What Is Dog Digging Repellent?

If you have a dog that digs, you may have asked yourself, “What is dog digging repellent?” A dog digging repellent is a product that is designed to deter a dog from digging. Some of these dog digging repellents are effective, while some dogs aren’t bothered by them in the least.

If it rains, a dog digging repellent must be reapplied.

Dog Digging Repellents You Can Buy

There are many types of dog digging repellent that you may purchase from pet retailers:

  • Liquid repellents – If you are having issues with your dog digging in your yard, consider using a liquid repellent. This ready-to-use spray repellent can be sprayed on your lawn to deter your dog from digging. (Some brands also offer a granulated formula that you can spread on your lawn.) One application lasts up to 30 days, but if it rains significantly, it is advised that your reapply the repellent. This liquid repellent repels animals with its odor and taste. Biodegradable sprays containing citronella repel many dogs but won’t hurt the greenery. They also help to keep mosquitoes and other bugs away. You can also look for sprays containing garlic oil, clove oil or pepper extract. After applying the spray, wait until it dries before letting your dog go outdoors. This is important because some ingredients like hot pepper can be irritating to the skin and eyes.
  • Water sprinkler repellents – This harmless deterrent simply frightens off animals using a stream of water. The motion activated sprinkler repellent system senses animal movement up to 35 feet away. There are no chemicals and nothing to clean up because this system relies on the most natural substance in the world – water.
  • Ultrasonic animal repellents – This type of animal repellent scares away unwanted animals, including dogs, by emitting ultrasonic waves and flashing LED lights. This eco-friendly repellent is harmless to animals, humans and the environment. Simply hang it on a fence or wall, or plug it into the ground.

Homemade Dog Digging Repellents

While you have a large selection of dog digging repellents available in the marketplace, you want to be careful about using any products that contain chemicals that can harm your dog. A better option may be making your own dog digging repellent at home. Here are a few homemade dog digging repellents you can try:

  • Cayenne spray – Add one part cayenne to 10 parts water and spray the liquid mixture over the problem areas on your lawn. Do not make the mixture too concentrated as cayenne can harm your dog’s sensitive nose and irritate the eyes, nose and throat.
  • Your dog will stay away from areas treated with this mixture so that it will not irritate his delicate senses.
  • Vinegar – Dogs have very sensitive noses and they will not forget the locations of irritating substances. Dogs hate the smell of vinegar. You can soak cotton balls in vinegar and spread them over the problem areas. Just be careful not to spray vinegar directly over your plants or grass as it will kill them.
  • Essential oils – Essential oils like eucalyptus, cinnamon or sour apple can be mixed with water and sprayed over areas where you do not want your dog to go.
  • Chili powder – Chili pepper is a very effective dog repellent. The capsicum in the pepper is very irritating to the area around the dog’s nose. Sprinkle some chili powder around your plants or problem areas of the lawn. This will deter your dog from digging in that area.
  • Ammonia – The smell of ammonia is a powerful dog digging deterrent. Soak cotton balls in ammonia and place them in problem areas to keep your dog away. If your dog is digging along the fence line, soak some wood chips in ammonia and place the wood chips all along the fence line. The wood will hold the scent of the ammonia for quite a while. Eventually, your dog will associate the fence with the smell of ammonia and will give up digging there.
  • Citrus – Cut citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes and spread them around in problem areas to keep your dog away.
  • Dog poop – If your dog is digging in your yard, place his poop in the problem areas.
  • Dogs do not like to dig their poop out, and they will stop visiting that area to dig. Once your dog’s interest in this spot has faded you can discard the poop and fill the hole with soil.

To learn more about digging behavior in dogs, go to How to Stop a Dog from Digging.

Why Do Dogs Dig Holes?

Why do dogs dig holes? The most common reason for digging is boredom. Many dog owners underestimate the amount of exercise and activity a dog needs each day. For some dogs, one 20-minute walk each day is enough, but for some breeds, two daily walks are needed. Remember, if your dog does not get enough exercise doing acceptable activities such as walking, he will find other destructive outlets for that energy, such as digging holes.

