The personalities of dogs can be as varied as those of human beings. Considering this, it follows that the reasons for a dog to feel sad or upset can be different for each animal. Here we will look at the most common causes of sadness in dogs and help you recognize the signs that your dog may exhibit when feeling down.
1. Changes to their appetite
Sudden changes in your pet’s behavior or mood is a good indicator that something is wrong. A dog that is feeling down may stop eating or even go the other way and eat like there is no tomorrow. Pay close attention to how often and how much your dog is eating if you are concerned about changes to their behavior.
2. Sleeping more than usual
The average adult dog sleeps for between 12 to 14 hours in a 24-hour period. Puppies and young dogs can sleep for longer; often up to 20 hours a day. However, if your adult dog starts sleeping like a puppy, it may be that they are sad about something.
3. Excessive licking
Repetitive licking may be a sign that your dog is feeling down. Bear in mind that there are also medical reasons as to why your dog may be excessively licking themselves to, but if your dog is licking themselves much more than usual, and a vet had ruled out any health issues, then it can also be a sign of sadness.
4. Hiding away
If your usually social dog doesn’t seem to be around as much, it could be a sign that they are feeling depressed. Dogs are pack animals, so group activities are an important part of their daily life. By withdrawing from this, they are exhibiting a sign that something is wrong.
5. Moving house
Dogs love routines and regular habits, so a big change like a house move can cause them to feel very anxious and upset.
Being removed from their usual location and the places they enjoy playing and walking around can take their toll, so if you have moved or a planning a move, make sure to take your dog along to your new place a few times before you move for good, to help them get used to their new home and play places.
Once they get settled, they should soon feel better about the changes they went through.
6. Losing a loved one
Dogs can grieve just like the rest of us. If a dog’s owner or a close companion pet passes away, you may notice signs of depression in your dog.
However, not all dogs grieve in the same way, some may howl while others may retreat into silence. Let your pet grieve in their own way and keep giving them lots of love during this difficult time.
7. New family members
Your dog may be jealous of a new person in your life, but this type of depression should be temporary as your dog forms a bond with this new person. Encourage their relationship by going on walks together and getting them involved in feeding time.
8. New pets
Your dog may also become jealous of a new pet but will soon overcome these feelings once a bond is established. Make sure you divide your time and love equally between your pets.
9. Schedule changes
As dogs are creatures of habit, drastic changes to their schedule can really throw them off. If you are away all day or undertake shift work, draft in friends and family to help keep your pet’s regular routine.
10. New owners
There are those tragic moments when pet parents have to find new homes for their pets, and it is likely in such a situation that your dog will become withdrawn in their new environment until they get more comfortable.
11. Reflection of your own feelings
Research has shown that when humans cry, their dogs also feel distress. If you are feeling upset or depressed it likely that your dog will pick up on these feelings too. Try taking refreshing walks with each other and seek professional help if you are unable to overcome feelings of depression for more than two weeks.