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Can Dogs Get Depressed?

Leestijd: 3 Minuten

04 okt 2023

Yes, dogs can get depressed.

You read that right. Man's best friend is not immune to the blues. In this article, we'll explore the signs, causes, and strategies for helping a depressed dog.

Signs of Depression in Dogs

Recognising the signs of depression in dogs is the first step in providing them with the support and care they need. Here are some telltale indicators:

Withdrawal and social isolation

A once social dog suddenly becomes aloof, avoiding human and canine companionship.

Changes in appetite

Just like humans, dogs may lose interest in food or start eating excessively when they're feeling down


An energetic pup turning into a couch potato? It could be a sign of depression.

Sleep pattern changes

Depressed dogs may sleep excessively or, conversely, suffer from insomnia.

Excessive licking or chewing

If your dog obsessively licks or chews on themselves, it can indicate emotional distress.

Loss of interest in play

Dogs with depression often lose interest in their favourite games and toys.

Potty accidents

House-trained dogs might have accidents indoors when they're depressed.

Destructive behaviour

Chewing furniture, digging, or destroying objects can be a manifestation of their inner turmoil.

Causes of Depression in Dogs

Understanding what could be causing your dog's depression is crucial for effective intervention. Here are some common triggers:

Loss of a companion

The death of a fellow pet or a close human companion can deeply affect a dog.

Major life changes

Moving to a new home, the arrival of a new family member (human or pet), or changes in daily routines can be distressing for dogs.

Physical illness

Chronic pain or illness can lead to depression in dogs.

Traumatic experiences

Past abuse, accidents, or traumatic events can haunt dogs, causing long-term emotional distress.

Genetic predisposition

Some dog breeds are more prone to depression due to their genetic makeup.

Environmental factors

A lack of mental stimulation, exercise, or exposure to natural light can contribute to depression.

Separation anxiety

Dogs that suffer from separation anxiety when their owners are away can also develop depressive symptoms.

How to Help a Depressed Dog

Once you've identified that your dog is experiencing depression, it's time to take action. Here are strategies to help your furry friend bounce back:

Consult your vet

Rule out any underlying medical conditions causing the depression. Your vet can recommend appropriate treatment or therapies.

Maintain a routine

Dogs thrive on consistency. Stick to a daily routine for feeding, exercise, and playtime.

Engage in interactive play

Spend quality time with your dog through engaging games and activities. Puzzle toys can be mentally stimulating.


Encourage positive interactions with other dogs and humans to combat isolation.

Fresh dog food

Consider transitioning to fresh dog food like Butternut Box. Its high-quality, human-grade ingredients can support your dog's overall health.


Regular exercise is not just essential for physical health; it can also improve your dog's mood. Take daily walks and explore new environments together.

Training and mental stimulation

Keep your dog's mind active with training sessions and puzzle-solving games.

Medication or therapy

In severe cases, your veterinarian may recommend medication or behavioural therapy to manage your dog's depression.

Love and patience

Shower your pup with affection, understanding, and patience during their recovery.

Monitor progress

Keep an eye on your dog's progress. If their depression persists or worsens, consult your vet for further guidance.