When we ask, “Why do dogs dig holes?” we must also consider another very important reason. Some dog breeds are naturally predisposed to digging. It’s in their nature to dig. Breeds like terriers and dachshunds are bred to dig for badgers, so they are predisposed to digging.

If you have a breed that is naturally predisposed to digging it can be very hard to curb their digging behavior. For these dogs, try creating a safe digging zone where digging is permitted. Petition a section of the yard using rocks or boards. In this area, bury things your dog will want to dig up, like treats and bones. When you see your dog digging in that area, reward and praise him. You can even take the dog over to the safe digging zone and start digging yourself to show the dog that this is acceptable behavior.

While creating a safe digging zone is important, it is just as important to make the rest of the yard unappealing to your dog. When you are filling existing holes, try putting lava rocks or your dog’s stool in these holes about an inch above the surface.

How to Stop Your Dog from Digging Holes

Start by reinforcing good behavior. When you see your dog in the yard and he is doing appropriate activities, remember to praise him. When you increase your praise when your dog is chewing on a toy or getting some sun, you will increase the chances that your dog will continue to do these activities.

Next, you must make the yard less appealing to your dog. Try filling established holes with rocks, your dog’s stool or an inflated balloon. Dogs like to go back to the same place to dig again, so when he does, he will find it unpleasant. If your dog starts to dig in a new spot, continue to fill in those holes as well. But, it is very important that your dog does not see you filling in the holes. If he does, he will assume that since you can play in the dirt it is also acceptable behavior for him.

If your dog has centered his digging on one particular area, plant chicken wire about an inch from the surface. Even if the grass grows over the wire it will continue to be effective, making it uncomfortable for your dog to dig in that area.

If digging has become habitual for your dog, you should interrupt his digging behavior with a correction technique. It is important that your dog relates the correction to the digging, not to your presence, so don’t let him see you do the correction. You can startle your dog with a squirt of water from a squirt gun. Use a loud noise, an air horn, or a pet correction spray to stop the digging behavior.

Most importantly, be consistent. Make sure that the whole family remains consistent in deterring your dog’s digging behavior. Dogs like to dig, and it can be difficult to change your dog’s behavior, but it can be stopped with a consistent effort from you and your family.

Tips to Stop Your Dog’s Digging

Here are some ideas to help you put an end to your dog’s digging:

  • Give your dog more play time and exercise. The main cause of digging is boredom and lack of exercise. Your dog needs a way to work of his energy. For some dogs, one daily walk is enough, but some breeds will need two walks a day. Spend more time with your dog by walking and doing other activities.
  • Give your dog more chews and toys to keep him busy. If you want to stop your dog from digging in the yard, you must give him a distraction. Consider tennis balls, rope toys, treat toys, bones, and dental chews. Your dog may even respond well to a sandbox.
  • Help your dog cool down. In hot weather, your dog may dig to create a cool spot to cool off. Make sure there is a safe shady area in your yard where your dog can stay cool.
  • Designate an area of the yard for acceptable digging and discourage your dog from digging in off-limits areas. You may want to use a sandbox as a safe digging area, or use rocks or edging to create a safe digging area in your yard. Praise your dog when he digs in this area and use deterrents to keep him from digging in unacceptable areas of the yard.
  • Add digging deterrents. Dogs like to return to the same areas to dig, so try to discourage digging in these areas by adding digging deterrents. You may want to bury deterrents with a strong odor or an uncomfortable feel to deter your dog’s digging. You can partially bury rocks or bury chicken wire just under the surface. Try putting citrus peels, cayenne or vinegar in that area. Plant rose bushes or thorny shrubs. Lastly, consider getting a motion detector for your sprinkler system.
  • Get rid of rodents in your yard. You may have gophers, rats or squirrels that leave trails or scents that will cause your dog to dig. This is especially common when the digging occurs near trees and plants. If you have rodents or burrowing animals in your yard, call an exterminator or use safe methods to keep animals away.

To learn more about digging behavior in dogs, go to How to Stop a Dog from Digging. (Link to pillar article.)

How to Stop a Dog from Digging Under a Fence

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.

