Just like humans, dogs can suffer from depression. There are a lot of reasons why your dog could be depressed; however, he cannot tell you what is wrong. There are a few things you can try to treat your dog’s depression, or to at least figure out what is causing it. Below are just a few reasons why your dog may be depressed, and treatments you could consider.
Your dog may simply be lonely. If you feel that you do not spend enough time with your dog, or that he has too much alone time, then you may want to consider enrolling him in a day care. Dogs often get depressed because they are alone; if you have to leave him because of work, taking him to a day care will help him feel less lonely. You can look up doggy day cares in your area, or consider getting a pet sitter to be with your dog when you are not available.
He may have lost someone close to him. If this is the case, make sure that you give him the extra attention and love he deserves. This will make him feel special and fill the void that the loved one has left behind. You can take him around other dogs, play in the park, or even go for a short ride to make him feel less depressed and get his mind off the loss.
He may want another dog companion. He may simply be depressed because he does not have another dog around him. There is a simple solution to this problem: if you can accommodate it, get another dog to keep him company. We all need love and friends in life, so getting another dog may solve your pet’s depression. If you can't afford or take the time for another dog right now, then you can schedule regular weekly 'play dates' with a friend's or neighbor's dog. Once your dog figures out the new routine, he may start to look forward to the play dates and forget about his depression.
These are just a few solutions to treat your dog's depression. If you have tried everything listed above and your dog is still depressed, then it may be more serious; your dog may even have a medical condition. An older dog whose joints hurt, for example, may not limp or whimper - but he may begin acting depressed. Your vet will test for a wide range of medical problems. Like humans, dogs can be tested for depression. If there isn't an underlying medical condition, and your doctor feels the problem is severe, she may prescribe antidepressants to help your pet’s problem.