What causes depression in dogs?


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.

Some dogs suffer from separation anxiety when they’re away from their owner. This might be seen as barking, destructive activity and anxious behaviour when you prepare to leave the house. Separation anxiety can lead to depression if the separation is frequent and for long periods of time.

Did you know that dogs even pick up on our low mood? So if something major has happened in the household and your own mood is out of kilter, your dog is likely to sense this. If for any reason they are receiving less than their usual share of attention, they can start to mope and this may well lead to depression if not addressed. An on-going illness is, of course, another potential cause of depression so it’s important to consider your dog’s overall health when figuring out why they’ve lost their mojo.