Even a well-trained dog can exhibit this problematic behavior. If a dog gets anxious he may dig under the fence to get out. Your dog may try to escape by digging under a fence when he is bored. Or, if it is a male dog, he may smell the scent of a female dog and dig his way out under the fence to find a mate. Regardless of the reason your dog is digging, it is a very bad thing because when the dog escapes from the yard he can get lost or get hit by a car. That’s why it’s so important to know how to stop a dog from digging under a fence.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Your dog may be digging for a variety of reasons. If your dog is digging because of boredom, make sure that he gets enough exercise every day. Your dog may be digging to hunt down burrowing animals or insects. If so, you need to find safe ways to eradicate them. (Remember that toxic or harmful chemicals can hurt your dog.) If your dog is digging for comfort or protection from the elements, your dog may be too hot and perhaps he is seeking water. Make sure that you provide adequate shelter and shady areas in your yard, in addition to plenty of water and see if the digging stops.

Digging for Escape

If your dog digs under or along the fence, he may be digging for escape. A dog may try to escape something, to get somewhere, or to get away from something. Regardless of the reason, escape can be dangerous – your dog may get lost or injured when he escapes from your yard. Try to figure out why your dog is trying to escape and remove those incentives. Make sure that your outdoor environment is a safe and happy place for your dog.

Let’s look at how to stop a dog from digging under a fence. Here are some ways to help keep your dog from escaping:

  • Supervise your dog. Many times your dog will not engage in digging if you are around. If your dog starts digging while you’re in the yard, use training techniques to stop the behavior as soon as you see it. Try teaching your dog the command, “Leave it!”
  • Make a safe digging pit in your yard where your dog is allowed to dig. If he has a designated area where digging is permitted, he may stop digging under the fence.
  • Use a deterrent spray. Try sprinkling capsicum pepper, black pepper or Tabasco sauce around the perimeter of your fence, especially on the digging spots. While this will not work for all dogs, it may stop your dog from digging. Re-apply the deterrent every two weeks and after rainfalls.
  • Bury chicken wire at the base of the fence, with the shard edges pointed away from your yard. The chicken wire should stop your dog’s digging attempts.
  • Bury the bottom of the fence 1 to 2 feet below the surface of the ground.
  • Try installing reinforced ground fencing. This bottom fence includes upright rods that are spaced out according to your dog’s size. These prefab pieces are perfect for fencing that may have gaps at the bottom.
  • Place large rocks or cinder blocks that are partially buried along the bottom of the fence.
  • Place chain-link fencing on the ground anchored to the bottom of the fence.
  • Add shrubbery like roses to your fence line (thorns will deter your dog’s digging).
  • If you have a chain link fence, your dog can see through it and he might spot something outside of the fence that grabs his attention, causing him to dig. Put up a barrier that will block your dog’s view. You can buy rolls of plastic or other materials that can be threaded through the fence so that it will not longer be see-through.
  • An electric fence (also called an invisible fence) in another good digging solution. The electric fence will either employ a light shock to your pet’s collar or emit a high pitched sound that can only be heard by your pet. Usually the shock or the noise will cause enough discomfort to discourage your pet from going near it. While an electric fence is meant to cause some discomfort to deter your pet, it will not harm your pet.
  • Use an exercise playpen or dog gate to keep your dog safely contained in your yard.
    Redundant fencing may be used as a last resort. The double fencing creates an additional barrier for your pet.

If you must leave your dog outside, try installing a small kennel in the yard that is dig-proof. It may have buried fencing or concrete under the fence perimeter. To give your dog privacy, surround the kennel with shrubs and trees. This will help your dog to feel safe because he cannot see or be seen by passersby. To keep your dog entertained while inside the outdoor kennel, provide him with plenty of chew toys or food puzzles.

How Can I Stop My Dog from Digging on his Bed?

Dog digging bed – do you have this problem? If your dog is digging on his bed, he is not misbehaving. The behavior could be habitual, instinctive, or temperature related. When a dog is digging his bed it is actually called “denning”. In the wild, dogs will instinctively hide and sleep in areas that are comfortable and protected. They may dig holes in the soft ground to create a safe and comfortable place where they can hide out of sight of predators during warm and inclement weather. In the summer, a den can help a dog stay cooler, protecting him from the harsh sun.

