Can dogs suffer from depression?

Anyone who owns a dog will know that their pet has strong emotions and is usually very sensitive to the moods of their owner. As intelligent responsive beings, dogs can be afflicted with mental health issues such as depression, just like humans.

The causes

Dogs can attach very deeply to their humans. If someone close to them dies or disappears, the grief can be powerful and debilitating. If they have a canine or feline companion in the household and something happens to them, this can also trigger grief and depression.

As dogs can tune in to the moods and feelings of their owners, living with depressed or grieving people could lead to depression in a dog. According to a report in the Guardian, some dogs find that living with their human increases anxiety, stress and possibly depression.

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Boredom can also cause dog depression. Many dogs need more exercise and stimulation than they get from being inside all the time.

What to look for

Behavioural change can be a sign of depression, especially if your dog starts to hide or avoid people. If your dog no longer has much interest in going out for walks or doing the things they generally enjoyed, this could also be a sign that they are depressed.

Depression can sometimes change appetite and eating patterns. If your dog stops eating and loses weight, this could indicate depression; alternatively, some dogs start comfort or stress eating. If they seem to be eating compulsively, this could be a symptom that their mental health needs attention.

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If you love your pet, you probably want to get them some healthy dog treats, which can also be useful when training your dog. If you want to find out more about the kind of healthy dog treats that are available, check out specialists such as to see what kind of nutritional and tasty snacks are available.

Dogs can be loyal and loving companions, and most of them give their owners so much affection and pleasure. In return, they need care from their humans. While their needs for comfort may be met, many modern dogs need to be busier, get more exercise and have more to do. Teaching your old dog new tricks might be just what they need.

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