Signs and symptoms of depression in dogs

Depression

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.

Depression makes a dog extremely lethargic and tired, it’s normal for dogs to sleep for around 12 hours a day and spend the rest of their time playing, walking, eating and relaxing. When they’re depressed, you’ll notice them sleeping a lot more and they’ll lose interest in the things they usually enjoy. Be careful not to confuse a rogue ‘duvet day’ for depression though. Dogs can spend the odd day sleeping more than usual-perhaps they were particularly active the day before or maybe it’s a hot day?

Some of the signs of depression can be similar to symptoms of certain illnesses. Take a dog with osteoarthritis, for example. This painful condition of the joints can make a dog appear out-of-sorts and reluctant to exercise. A lethargic dog could be suffering from an infection like parvovirus or they may be anaemic (loss or destruction of red blood cells, the things that carry oxygen around). One of the symptoms of poisoning is listlessness so it’s critical to be aware that depression isn’t the only cause of a dozy dog.