Recently a client reached out to me to ask if her dog could be depressed.  Her family had recently experienced the loss of another companion animal, and although the surviving pup was eating, drinking, peeing and pooping in a normal manner, her behavior was described as being just lethargic and even “sad”. 

It may come as a surprise to find out that yes, dogs and cats can experience depression just like people do.

Depression in dogs and even cats can be triggered by the loss or departure of a family member and other changes to their routine, like moving to another home or even a new addition to the house. Here are five warning signs of depression in your pet:

They May Stop Eating

Your dog or cat may eat less or even stop eating if they are depressed. There are also some dogs and cats who will eat a lot more when they get depressed, because food can serve as a comfort to them, just like what is observed with some forms of human depression.

They May Sleep More Or Less

If your dog or cat is depressed, they may sleep more than they usually do. You may notice that your dog or cat doesn’t want to get out of bed.

They May Hide

If your dog or cat is depressed they may hide from you. However, hiding or avoidance could also signal a physical injury as well.

What You Should Do If You Think Your Dog Or Cat Is Depressed

If you observe any of the behaviors above and are concerned you should first take your dog or cat to the vet to make sure these symptoms are not caused by an illness.

If the vet finds that your dog or cat is  healthy, then try your best to maintain a sense of normalacy in your dog or cats routine.  Keep feeding times and amounts the same as before. Take walks. Play with them and do the things that they loved before whatever event happened that left them feeling blue.

If you need help we’ve always got your tail covered.  Check out our services that can help boost your dog or cats sense of well-being on our services page and contact us to talk about how we can help ease your dog or cats depression.