Can Dogs Get Depressed? How To Tell If Your Pup is Feeling Low

Can Dogs Get Depressed? How To Tell If Your Pup is Feeling Low

The first thing to say on this topic is: Yes. Unfortunately, dogs can get depressed just like us hoomans. 

Stress and other pressures can get to your dog and the circumstances can cause them to change their behaviours. 

It may be a sore or uncomfortable subject. But, if your pup is feeling low, it’s important to know why they might feel that way and what the signs are. In this blog, we’ll talk more about dog depression, what causes it and how to spot the calling cards. 

What Can Cause Dog Depression?

Just like in humans, there are a number of factors that can trigger a change in your dog’s mental well-being. 

The four main causes of canine depression are: 

  1. Illness or injury 

  2. Environmental or schedule changes  

  3. Fear 

  4. Grief


If there’s a physical issue preventing your dog from moving in the way they want to, then it can start affecting their disposition.

Environmental changes

They may not look it, but your pooches are sensitive souls. Lots of things can have adverse effects on their emotions. Something as simple as changing where they sleep can have a lasting effect.

So, huge life events like house moves, new arrivals, or changes to their usual schedule can knock them into a depressive cycle.


When your dog is scared or anxious this manifests in their unusual behaviour. Instead of bouncing around the home, a phobia could cause them to act more withdrawn.


Again, just like in humans, a loss can affect your dog's mental health in unhealthy ways. That can be an animal or human companion.

It's also worth mentioning that your mood can also rub off on your pup. If you’re not yourself, they will pick up on it. 

How Do You Know if Your Dog is Depressed?

Unfortunately, your dog can’t tell you how they’re feeling or what’s causing their unrest. However, thankfully, there are telltale signs to watch out for if you think your pup could be suffering. 

Generally speaking, when your dog is depressed they will not be themselves. Common depressive behaviours are: 

    • Lethargy: We know your pup loves a kip, but are they sleeping more than usual?

    • Loss of interest: Are the things they used to love no longer hitting the spot? More specifically, have they lost their enthusiasm for exercise or playtime?

    • Loss of appetite: Depression can cause your best friend to go off their food

    • Restlessness

    • Behavioural changes: You know your pup, have they started chewing or licking more? Are they barking more frequently or hiding more?

If you’ve noticed any of the above shifts in your dog’s behaviour, then you may be dealing with a blue pooch. So what can you do to pull them out of their funk?

How to Cheer Up a Depressed Dog?

While it’s super upsetting to see your best friend so low, there are ways you can help cure doggie depression. 

If you know there hasn’t been a loss anywhere in their lives, then the first port of call should always be your vet. Make sure there is nothing physically amiss that could be getting your dog down. 

Failing that, you can try more home-based solutions such as - getting them a new toy, topping up their immune defences with Omega 3 supplements, or settling them into a consistent exercise routine. 

However, one of the best universal cures is love. Show them how much you care through actions like playtime, walkies and generally engaging their brain. 

Stick Together to Beat Doggie Depression

We can all go through blue moments, our pets included. But when that happens it’s important to stick together - as if you’d ever do anything else. 

Remember you’re a team. They help keep you happy when you’re down. So it’s important to return the favour whenever necessary. 

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