Indoors, your dog may dig his bed or blankets. Dogs may also try to dig into their owner’s bed. This can be a problem as your dog’s nails can cause holes in the bed or blankets.

Here are some of the reasons for dog digging bed:

  • Your dog’s body temperature (too hot or too cold) – Digging the bed may be an attempt to create a cooler or warmer place to rest.
  • A desire to mark the bed as his territory – Your dog’s foot pads have glands in them that emit a scent that is unique to your dog. So when your dog digs or scratches the area where he is going to sleep, it allows him to mark that area with his scent.
  • An attempt to hide – Instinctively dogs dig dens to hide in, to help keep themselves safe in the wild. It would allow him to create a resting place that is comfortable but that allows him to be hidden from other animals. When living inside a home, this behavior is no longer necessary, but the instinct still remains and causes a dog to dig at his bed.
  • For a female dog, it could be an attempt to create a nest for her puppies – Whether they are pregnant or not, a female dog may dig to make a nest for her puppies.
  • For comfort – When we go to bed, it’s only natural that we fluff our pillows and adjust our bedding in a certain way. It makes us more comfortable. The same is true for your dog when he is digging at his bed. If the dog has arthritis, he may circle and dig at the bed in an attempt to help lessen the pain.

When living in the wild, dogs instinctively hide in areas that are comfortable and protected when they go to sleep. The dog may dig a hole to create a comfortable space to hide from predators. Digging a hole can also help keep them cool in the summer heat. In the winter, digging a hole will help protect them from the elements, keeping them warm and dry.

When a dog lives indoors, this instinctive behavior is still present. This can lead to your dog digging his bed to create a protected space.

How to Prevent Dog Digging Bed

Digging is a natural instinct for your dog – it does not mean that he is misbehaving, although it may damage bedding or floors. Because this behavior is instinctual, it can not necessarily be prevented, but it can be redirected.

To prevent your dog from destroying your bed, do not allow your dog to get into your bed (or only allow him access while he is supervised). Instead, create a designated spot for your dog to sleep and rest where he can dig and do as he pleases. You can use a dog bed, old blankets or rugs – or any combination of these items – to create a comfortable resting place for your dog. You can also use a box or an open crate as a designated resting spot. Encourage your dog to use this designated area to rest and sleep, giving him praise and treats when he chooses to use this area.

To help keep your dog off your bed, always keep your bedroom door closed when you are not there to supervise your dog. When you are supervising your dog and he jumps on the bed, shout “no!” as many times as necessary to get your dog off the bed. As you continue to do this it will teach your dog that this behavior is not allowed. If you allow your dog to go on your bed while supervised, shout “no!” when he starts digging to help deter this unwanted behavior. If you are unable to deter the behavior, you may decide to prohibit your dog from sleeping on your bed.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Why do dogs dig? Only by understanding the reason behind the behavior can you actually change the behavior.

There are many reasons for your dog’s digging. Some of the more common reasons “why do dogs dig?” include:

  • Boredom (they dig for entertainment)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Hiding bones or toys
  • Cooling
  • Breed disposition (genetically, some breeds are predisposed to this problem)
  • Hunting prey
  • Escape
  • Attention

Whatever the reasons for your dog’s digging, it is important that you don’t punish him after the fact. Punishment will not address the cause of your dog’s digging behavior – and if the digging is motivated by fear or anxiety, punishment will make the situation even worse.

If you try to remedy the problem but find that your dog is still actively digging, try to provide a safe digging zone where digging is permitted and teach your dog where that safe digging zone is located.

  • Use a sandbox or cover the digging zone in the lawn with sand or loose soil.
  • Make the safe digging zone attractive to your dog by burying items like toys for him to find.
  • When your dog digs in the safe digging zone, reward him with plenty of praise.
  • If you find your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior by loudly saying, “No dig”, then immediately take your dog to the safe digging zone.
  • Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive by covering them with rocks, dog poop or chicken wire.

