A lot of dog owners do not realize that their pet pooches can experience something that is akin to depression in humans, but it is a lot more common than you might think.
Signs of canine depression include behavioral changes such as becoming withdrawn and inactive, sleeping more and not being engaged in activities that they used to enjoy. If you suspect that your dog is depressed, you should take him to the vet immediately because other illnesses will need to be ruled out and medication may be required (although it is usually a last resort).
Once it has been established that your dog is most likely be depressed, you need to do everything you can to get him back to being his happy, healthy and enthusiastic self. Here are a few things that will help you with that:
Maintain a Regular Routine
When your puppy is down in the dumps, it’s a good idea to maintain a consistent routine so that your dog knows what to expect from his day. That means feeding, walking and playing with him at the same times of day, as well as ensuring that he gets to bed on time.
Engage His Body and Brain
Dogs often come depressed because they are bored. So, although your dog might not feel like it, it can be good to give him little doggy puzzle games to do or to enrol him in a dog obediance training class where he will have to exercise his mind and body, Even just taking him on long walks via new routes where he will see and experience new things could help to lift him out of his terrible mood.
Offer Him More Interesting Food
Although you should do your best to maintain your dog’s regular diet and keep his mealtimes regular, if your dog is depressed to the point where he has lost interest in food, try giving him tasty new treats after he does eat a little, to encourage him to keep eating and to give him something more interesting to look forward to.
Spend More Time with Him
Just spending more time with your dog giving him lots of cuddles and playing his favorite games could be enough to get him over his depression. He will appreciate the extra time and effort spent with you and feel even more loved, which will undoubtedly lift his mood.
Don’t Reward Depression
That being said, you have to walk a fine line between being there for him and rewarding his depression because if he works out that acting in a certain way gets him more attention and tasty treats, he may not have enough incentive to bounce back. It’s tough but most of the time the best way to get around this is by distracting him from the undesirable behavior by engaging him in a quick game of fetch or a little training session to make him forget the behavior completely.
Recovery from depression in dogs, as in humans takes time and effort. Try the above, but be patient and do not expect miracles and you will get there in the end.