Unlike humans, dogs don’t suffer from complex clinical depression so lifting their spirits isn’t as tricky as you think. With your patience and time, a dog in the doldrums will soon have that tail wagging again.
So how can you tell when the ‘Black Dog’ is paying a visit to your four-legged friend? When a dog’s depressed, they can start to withdraw from family life, taking themselves off to snuggle up somewhere undisturbed for hours on end. Their appetite can be affected so they may eat less than normal or even start to want to eat far more. Just like in people, depression in dogs affects individuals differently. If your dog doesn’t eat or drink anything at all, this could indicate a more serious problem and they should be taken to a vet. An incessant licking and chomping of the paws is another tell-tale sign of low mood.
A significant change in circumstances is a common trigger for dog depression. The arrival of a new baby, changes to household members or a house move all have the potential to set off the blues. In fact, any change to their daily routine has the capacity to make your dog gloomy. However, the biggest causes of depression in dogs are the death of an owner/companion or an undiagnosed ailment. Dogs grieve too and if they’re not given the right support, they can slip into depression. Dogs are emotionally intelligent creatures and tune in to the subtlest of cues.
Just like us, dogs can have days when they are down in the dumps. They may be lethargic, less willing to play than usual and may even ignore you when you call them. If this goes on for longer than 24 hours, it’s possible they’re not just having an ‘off’ day and may be depressed.
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