Digging for Entertainment

Why do dogs dig for entertainment? There can be many reasons that a dog is digging for entertainment. Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • The dog is left alone in the yard for long periods of time without human companionship
  • They have no playmates or toys to keep them entertained
  • If the dog is a puppy or adolescent they do not have another outlet for their pent-up energy
  • The dog may be a terrier or other breed that is predisposed to digging
  • The dog may be an inactive breed who needs a job to be happy
  • The dog may have seen you gardening or working in the yard

If you want to keep your dog from digging in the yard, you need to help expand your dog’s world and increase their people time. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Take your dog for a walk at least twice a day. Getting enough exercise can help to deter problem behavior in dogs.
  • Play with your dog as often as possible using active toys like balls and Frisbees.
  • Keep interesting toys in the yard to capture your dog’s attention when you’re not around. Rotate the toys out to help keep the play interesting. Try a good Kong toy filled with treats or a good puzzle toy.

Hunting Prey

Your dog may be digging to catch animals that burrow in your yard. If your dog seems to be focused on a single area in the yard, this may be a sign of digging behavior that involves hunting prey. Another sign could be digging at the roots of trees or shrubs.

If you’ve got burrowing animals in your yard, try to make your yard unattractive to them. Use safe, humane methods to fence them out or to exclude them. Never use any product or method that could be toxic or dangerous to your pets or to other animals. Remember that anything that can poison wildlife can also poison your dog.

Digging for Attention

Dogs seek attention. Any behavior can become attention-getting behavior if the dog learns that he receives attention for it. And even punishment is attention. If your dog digs in your presence, or if your dog has limited opportunities to interact with you, he may be digging for attention. Ignore your dog’s attention-seeking behavior and give your dog plenty of praise for good behavior. Also, make sure that you spend enough together time with your dog each day, including walks and play time.

Digging for Comfort and Protection

Dogs find inventive ways to stay cool during hot weather. Your dog may decide to dig holes and lie in the cool dirt to cool off. In addition to staying cool, a dog may dig to provide themselves with shelter from cold weather, wind or rain. A dog may also dig in an attempt to find water. Here are some signs that your dog is digging for comfort or protection:

  • Your dog digs near the foundation of buildings, large shade trees or a water source
  • Your dog doesn’t have shelter outside, or the shelter is too cold or too hot
  • Your dog lies in the holes he digs

The best way to prevent this unwanted digging behavior is to provide your dog with the comfort or protection they seek. Provide an outdoor shelter and make sure it is protected from heat and cold. Make sure there is a shaded area where your dog can escape the hot sun. Make sure there is access to water inside the shelter and use an untippable bowl. You may want to set up a little wading pool for your dog to cool off in when it becomes too hot. Cooling pads and chilled neck wraps for your dog are also available to help your dog cope with the heat. Also, try bringing your dog inside more often.

How to Stop a Dog From Digging

How to stop a dog from digging? That is the question! When you look outside and see your dog digging, it can be infuriating. So you yell at your dog to stop – but he just keeps digging. Your once beautiful yard is now filled with holes thanks to your dog. So what can you do?

In this article, you will learn how to stop a dog from digging. It’s a common problem. Many dog owners have problems with their dog’s digging. Dogs can dig holes in the yard, or they can dig under fences. But it is important to remember that dogs don’t dig holes in your yard out of spite.

Digging can be a major headache for you, but digging is only a symptom of another problem for your dog. You will need to identify that underlying problem and address it before you can change your dog’s digging behavior. But before we find out how to stop a dog from digging, let’s take a look at why dogs dig.

Why Do Dogs Dig?

Why do dogs dig? Only by understanding the reason behind the behavior can you actually change the behavior.

There are many reasons for your dog’s digging. Some of the more common reasons why do dogs dig include:

  • Boredom (they dig for entertainment)
  • Separation anxiety
  • Hiding bones or toys
  • Cooling
  • Breed disposition (genetically, some breeds are predisposed to this problem)
  • Hunting prey
  • Escape
  • Attention

To learn more about this subject, go to How Can I Get My Dog to Stop Digging?

Whatever the reasons for your dog’s digging, it is important that you don’t punish him after the fact. Punishment will not address the cause of your dog’s digging behavior – and if the digging is motivated by fear or anxiety, punishment will make the situation even worse.

If you try to remedy the problem but find that your dog is still actively digging, try to provide a safe digging zone where digging is permitted and teach your dog where that safe digging zone is located.

