Dog Depression: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments - Healthy Dog World

Dog Depression: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments


Can dogs get depression? The short answer is yes, they can. Dogs, like humans, experience a plethora of emotions that could indicate whenever they are feeling down. It may surprise you to learn that even dogs can suffer from depression - especially when there are disruptions to their routine or changes in the environment that they are accustomed to. 

Let’s talk about canine depression and the things that you could do to help your pup get back to being their usual happy self!

Causes of Depression in Dogs

Dogs are intelligent creatures who experience a wide range of emotions. Like us, they are also capable of reacting to changes in their environment. If you’re searching “How can I tell if my dog is depressed?” then you came to the right place! Here are some of the most common causes of dog depression: 

  • Physical ailments/injury

  • Traumatic event

  • Environmental changes

  • Fears and phobias

  • Separation anxiety

If you notice your pup reacting to some of the causes listed above, it’s best to consult your veterinarian immediately. Your veterinarian should be able to help determine the underlying cause and suggest some lifestyle changes to help solve the problem. 

Symptoms of Dog Depression

What are the most common dog depression symptoms? Symptoms of canine depression are similar to symptoms experienced by humans. According to the American Kennel Club, the symptoms of depression will vary depending on the dog and the severity of the problem. Some of the key things to look out for, however, include changes in body language, decreased appetite, and lethargic behavior. Sometimes, a dog that’s exhibiting signs of needy behavior can also be considered as a symptom of depression.

Solutions and Treatments for Dogs with Depression

How do you cheer up a depressed dog? The good news is that there are a couple of ways to help your dog get back on their feet. While there is no definite timeline, dogs often overcome depression on their own. Here are a couple of simple solutions and treatments to help a dog that’s battling depression:

  • Determine the root cause - Determining the root cause of any issue is the first step to solving a problem. Some depressive symptoms may also stem from undiagnosed medical conditions. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to determine any underlying health issues before they can cause further problems. 

  • Offer more attention - Whether it be through training or teaching them a new trick, offering more attention to your pup helps keep behavioral problems at bay. Training also enables your pup to redirect their focus and excess energy toward something more productive.

  • Give them plenty of physical and mental activity - Whether it be going out for a long walk or arranging playdates with other pups, establishing rigorous physical and mental activities can be a great distraction and help redirect your pup’s attention to other things. This also enables them to ramp up their endorphin production to help them combat signs and symptoms of depression. Remember, dogs are pack creatures. Make sure to prioritize spending time with other canines!

  • Consider pet supplements - Depending on the severity of your pup’s condition, there are supplements that can directly combat canine anxiety and depression. When looking for a calming supplement for your pup, look for products that use high-quality natural ingredients that foster a soothing environment for your dog. It also pays to check with your veterinarian if a certain calming supplement can help defuse highly stressful situations such as trips to the vet clinic, firework displays, thunderstorms, and long drives. 

  • Maintain a routine - Establishing a routine gives your pup’s day-to-day a little bit of structure. According to Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, dogs rely on a defined schedule for a sense of security and well-being, which is why maintaining a routine is of the utmost importance. If you think lifestyle changes have affected your dog’s mental health, you may be able to identify certain triggers that make your dog stressed or anxious. To combat this, make sure to establish a set schedule for walks and playtime. This will help your dog feel more comfortable and would have something to look forward to!

And there you have it! Do you have other tips when it comes to dealing with canine depression? Let us know in the comments below or email us at

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