While dogs can’t tell you exactly what they’re feeling, they can still show behaviors similar to human depression. If your vet has ruled out other health conditions, you might have a case of doggie depression on your hands.
Sadly, dog depression is a very real issue. A depressed or sad dog won’t have the same energy levels that it used to, and its usual playtime and exercise won’t excite your pet as much. “It could be that their favorite thing in the world was to throw a tennis ball, and all of a sudden they don’t want to do that,” says Virginia-based veterinarian Katy Nelson, DVM. Don’t miss these other facts you didn’t know about your pup.
Losing interest in favorite activities
Not every dog loves throwing a Frisbee or going for walks, so lack of exercise might not be the only telltale sign. The key is to notice if your sad dog has an unexplained behavior change or stops enjoying other activities it used to love, says Kelly Ryan, DVM, director of veterinary services at the Humane Society of Missouri’s Animal Medical Center of Mid-America. “Maybe every day your dog waits by the door for your kid to come home from school,” she says. If your pet is still moping in its bed after the bus drops your kid off, it might be depressed. Learn why your dog usually follows you everywhere (even the bathroom).
Leaving food in the bowl
Dog depression manifests similarly to depression in humans. Just like how you might lose your appetite when you’re feeling down, your sad dog might not feel like eating either. If your dog doesn’t show its usual eagerness for its favorite food or even loses weight, it might be experiencing depression, says Russell Hartstein, a celebrity dog trainer with Fun Paw Care Los Angeles.