Look after your dogPosts

Doggy Depression, by Melanie Thomas

Yes, dogs suffer from a type of depression and like us this could be caused by a change of routine or situation. Things like a house move or the loss of a companion through bereavement, family members leaving home, changes in work patterns are all factors. Boredom can cause a dog to be depressed along with on going noise from things like building works. Chronic stress or anxiety resulting from fears and phobias or lifestyle could well cause a dog to become depressed. Dogs can also suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) when dark night and bad weather interferes with their walks or makes them less enjoyable.

Dogs feel content and happy with routine and if this is disrupted they can be really affected. You also have to think breed specific as different breeds are happy with different activities. The Bolognese being a companion breed would be happy with company, lots of love and interaction, play and walks. All dogs need physical and mental stimulation to feel fulfilled and happy and if they get less of what they like, for any reason, they can become depressed.

The signs of depression can be varied, aside from being quiet, withdrawn and not wanting to interact, you could see your dog off its food, being disruptive, being dirty in the house or even aggressive. Dogs sleep patterns can change if they feel depressed, they may be restless or sleep all day.

Low mood states don’t only have mental and emotional causes at their root. Some physical conditions (especially those which cause pain) can affect a dog’s mood. Whenever there are sudden changes in a dog’s personality or behaviour the first step should be a visit to the vet to check there are no clinical causes.

Once you have recognised that your dog is showing signs of depression and you have identified the possible causes, you can attempt to make changes. Alternatively, you can give extra TLC and distractions to help your dog get though changes or difficult times. If you cannot see a reason for the behavioural changes in your dog, you should visit the vet for a check up. If your dog is physically well, advice from an accredited behaviourist is an option to help you make the necessary changes to restore your dog to a happy life.



Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

Melanie Thomas, Chairperson

I live in St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex with 2 Bolognese and I show one of my dogs.