If you’re a worried owner wondering “why is my dog sad? ” You should be aware that dogs can experience sadness and even depression for a variety of reasons. In fact, we now know that dogs are capable of complex emotions like happiness, discrimination, or sadness thanks to the most recent ethology studies.
It is critical that this behavior is not ignored; therefore, in this ScoobyDog article, we will explain why a dog is sad and what to do about it. We will go over the most common signs we can see, the causes of those signs, and some management tips that every owner should follow to ensure the health of their best friend. Continue reading!
Is it depression or sadness in dogs?
To begin, it is critical to note that a continuous state of depression in the dog, which can last days or even weeks, is not the same as a single episode of sadness. However, the signs that we can see are very similar, so it is critical not to ignore them and to act quickly, as this will prevent it from going too far, becoming chronic, or worsening.
How can I tell why is my dog sad?
So dogs are susceptible to sadness and depression, but how do we recognize it? If we are familiar with our best friend’s typical behavior, it will be easier to detect when something is wrong; however, if we have recently adopted the dog, this will be more difficult.
The following are the most common signs or symptoms of sadness in dogs:
- Appetite loss
- Appetite stimulation
- Prostration reduced activity and increased sleep
- Absence of play Fear of aggression
- Stress Anxiety Lack of interaction
- Lack of concern for the environment
- Stereotypes Incontinence Hides
Why is my dog sad? – 5 causes
Before we suspect that our dog’s behavior is the result of an emotional or behavioral problem, we should take him to the vet for a general checkup to rule out a viral disease like distemper or parvovirus. In these cases, we can see that the dog is sad and does not want to eat, that it has crones, that it trembles, and that it does not get up.
It could also be due to parasitic disease, whether external or internal, resulting in the dog being sad and having diarrhea, vomiting, or scratching excessively. In other cases, such as psychological pregnancy in unneutered dogs, we might refer to a hormonal disorder. Any of these issues can result in the symptoms listed above.
Once organic problems have been ruled out, it is critical to examine the causes of “why my dog is sad,” as only in this manner can we effectively solve the problem:
- Adoption of the puppy: When we separate the puppy from its mother and siblings, especially if we do it quickly (before two and a half months of age), it is very likely that an episode of sadness or depression will appear, which will last until the little one fits into your home.
- Changes in the family unit: As in the previous case, a dog who has been separated from its family, whether humans or other domestic animals, may experience sadness and even depression until it adjusts to its new situation. A baby’s birth, a death, or the arrival of a new animal at home are all examples.
- Tutor punishment: studies show that tutor punishment is not only less effective than positive reinforcement, but it can also lead to the emergence of behavior problems such as fear, aggression, or sadness.
- Loneliness and a lack of stimulation – Dogs are social animals that should not be left alone for more than 6-8 hours per day. They, too, require attention, affection, physical and mental stimulation. A lack of enrichment can also lead to feelings of sadness and depression.
- Negative experiences and trauma: A stressful, negative, or even traumatizing situation for your dog can lead to depression, but it can also serve as a trigger for a variety of behavioral issues in dogs. Dog fights, being run over, or suffering a serious injury are examples of situations that can result in these types of consequences.
What should I do if my dog is depressed?
Whether we have identified the cause of our dog’s sadness or not, we should see a veterinarian who specializes in ethology or a licensed professional canine trainer or educator for a diagnosis and a list of exercises and guidelines. management. However, while we await the specialist’s visit, it may be prudent to follow the following basic guidelines:
Pay more attention to canine communication.
Any dog owner understands their dog; however, during a period of sadness or depression, it is critical to pay much more attention to the dog’s body language in order to be more respectful with him. We will avoid behaviors that may cause you unnecessary stress, and we will provide you with positive and enjoyable experiences that promote well-being and a positive mood whenever possible. A good walk or a bowl of home-cooked dog food are two simple but effective examples.
Increase your time spent with him.
As previously stated, a dog should not be left alone for more than 6-8 hours per day; however, spending more time by his side also means paying attention to him. It is not necessary to constantly caress him; a brushing session or encouraging him to follow us around the house while we do our daily tasks can be beneficial.
At home, it promotes calm and relaxation.
There are some relaxation exercises for dogs that, in addition to strengthening our bond with our best friend, are very effective for dogs who suffer from stress and anxiety. Of course, we must be consistent and perform them on a daily basis for them to be truly effective and have a positive impact on the dog.
Enhances the quality of daily walks and exercise.
Physical activity is essential for dogs, so we must ensure that the dog gets at least two to four daily walks, combined with physical exercise whenever possible. Playing fetch, going for a 15-minute jog, or simply letting him off-leash in a safe and spacious area are all activities that will help our best friend develop his muscles and feel more satisfied with his day.