Causes of Dog Depression

Dog depression may sound like a hoax, but it is a very real condition that affects dogs. It is known that dogs have feelings and emotions and depression is a state of mind which can develop when something causes a shift in those emotions. The problem is that signs of depression are usually misdiagnosed for other similar acting conditions. However, dog depression is something that requires treatment in order to bring your dog back to a normal state of mind.

Causes of Dog Depression

Dogs are not independent animals. They are extremely dependant on their humans for love, compassion, food, shelter and companionship. Unlike their undomesticated forefathers, dogs in the world today are much appreciative of a family and a home and they rely heavily on their humans to provide their place in this world.

Because of that, dog depression can be caused by a variety of situations. The most common cause of depression seems to be abrupt change. When a dog becomes comfortable in his family's home, it can cause a depressive state if his owners give him up to a new family. It does not mean that he can't learn to love the new family and adapt, but it does mean that he will probably be in mourning for quite awhile.

Depression can also be caused by a change of home. Even he stays with his owners and the move is nothing more than to a new home, a dog can become depressed because he has been taken out of what he deems to be his home. They become comfortable in their environment and any change to that environment can jar their emotions.

Death of a family member can also be associated with the development of depression in dogs. Because communication between a dog and a human is somewhat limited, there is no way to convey to a dog that their owner has died. The only thing that the dog can understand is that their owner is gone and they consider it to be abandonment.

Symptoms of Depression in a Dog

Many of the signs of depression can be confused with that of an underlying condition. But it is important to notice any of the following changes in your dog which could be depression related:

  • Loss of weight
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Sleeping more than usual

Diagnosing and Treating Depression in Dogs

Diagnosing dog depression can be difficult because your dog cannot tell you that he is sad or hurting. The symptoms of depression are also often mistaken for symptoms of a more serious condition. Diagnosis usually consists of thoroughly examining your dog's medical history, researching any recent changes and reviewing the symptoms.

Once the diagnosis has been made, treatment can be handled with two options. First, if the depression does not appear to be extremely severe, a simple change in reverting back to the normal schedule or more time spent with your dog may just do the trick. However, if the depression appears to be more severe, anti-depressant medications, such as Prozac or Valium, may be needed.