When it comes to people, there are a lot of warning signs that may tell us we do not feel good. We can act detached, distracted or even pained. A lot of times, as a way to let our feelings out, we cry or tell a family member or friend.
However, dogs do not have that capacity. The fact that dogs can feel depressed or sad still surprises a lot of people. And if not all people even know that their canine friends have the capacity to feel upset, how will they detect unhappiness, stress or even depression in their pets? Here are some telling characteristics that may mean your dog is experiencing sadness:
Your dog is always sleeping.
Normally, dogs do tend to sleep in erratic schedules. But if you notice that the dog is sleeping most of the times that you have been with him, this may be a cause for alarm. This tendency to increase sleep is one of the most noticeable signs of trauma or stress in dogs, which may be caused by underlying health issues.
Your dog is inactive.
This is connected to the sleeping symptom, but this is especially true for those with active dogs that inexplicably become inactive all of a sudden. If you are used to your dog running around the house, this inactivity may be a sign of depression.
Your dog is always licking his paws.
Excessive paw licking is one way the dog soothes himself. This may be in response to something physiological or psychological condition.
Your dog’s body language is evasive.
Evasive body language is a characteristic of a depressed dog. There are several ways to detect this such as reluctance to make eye contact, droopy ears and submissive posture.
Your dog’s appetite is not great.
Dogs are almost always hungry so if their appetite for food has decreased, your dog may be suffering from an underlying health issue.
Your dog is always pacing.
If a dog paces through different points of the house and can’t seem to make up his mind on where to settle down, he may be depressed.
Your dog has diarrhea or constipation.
Diarrhea and constipation in dogs are usually connected to a more physical issue. But sometimes, they can also be linked to anxiety.
Your dog is detached, withdrawn or isolated.
Dogs are naturally sociable animals. Isolating themselves from people or animals often is not normal and may be a sign of depression.
Your dog is shedding his fur more than the usual.
Stress in dogs usually manifests through extra shedding of fur.
Your dog is aggressive towards other animals.
Just like people, animals tend to be aggressive to others when they are depressed or sad.
The first step to dealing with psychological problems with dogs is actually spending time with them and noticing their patterns of behavior. Do not assume that your dog is depressed right away as a lot of the emotional responses of dogs are stimulated from more physical and medical causes. But if you notice that there is something out of the ordinary with how the dog is behaving, you may need to schedule a session with the vet or dog psychologist soon.