It’s not known whether dogs feel depressed in the same way that we do, but they do have periods when they are obviously feeling down. Thankfully these periods don’t normally last for too long, but they can be distressing for you and your pet. As John Ciribassi, DVM and past president of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior said,
“Dogs will become withdrawn. They become inactive. Their eating and sleeping habits often change. They don’t participate in the things they once enjoyed.” How can you tell when your dog is feeling down?
As John Ciribassi said, your pooch’s behavior may change quite dramatically when they are feeling unhappy. They may eat less, they may refuse to play with you and they may hide themselves away in a corner. If your furry friend usually loves a car ride but stops showing any enthusiasm then it’s possible he’s not feeling very happy.
What can you do to help?
Fortunately dogs don’t normally feel down for very long before they return to normal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do something to try to help in the meantime. If there is an activity that your pet normally loves, such as going for a walk, try to get them to do it and make a fuss if they show some sign of enjoyment; such as a tail wag. It’s not a good idea to make too much of a fuss when they are feeling sullen as they make think you are rewarding the behavior, and this can create an ongoing pattern. Mostly you need to show patience, and to coax your puppy by adopting a happy mood yourself, and by making sure they have favorite toys to play with and food that they enjoy.
Of course you should always remember that a dog can show all of the signs of being unhappy if they are suffering from an illness and, if you think that’s the case, it’s always based to seek an opinion from a veterinarian. You may also need to seek help if your dog is physically well but remains in a funk. There are times when it seems as though a chemical imbalance can be causing the problem, and treatment may be required.
Most of the time, with a little love and patience, you can help your dog back to their normal happy self. If you want to make a dog really happy then why not take a trip to a shelter and adopt a mutt today; they may just make you a lot happier too.