Dog owners sometimes notice their dog appears sad or listless and wonder if dogs can get depressed in the same way that humans get depressed.

The short answer to this question is “yes”. Dogs can get depressed in ways that are similar to human depression. While dogs appear to share many of the same symptoms with humans, we can’t know exactly what’s going on with them because we can’t ask them. It is frequently diagnosed by exclusion. In other words, all other possible reasons for the behavior are excluded until the only plausible explanation is canine depression.

The symptoms of dog depression are similar to human depression. All of these symptoms would need to be chronic or protracted for a diagnosis of depression.

  • Withdrawn
  • Change in eating habits (i.e., more or less food consumption)
  • Change in sleeping habits (i.e., more, less or erratic sleep)
  • Inactive
  • Loss of interest in things normally enjoyed

Causes for canine depression can include, but are not limited to, any of the following.

  • Change of residence
  • Change of owner’s schedule (e.g., new work shift for owner)
  • Addition or elimination of a human in the residence
  • Addition or elimination of an animal (e.g., dog, cat, etc.) in the residence

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