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Why is My Dog Depressed All of a Sudden?

Golden Retriever laying on a white floor with a tennis ball

Although dogs can’t talk to their owners, they can express a wide range of emotions, including depression. Dog owners need to understand these signs and take necessary actions to keep their pooch comfortable and happy. Sudden withdrawal, loss of appetite, and showing no interest in their favorite activities are a few signs of depression. Let’s discuss in detail why your dog is depressed all of a sudden and learn some ways to calm him/her.

Is My Dog Depressed or Lazy? Click here to learn more.

Why Is My Dog Suddenly So Sad?

Several different reasons can harm the mental and emotional state of your dog. Some of the major factors that can change the mood of your dog and make him/her sad are discussed below.

Underlying Medical Reasons

Yellow Lab being examined by a vet

Just like humans, physical discomfort can make your dog sad and lethargic. They won’t feel like doing much work and will keep lying down or sleeping for extended hours. Some other symptoms that may depict that your pup is sick are loss of appetite, diarrhea, and high body temperature.

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Long Spells of Loneliness

Many dogs, especially working breeds, can’t stay alone for too long and will require a lot of attention. If they don’t get that, they become bored and will indulge in negative behavior. This can also lead to depression and you must make proper arrangements to prevent it. For example, request a friend or neighbor to attend to your pooch if you work full-time. Alternatively, you can also hire the services of a professional.

Moving to a New Place

For sale sign with Sold over it with a blurred white house in the background.

 Dogs are a creature of routine and don’t like any changes in their schedule or environment. These changes make them anxious and they may become very sad about it. They can also get confused about the new place and will try to hide. Even if you own a well-socialized pup, he/she may refuse to interact with anyone and will need some time to adjust to the new home.

NOTE: Most dogs will overcome this problem over time but some may require additional help.

Why is My Dog Depressed After Getting a New Puppy? Click here to find out.

Fear

Dogs suffer from a variety of fears and phobias and it can be hard for the owners to detect them. Depression can be a symptom of such fears that have grown over time. If your pup is suffering from chronic stress, you should try to minimize the time he/she spends alone. Similarly, you should keep your canine friend in a comfortable environment if he/she has a noise phobia. It’s best to consult your vet for the best possible treatment of fears and phobias.

Death of a Family Member or Companion

Poodle laying next to a headstone

Dogs are pack animals and make strong bonds with their family members. Therefore, the death of a companion can be extremely painful for them and they will show obvious signs of grief. Such pups will withdraw themselves in odd corners of the house and won’t feel like eating or playing.

Other than death, dogs can feel the same sadness in some other situations. For example, if a family member has moved aboard and has shifted to another place. They may also show signs of aggression if they are instigated too much. Hence, it’s highly recommended to give them some time and progress gradually to bring your pup back to life.

How Does a Dog Act When He is Depressed? Click here to learn more.

Adoption of a New Puppy

Adult Golden Retriever and a Golden Retriever puppy sleeping on the floor side by side.

It can be a huge shock to any dog, especially if he/she is the only pet in the house. This is because they feel that the new puppy will take all your time and your love will be divided. This feeling of jealousy can lead your pup towards depression and you must introduce the new puppy gradually to keep things smooth. You may need to shower some extra love on your older pup in the beginning to control these negative emotions.

Signs that Your Dog is Depressed

Brown, black and tan dog in a pin with tile walls, with its head hung low

The following signs can help owners determine that their dog is depressed and needs special attention.

  • Excessive licking of paws
  • Increased sleep
  • Appetite loss
  • Losing interest in favorite activities
  • Fatigue (despite decreased physical activity)
  • Unusual aggression
  • Continuous whimpering
  • Demanding extra care and affection
  • Withdrawing to odd places in the house

What to Do If My Dog Seems Depressed All of a Sudden?

Black and white Boston Terrier looking out of a window.

If your happy dog is suddenly looking sad, contact your vet and book an appointment for a detailed checkup. The vet will examine your pup to rule out all the medical causes that could trigger the symptoms of depression.

Once he/she declares your dog fit, you should try to calm your pooch by providing a comfortable environment. For example, you could try to spare some time out and spend it with your canine friend. Similarly, make sure that your dog has a structured schedule and that you are being consistent with it.

Although care and attention are necessary to heal a depressed dog, you should NEVER smother your pooch. This is because it will urge your furry companion to keep behaving that way (which is not what you want). Instead, resort to positive reinforcement and reward your pup with a treat or appreciation for every good move he/she makes. You can also give your dog his/her favorite toys or other recreational items to improve the mood.

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