Did you know that dolphins can experience depression?
There’s this phrase “behind the dolphin smile” that refers to how dolphins are always smiling with no indication of what real suffering they’re experiencing.
“What does this have to do with dogs?”
Well, dogs are similar to dolphins in that way. As dogs breathe and pant, it looks like they’re smiling so it might come to a shock that these smiley creatures experience depression.
Yes. Just like humans, dogs experience depression.
What are the signs of dog depression though?
Signs Your Dog Might Be Depressed
Changes in Eating Behaviors
Similar to humans, depression can affect how much or how little your dog eats their food. It can go both ways. Either your dog finds comfort in food and gains weight, or your dog has little to no interest in food. They lose weight as a result.
Excessive Paw Licking
According to SafeBee, excessive paw licking is a sign of depression to take note of. They shared, “If your dog is licking and chewing her paws more than usual, this may be a sign of psychological issues. Licking paws is comforting for dogs, in much the way toddlers will suck their thumb for comfort.”
Lack of Interest in Activities & Enjoyable Things
Take inventory of the activities and the different things your dog loves; things that interest them the most. If they suddenly lose interest in those things like playtime or their favorite toy, depression may be the cause of this.
Lengthy Sleep Periods
Dogs are known to sleep when they’re not stimulated, so it’s common for them to sleep while their dog parents are away at work or running errands. If you return home from work or an errand and your dog is still sleeping, start paying closer attention to how much they’re sleeping. If they’re sleeping all day and are still sleeping when you get home with no signs of budging, your dog is likely depressed.
The Motor on their Tail Isn’t Working Like Usual
You’re used to seeing your dog wagging their tail a lot. If that suddenly changes and you notice that their tail hasn’t been wagging like it usually does (consistently), your dog may be depressed.
Avoiding People, Hiding
If your dog is quick to run off to a hiding spot when they’re usually a social pup, it may indicate anxiety or depression with your dog.
“What do I do if I think my dog is depressed?”
A lot of these signs overlap with other health issues. It’s recommended that you seek help from a trusted local veterinarian to eliminate depression as the cause of these signs/symptoms.
If depression is isolated as the root cause of these signs/symptoms, your vet may provide guidance on how to help your dog or refer you to a pet behavior specialist.
From what we’ve gathered online though, a common step to take is to engage with your dog more and increase their activity. This physical attention can help curve their depression.
What you’ve just read is a sampling of blog posts we offer at Joyride Harness. We cover current events, informational posts, interviews, and more! You can find more content including tips and tricks and how-tos for caring for your dog on our blog at this section. Feel free to leave a comment with tips you’re looking for!