Subtle Signs Your Dog Is Actually Depressed

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Change in Appetite

A sudden change in appetite is a common indicator of depression in dogs. When a dog is depressed, they might lose interest in their food, which can lead to weight loss and decreased energy.

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Lack of Interest in Activities

Dogs typically have a favorite activity or toy that excites them. If your dog suddenly shows disinterest in playing, going for walks, or participating in activities they once enjoyed, it could be a sign of depression.

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Sleeping More Than Usual

While dogs naturally spend a lot of their day sleeping, an excessive amount of sleep or apparent lethargy can signal depression. This behavior might be accompanied by a lack of interest in engaging with family members or in activities that would usually excite them.

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Avoidance or Hiding

A dog that suddenly starts avoiding their family or hides in unusual places is showing clear signs of distress or depression. This behavior might manifest as reluctance to engage in social activities or even physical contact.

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Excessive Licking or Grooming

Excessive licking, especially of the paws, or grooming behavior in dogs can be a sign of stress or emotional discomfort. This compulsive behavior is often a self-soothing mechanism dogs use when they are anxious or depressed.

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Loss of Interest in Interaction

When a dog shows less interest in interacting with humans or other animals, it can be a sign of depression. They might not respond to calls, seem indifferent to affection, or withdraw from social activities they used to enjoy.

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Changes in Vocalization

A change in how often or the way a dog vocalizes can be indicative of their emotional state. A dog that once barked enthusiastically but now seldom makes a sound could be showing signs of sadness or depression.

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Pacing or Restlessness

Pacing back and forth or displaying signs of restlessness can indicate that a dog is dealing with anxiety or depression. This behavior shows that they are unable to settle, possibly due to emotional turmoil.

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Aggression or Withdrawal

Changes in behavior, such as unexpected aggression or withdrawal, can be alarming signs of depression in dogs. A previously gentle dog becoming snappy or an outgoing dog becoming reclusive can indicate a significant emotional disturbance.

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Changes in Body Language

Body language offers significant clues to a dog’s emotional state. Signs of depression can include a lowered head, ears pinned back, or a tucked tail, indicating fear, anxiety, or sadness.

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Loss of Interest in Going Outside

If a dog who once loved walks and outdoor activities now shows reluctance or indifference, it might indicate depression. This change can affect their physical health and deprive them of the mental stimulation the outdoors provides.

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