5 warning signs of depression in dogs (& how to help them)

Updated: Jul 19

Just like humans, dogs can be depressed. This can be due to various reasons such as death of an owner, relocation, loss of a companion pet, traumatic incidents like accidents or natural disasters etc. Here are the warning signs to help you detect depression in dogs and how you can help them.

Important: Dogs can display the symptoms mentioned below if they’re physically unwell too like arthritis, eczema etc. So before treating your dog for depression, ensure that your dog has received a clean bill of health from your veterinarian.

Depression in dogs #1: Sudden appetite change

Not eating properly

Symptom: Refusing a meal or two may not be a cause for concern. But if you notice a common pattern such as refusing treats, vomiting, disproportional increase in thirst, lethargy or disinterest in finishing meals, it can be a warning sign for depression in dogs.

Treatment: Hand feeding can be comforting in this case. Changing the temperature and consistency can help too. You could also try new food items to pique their attention.

Depression in dogs #2: Lack of enthusiasm

Depression in dogs - Seeming withdrawn

Symptom: The biggest warning sign of depression in dogs is when they lack the energy to do things they previously enjoyed — be it playtime or simply rushing to greet you at the door. He may even prefer to withdraw and avoid human contact altogether.