Why is my dog sad?
If you are a concerned owner who wonders «why is my dog sad» you should know that there are many causes that can cause sadness and even depression in dogs. In fact, thanks to the most recent ethology studies, today we know that dogs are possessors of complex emotions, such as joy, discrimination or sadness.
Depression in dogs or sadness?
To begin with, it is essential to point out that a continuous state of depression in the dog , which can last days and even weeks, is not the same as a specific episode of sadness. However, the signs that we can observe are very similar, so it will be essential not to ignore them and act promptly , in this way we will prevent it from going further, becoming chronic or getting worse.
How to know if my dog is sad?
Dogs, then, are susceptible to suffering from a state of sadness and depression, but how can we recognize it? If we know the usual behavior of our best friend, it will be easier to identify that something is wrong, however, if we have recently adopted the dog, it will not be so easy.
Next we will mention the signs or 20 symptoms of sadness in the most common dog:
- Lack of appetite
- increased appetite
- decreased activity
- increased sleep
- you cry
- absence of play
- lack of interaction
- Little interest in the environment
Why is my dog sad? – 5 causes
Before suspecting that our dog’s behavior is caused by an emotional or behavioral problem, we should go to the vet for a general check-up and rule out that our best friend is suffering from a viral disease, such as distemper or parvovirus . In these cases we can see that the dog is sad and does not want to eat, has rheum, trembles and does not get up.
It can also be due to a parasitic disease, whether we are talking about external parasites or internal parasites , thus showing that the dog is sad and has diarrhea, vomits or scratches excessively. In other cases we could talk about a hormonal disorder, such as psychological pregnancy in non-neutered bitches. Any of these problems can cause the aforementioned symptoms.
Once organic problems have been ruled out, it will be essential to review the causes that explain «why my dog is sad» since only in this way can we solve it effectively:
- Adoption of the puppy : when we separate the puppy from its mother and siblings, especially when it is done early (before 2 and a half months of age) it is very likely that an episode of sadness or depression will appear that will last until the little one is suit your home.
- Changes in the family unit : as in the previous case, a dog that has been separated from its family, whether we are talking about humans or other domestic animals, can experience a process of sadness and even depression until it adapts to the situation. that new circumstance. The birth of a baby, a death or a new animal at home are also some examples.
- Use of punishment by the tutor : studies indicate that the use of punishment is not only less effective than positive reinforcement , but it can also cause the appearance of behavior problems, including fear, aggressiveness or sadness.
- Loneliness and lack of stimulation – Dogs are social animals that shouldn’t spend more than 6-8 hours alone each day. Likewise, they require attention, affection, physical stimulation and mental stimulation. The lack of enrichment can also cause a state of sadness and depression.
- Negative experiences and traumas : a very stressful, negative and even traumatizing situation for your dog can cause depression but also act as a trigger for various behavioral problems in dogs . Fights between dogs, a hit-and-run or a serious injury are some examples of situations that can cause this type of consequence.
What to do if my dog is sad?
Whether we have identified the cause that is causing sadness in our dog or not, it is highly advisable to visit a veterinarian specialized in ethology or a licensed professional canine trainer or educator to issue a diagnosis and provide us with a list of exercises and guidelines management. However, while we wait for the specialist’s visit, it may be advisable to follow these basic guidelines:
Pay more attention to canine language
It is obvious that any owner knows their dog, however, during a stage of sadness or depression it is important to pay much more attention to the dog’s body language in order to be more respectful towards him. We will avoid behaviors that may cause you unnecessary stress and, whenever possible, we will provide you with positive and enjoyable experiences that promote well-being and a positive state of mind. A quality walk or bowl of homemade dog food are simple but effective examples.
Spend more time with him
As we have explained to you, a dog should not spend more than 6-8 hours alone a day, however, spending more time by his side also means paying attention to him . It is not necessary to be constantly caressing him, it can also be positive to carry out a brushing session or encourage him to follow us around the house when we carry out our daily tasks.
Promotes calm and relaxation at home
There are some relaxation exercises for dogs that, in addition to improving the bond with our best friend, are very effective for those dogs that have stress and anxiety problems. Of course, it is important to point out that we must be very constant and do them daily so that they are really effective and have a real impact on the dog.
Improves the quality of walks and daily exercise
Physical activity is essential for dogs, therefore, we must guarantee that the dog takes a minimum of 2 to 4 walks a day, combined with physical exercise whenever possible. Playing fetch for the ball, jogging for 15 minutes, or simply giving him some free time without a leash in a safe and spacious space are activities that will help our best friend develop his muscles and feel more satisfied in his day. a day.
Practice obedience or mental stimulation
Just like we exercise our best friend’s body, we must exercise his mind. We can practice short daily sessions, between 5 and 10 minutes, of basic dog obedience , teaching him the basic commands, such as sit, lie down, stay or come here. And, in fact, even if he has already learned them, it doesn’t hurt to reinforce them so that he doesn’t forget them and knows how to execute them in all kinds of situations.