Use a sandbox or cover the digging zone in your yard with sand or loose soil.
Make the safe digging zone attractive to your dog by burying items like toys for him to find.
When your dog digs in the safe digging zone, reward him with plenty of praise.
If you find your dog digging in an unacceptable area, interrupt the behavior by loudly saying, “No dig”, then immediately take your dog to the safe digging zone.
Make the unacceptable digging spots unattractive by covering them with rocks, dog poop or chicken wire.

To learn more, go to Why Do Dogs Dig?

How Can I Stop My Dog from Digging on his Bed?

Dog digging bed – do you have this problem? If your dog is digging on his bed, he is not misbehaving. The behavior could be habitual, instinctive, or temperature related. When a dog is digging his bed it is actually called “denning”. In the wild, dogs will instinctively hide and sleep in areas that are comfortable and protected. They may dig holes in the soft ground to create a safe and comfortable place where they can hide out of sight of predators during warm and inclement weather. In the summer, a den can help a dog stay cooler, protecting him from the harsh sun.

Indoors, your dog may dig his bed or blankets. Dogs may also try to dig into their owner’s bed. This can be a problem as your dog’s nails can cause holes in the bed or blankets.

Here are some of the reasons for dog digging bed:

  • Your dog’s body temperature (too hot or too cold) – Digging the bed may be an attempt to create a cooler or warmer place to rest.
  • A desire to mark the bed as his territory – Your dog’s foot pads have glands in them that emit a scent that is unique to your dog. So when your dog digs or scratches the area where he is going to sleep, it allows him to mark that area with his scent.
  • An attempt to hide – Instinctively dogs dig dens to hide in, to help keep themselves safe in the wild. It would allow him to create a resting place that is comfortable but that allows him to be hidden from other animals. When living inside a home, this behavior is no longer necessary, but the instinct still remains and causes a dog to dig at his bed.
  • For a female dog, it could be an attempt to create a nest for her puppies – Whether they are pregnant or not, a female dog may dig to make a nest for her puppies.
  • For comfort – When we go to bed, it’s only natural that we fluff our pillows and adjust our bedding in a certain way. It makes us more comfortable. The same is true for your dog when he is digging at his bed.

When living in the wild, dogs instinctively hide in areas that are comfortable and protected when they go to sleep. The dog may dig a hole to create a comfortable space to hide from predators. Digging a hole can also help keep them cool in the summer heat. In the winter, digging a hole will help protect them from the elements, keeping them warm and dry. When a dog lives indoors, this instinctive behavior is still present. This can lead to your dog digging his bed to create a protected space.

What is Puppy Depression (the Kind People Get)?

Do puppies get depressed? The answer is they can. Probably. But that isn’t what “Puppy Depression” is about when you search on Google.There are two types of puppy depression.

  • The Puppy is Depressed. The first type is when a puppy has symptoms of depression. Maybe they withdraw from family activities. They don’t spend time with their owners. They sleep more. They don’t eat, eat less or overeat. Learn more about this type of puppy depression.
  • The Owner is Depressed. The most common use of the term puppy depression isn’t about the puppy being depressed. The puppy is perfectly fine. Probably home tearing up the house and maybe having an “accident” or two. This type of “puppy depression” is about the owner being depressed from having the puppy.

Below we will address the type of puppy depression that affects people.

What is Puppy Depression?

Puppy depression, also known as the “Puppy Blues”, is a syndrome of depression that can occur to humans after acquiring a puppy. Some behaviorists create parallels from puppy depression to “postpartum depression.

Puppy depression can be a normal response from a substantial change in lifestyle. Some pet owners go from a relaxed routine with a clean home to a home that has been turned upside down. This is most common in homes that did not previously have a dog or in homes where there are adult dogs with a well-established routine.

