiding you or your family

Believe it or not, hiding is actually a pretty typical dog behaviour. Dog hiding often occurs when dogs feel confused, stressed or are in an unfamiliar situation. Suppose there is no significant change to their regular routine and such behaviour is deemed to be out of character for your pet. In that case, it may be indicative of a health issue – in particular, depression.

3. Sleep less or more than usual

As dog owners, you’ll know that dogs love to sleep a lot. This, however, typically happens when their owners are gone. So, if you’ve left your dog at home for a prolonged period of time and your dog continues to sleep after you’re home, barely reacting to your presence, something must’ve gone wrong.

You’ll want to fist check for physical injuries. If you can’t find any and the symptoms continue, your dog may just be depressed. Also, take note that the opposite can also happen: your pup may have trouble sleeping and stays up all night. If there is a change in their sleeping schedule, you’ll want to bring your dog to the vet.

4. Loss of interest

This is probably the easiest sign to spot. All dogs love to play, go on walks or socialise with their canine friends. As such, when they don’t get excited every time you put on their leashes, your dog may be suffering from dog depression. If your pup suddenly becomes less enthusiastic or active as compared to the past during playtime, be sure to make a trip to the vet.

5. Changes in appetite

When one is depressed, one usually experiences an appetite change, whether it’d be a loss or a sudden increase. Similarly, your dog’s interest in food may also undergo a change. If you notice an appetite change, perhaps it’s time to have your furkid checked by your vet.

Depression can take many forms, which is why it may be hard to take notice of the said illness. The worst part about this mental illness is that it may manifest and develop into physical ailments, such as heart attack and gastrointestinal problems. When your dog reaches that point, you’ll need to bring them to an emergency vet in Singapore immediately, or it’d be too late.

Remember to also source for a 24-hour vet clinic should anything happen and consult your veterinarian to help determine the underlying cause, figuring out what changes can be made to make your furry friend happy again.