Understanding Clinical Depression In Dogs Why is your fur baby sad?

Understanding Clinical Depression In Dogs

Thumbnail of Bob-A-Lot Multi Chambered Interactive Dog Toy

Bob-A-Lot Multi Chambered Interactive Dog Toy

Balls & Fetching Toys
{{petcare_price|currency}} Price in Cart w/PetPlus {{petplus_price|currency}} See PetPlus Price in Cart

Depression is different from sadness. Clinical depression has nothing to do with their environment and everything to do with their internal state.

Depression is more than just sadness; it's a debilitating condition that can make life difficult for the person experiencing it and their loved ones. The same is true for dogs. We don't often think about our pets experiencing depression, but they can suffer from it just as much as we do. 

A study on around fourteen thousand dogs showed that almost three-quarters of the dogs showed some signs of depression or other genetic anxiety-related issues. 

Can Animals Get Depressed?

Yes, they can. However, the term “clinical depression” differs from a dog feeling sad or depressed because they miss its owner. This is a mental illness that can be treated. In fact, people often refer to clinical depression as “the blues” because they have been affected by this condition themselves or know someone who has suffered from it. 

Symptoms Of Depression In Dogs

Some of the most common symptoms of depression in dogs are:

? Lethargy: Your dog may spend more time lying down and sleeping than usual.

? Lack of interest: Your dog might stop his typical activities like chasing squirrels or even playing with his favorite interactive dog toys.

? Loss of energy: You may see your dog walking slowly and not jumping up on you as they used to when you come home from work.

? Unexplained aggression: Aggression towards people or other animals that were not previously displayed by your pet may be a symptom of depression. This can include growling, snarling, and snapping at family members or friends who visit your house.  

How Is Depression Different From Grief?

It’s important to note that while depression is a medical condition, grief is the normal response to loss. Grief often occurs after the death of a loved one or pet, but it can also occur after other types of losses, such as moving away from home or being separated from your pet. 

It can be treated with several pet meds like Clomicalm or Adaptil, which makes your pet feel calm and relaxed. If the symptoms are not very grave, you can also give your pet some calming treats for dogs, which is a fun way to distract your dog from any grief and uplift his mood. 

Causes of Depression In Dogs

Several factors may cause your dog to become depressed, including:

  • Loss of a loved one: Dogs are highly social and often grieve when they lose a companion or family member.

  • Moving to a new home: A change in environment can be stressful for your dog, especially if he is forced to leave his usual routine behind.

  • Changes in routine: Changes in daily activities can throw off your dog's life balance. Remember, dogs live by routine; if yours is suffering from depression because of it, talk with your veterinarian about ways you can help him cope with the change. 

  • Illness or injury: Many dogs experience depression when their bodies cannot function fully due to illness or injury, including surgery. If you notice changes in behavior after an operation has been performed on your pet, talk with your vet immediately, they may recommend some pet medication, such as fluoxetine for dogs which will help relieve symptoms like these so that both you and your pet can get back on track soon enough.  

What Can You Do If Your Dog Is Depressed?

If you think your dog is depressed, the first step is to talk to your vet. They can help you figure out what's happening and get your pooch back on track. In addition to that, there are some other things you can do.

Engage in positive reinforcement. Your dog needs more than just food and water; give them lots of attention and affection. Get them involved in activities. Dogs love being active, so make sure you provide plenty of opportunities for fun. 


Remember that you can do things to help your dog feel better, whether it’s getting them some playtime or even taking them for a walk so they can get some fresh air. And remember that if your dog continues to show any signs of depression after these efforts, it may be time to talk with a vet.

Was this article helpful?

You May Also Like


Mounting displays in dogs. Why do dogs do this sort of thing? And what can be done to stop it?

Read More
Image for Doxepin HCL: Pet Depression Treatment Guide
Doxepin HCL: Pet Depression Treatment Guide

How this Capsule Treats Anxiety and OCD in Dogs and Cats

Read More