Is my dog depressed?

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September 14
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My dog has been showing signs of depression since I went back to the office full time. Is there any way I can help him to feel less depressed when I leave for work?

5 Answers:

blackberry98 avatar

Dogs are wired differently. It’s natural for them to be with the people he considers family. And you, working from home means he gets to spend more time with you. Breaking this pattern may lead to separation anxiety and depression.

According to hippo.com, giving them designated space and keeping them busy with entertainment and toys can make them feel safe and can keep them happy while you are away. Classical music can also reduce the stress levels he may feel when you leave. Hiring a dog walker or putting him on a doggy daycare a few times a week will also make a huge difference since he can socialize with other dogs and at the same time get the exercise he needs. 

There are a lot of articles that can give you guidelines, you may start with this one. You can also watch this video of Cesar Milan talking about Dog’s Separation Anxiety.

Nestre avatar

Yes, dogs can suffer from depression—or at least, from mental and emotional afflictions that greatly resemble clinical depression in humans. There’s no doubt that sometimes dogs feel sad, down, or upset—and that their low mood may cause them to withdraw from their normal activities and behave differently. Fortunately, there are ways to care for the mental and emotional needs of our beloved pets, just like we care for their physical needs. Here are some important things to know about depression in dogs, and how to keep your favorite furkid feeling their best, inside and out.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of dog depression can be similar to other medical conditions. Chronic pain is often mistaken as depression in older pets, and to further confuse matters, stress from depression can make underlying medical conditions emerge.  

How to Help a Depressed Dog

  • Set up play dates
  • Increase mental and physical stimulation
  • Make sure they are eating
  • Give them some individual time
  • Respond appropriately

I hope the above tips help!

wyah

It's possible that your dog is feeling lonely and anxious when you leave for work. Here are some things you can try to help your dog feel less depressed:

Spend quality time with your dog before you leave for work. Take your dog for a walk or play with him to help him expend some energy and feel more relaxed.

Leave a few toys or treats for your dog to play with while you're gone. This can help keep him occupied and provide some mental stimulation.

Consider using a doggy daycare or hiring a dog walker to take your dog for a walk during the day. This can provide some socialization and exercise for your dog.

Create a safe and comfortable space for your dog to rest in while you're gone. This can be a cozy bed or a crate, depending on your dog's preferences.

Consider leaving a piece of clothing with your scent on it for your dog to cuddle with while you're gone. This can provide some comfort and help alleviate anxiety.

Remember to be patient with your dog as he adjusts to your new work schedule. If you continue to notice signs of depression, it may be worth consulting with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to develop a personalized plan for your dog.

EPra avatar

If possible, let him live outside his cage, mingle with other dogs (if any), give him enough food/water, and occasionally take him for a walk.

MyTwoCents

I'm sorry to hear that your dog is experiencing depression when you leave for work. Dogs can be sensitive to changes in their routines and the absence of their owners. Here are some strategies to help your dog feel less anxious and depressed when you're away:

1. **Gradual Transition**: If possible, make the transition to full-time office work gradual. Start by leaving for shorter periods and gradually increase the time away. This can help your dog adjust to being alone.

2. **Exercise and Play**: Ensure your dog gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before you leave for work. A tired dog is less likely to be anxious. A long walk or playtime can help expend energy and reduce stress.

3. **Interactive Toys**: Provide your dog with interactive toys or puzzle feeders that can keep them engaged and mentally stimulated while you're gone. Treat-dispensing toys can be particularly helpful.

4. **Comfort Items**: Leave familiar items like your dog's favorite toys, blanket, or an old t-shirt with your scent. These can provide comfort and a sense of security.

5. **Background Noise**: Some dogs find comfort in background noise, such as a radio or TV set to a calming channel. This can help mask outside sounds and make the environment feel less lonely.

6. **Doggy Daycare or Pet Sitter**: Consider enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare program a few days a week or hiring a pet sitter to break up the day with some companionship and attention.

7. **Desensitization**: Work on desensitizing your dog to your departure cues. Pick up your keys, put on your coat, and mimic your usual routine without actually leaving. Gradually increase the time you spend doing these activities without leaving, so your dog doesn't associate them with your absence.

8. **Positive Associations**: Create positive associations with your departures. Give your dog a special treat or toy only when you're leaving. This can make them look forward to your departures.

9. **Consult a Professional**: If your dog's depression and anxiety persist, consult with a professional dog trainer or a veterinarian who specializes in behavior. They can assess your dog's specific needs and provide tailored solutions.

10. **Consider a Companion**: If it's feasible, you might consider getting a second dog as a companion. However, this is a big commitment and should only be done if you're fully prepared for the responsibilities of multiple pets.

Remember that it may take time for your dog to adjust to your new work routine. Be patient, provide lots of love and attention when you're home, and monitor their behavior closely. If the depression continues or worsens, consult with a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues and to explore potential medications or therapies that could help your dog cope with separation anxiety.

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