Is my dog depressed, sick or mourning?

Our question this week was:

We live in Perth WA Australia and it is the beginning of summer now. We had another dog (14) whom we had to put down 3 months ago because he had cancer. Our golden retriever is normally very energetic and LOVES her walks and when off the lead runs effortlessly. Over the last month she not only sleeps excessively but also though she still wants to go for her walks she now walks at an extremely slow pace. There does not seem to be any pain. We are wondering if it could be depression after losing her companion?


Barb M.


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that you had a dog that died and our other dog seems to be less eager for walks and slowing down. You asked if that could be depression from loosing her companion dog.

The answer is yes…it could be. However, I commonly see this and a fair number of times it has a medical problem associated with it. I would feel better if you took her to your vet to make sure she is okay before assuming it is depression. Also, 3 months is a good while in dog time to still be “depressed”.

An article that might be helpful to you is Do Dogs Mourn. (This article also has some tips on how to deal with mourning).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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