A sad-looking dog lies down next to a full bowl of food.

Dog Depression: How to Spot it and Treat It

Depression is relatively common in humans, and recent studies have shown that cases of dog depression may be just as frequent. According to Healthline, it is estimated that 17.3 million adults in the United States suffer from depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) documents that approximately 9% of Americans report that they are depressed at least occasionally, and 3.4% suffer from “major depression.” Additionally, approximately 7.1% of American adults have at least one major depressive episode in a given year.

Unfortunately, dog depression is harder to spot, despite being just as common.

Signs of Depression in Dogs

Just like with humans, every dog responds differently to stress. For example, a person who loses their job may become depressed, while another person may see opportunity and feel relieved or rejuvenated. One dog being rehomed may be withdrawn, scared, or have a decreased appetite. Another dog, however, may be elated.

What Causes Dog Depression

Just as it is difficult to predict or generalize how people will respond to stress, it is hard to determine or predict what will make a dog depressed.

The most common signs associated with dog depression are:

What You Can Do to Help Dog Depression

Treatments for dog depression can be categorized into pharmacological (drug) treatments and nonpharmacological treatments.

The best course of action to treat dog depression is the following: