Treating Dog Depression without Medication

Dog depression is a common but treatable condition. Depression may be caused by the absence of the owner, change of owner or moving house, a disease or chemical imbalance. A depressed dog is less active, lacks appetite, sleeps more and presents behavioral changes. Canine depression may be treated with medication; however drugs often have side effects. There are other ways to treat depression in dogs.


Exercise is a great way to treat depression. Choose a work out that is exciting for your dog; not all dogs like running so you may opt for swimming or jumping activities. Try some interactive games such as Frisbee or ball fetching. A depressed dog is less active and less likely to engage in games, so you need to have patience and stimulate your dog to start exercising.

Pet Sitter

If your dog is depressed because you are away from home a lot, the solution to treat his condition is to get a pet sitter. Pet sitters may distract your dog with activities and help him forget that his owner is away. Depressed dogs need attention, so choose a trained pet sitter.

Alternatively, you may take your dog to a dog daycare. However, some dogs may not react well to daycares due to the fact that there are a lot of dogs and only a few attendants.

Socialize Your Dog

Socializing your dog may treat his depression.

Take your dog to a park and allow him to play with other dogs. Playing with other dogs will distract your dog and offer him a comforting feeling. Socializing may treat depression caused by the loss of a pet companion or the departure of a family member.


Therapy may be helpful to boost your dog's mood. Some dog therapists use music or aromatherapy to treat depression.

Less conventional therapy sessions may involve dog whisperers, who are supposed to have the capacity to communicate with dogs and help them get rid of depression.

Pheromone Diffusers

Pheromone diffusers may help treating canine depression. The diffusers release pheromones that are similar to the scent of a mother dog and this can soothe and improve the dog's mood.

Holistic Treatment Options

Certain herbs are known for their anti-depressant and energizing effect. Such herbs include gentian, star of Bethlehem, ignatia amara or mint. Choose some of these plant essences and administrate them to your dog together with food or water. You will find plant essence solutions in pet health stores.

Unlike conventional medication, holistic treatments do not have side effects.

Visit the Vet

If your dog is depressed due to a medical condition, you need to detect the disease and the depression will go away on its own.

However, if the depression is severe, medication might be needed. Prozac, Zoloft or Paxil are common drugs prescribed to clinically depressed dogs. Anti-depressant drugs have a few side effects such as personality changes, lack of activity and sleepiness.