How to Tell When Your Dog is Sad


When humans get sad, we have a few ways of coping. Sometimes we eat. Sometimes we talk with a friend. Sometimes we binge watch Netflix. Sometimes we go for a walk. Sometimes we journal. We have a wide variety of options available to us.

But our dogs don’t have that same freedom or number of choices. Instead, they’ll communicate to us when something is wrong – whether that is sadness or sickness. Here are a few ways to tell if your dog may be dealing with depression…

Way more Zzz’s than usual.

Dogs naturally sleep a lot, but if you notice them sleeping far more than they normally do, it could be a sign that something is wrong. For instance, dogs tend to sleep when you are not home, but if you come home after a while and they aren’t excited by your presence, that could mean something’s off.

Paw licking.

Often, dogs will lick their paws to soothe themselves. Now the usual grooming is no cause for concern, but again – if you notice anything out of the ordinary, it would be a good idea to take note.

Lack of appetite.

When something is wrong, animals naturally slow down their eating. When they are sick or injured, this allows their bodies to spend more energy on healing instead of digesting. But they may also lose their energy when they are simply depressed.

Avoiding, hiding, or being withdrawn.

One example is of a dog that went into a closet in the back of the house and lied down for several days when another dog in the pack died. Sometimes dogs will try to be alone when they are feeling sad. If you find that your dog is suddenly giving you far less attention, something may be bothering your furry friend.

What to do:

If you notice any big differences in mood or behavior, it’s a good idea to check with your vet. They’ll usually be able to identify what is going on, and what the best “next steps” should be.

But like all things, it never hurts to pour on some extra love for your pups. Let them know you care. Spend time with them. Talk with them. Return the affection they so selflessly give to us. Sometimes we may be surprised just how healing love can be.

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