One big reason puppy depression occurs is from loss. How, may you ask, does getting a puppy have to do with loss? Getting a new puppy can be an amazing time but it can also turn a person’s life upside down. They can cause the following:

  • Loss of sleep – by waking them up throughout the night
  • Loss of property – some puppies will tear up and destroy things
  • Loss of freedom – no more meeting friends for drinks or dinner after work. You need to get home to take your puppy out
  • Loss of time – time spent training, cleaning up after the new puppy, training classes, going to the vet, going on walks, etc.
  • Loss of money – having a puppy can be expensive. It is not uncommon for a puppy owner to spend over $1000 on a puppy without thinking about the fact that the puppy also needs vaccines every 3 to 4 weeks until it is 20 weeks old, spayed or neutered, microchipped, dewormed, fecal checks, heartworm prevention, or flea and tick control. This doesn’t even consider what if the puppy gets sick. You could be looking at vet bills for thousands of dollars. By the way – when you have a new puppy – this is the perfect time to consider pet insurance. Let them help you pay for the vaccines, surgery but also be there if you have a problem.
  • Overwhelmed with new responsibilities – getting a new puppy can be somewhat similar to having a new baby. You need to train, walk, feed, deal with accidents, be woken up at night and for some puppy owners develop a routine that they never had before.

For some new dog owners, especially puppy owners, it truly changes their lives.

How Long Does Puppy Depression Last?

Puppy depression can last from weeks to months depending on the puppy and the owner. Sometime it will last until some of the more difficult behavioral issues like housebreaking and chewing have resolved or improved.

Puppy Depression in People: Signs To Look For

Signs of puppy depression in people can manifest as frustration, annoyance, depression and can even escalate to the point where they relinquish their puppies.

A recent study suggests that dogs under the age of 1 year have been rehomed 3 to 4 times before they find their “forever home”. Some new puppy owners suddenly realize that they don’t have the time, their apartment is too small, they can’t afford the cost of care, and many more reasons.

How do You Treat Puppy Depression?

There is help. First and ideally, research the breed you are to adopt. This can help give you some guidelines on the care they will need. For example, Border Collies are amazing dogs but they need a job. They need to stay busy. If you give them the right opportunities, they will be very happy dogs. You put a Border Collie in an apartment where they are cooped up for 16 hours a day, they are likely not going to be a happy dog.

If you already have your puppy, it is important to know what a puppy can do physically and what a puppy can’t do. For example, an 8-week-old puppy can only hold his urine for 3 hours. A 12-week-old puppy can only hold his urine for 5 hours. If you leave a puppy that is 8 weeks for 8 hours – he is going to have an accident. Understanding what a puppy can and can’t do at each age is critical to understanding your puppy and avoiding problems.

How Does Dog Depression Treatment Work?

Depression in dogs can be difficult to diagnose but it is believed that dogs do suffer from depression. Depression can lead to weight loss or gain, lethargy, and multiple behavioral problems. For more information about the symptoms of depression in dogs, go to What are Dog Depression Symptoms?

How Dog Depression is Treated

There are many ways to treat depression in dogs. You can categorize most treatments as being either pharmaceutical (using drugs) or non-pharamceutic (natural or not using drugs).

Before you decide on a treatment, it is important to understand why your dog is depressed. Learn more about the causes of depression with this article Dog Depression: How to Spot it and Treat it. It is also important to consider your dog’s daily schedule, reasons why your dog might be depressed, evaluate what you are willing to do to help your dog, understand your dog’s overall physical health, consider your dog’s personality, and determine what your dog really likes to do.

Some natural things you can do to help dog depression can include maintaining a routine, providing consistency in training and rewards, spending time playing, interacting, and exercising your dog. Considering the benefits of getting another dog could be a good option depending on your dog’s personality.

There are drugs that can be used to treat dog depression. Many are the same drugs used in human medicine to treat depression.

Behavioral disorders in dogs are frequently the reason for veterinary visits. The focus of treatment should ideally be placed on training and behavior. However there are specialists working in the field of animal behavior that have increasingly adopted drugs employed in human behavior modification for use in domestic animals. Please discuss the use of any drug with your vet.

Pharmacological treatments for depression in dogs can include drugs such as:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac®) – Fluoxetine, also known by the brand name Prozac®, is currently one of the most commonly prescribed human drugs in the United States. It is use for the treatment of human depression, bulimia, anorexia nervosa (an eating disorder), obsessive-compulsive disorder, some sleep disorders (cataplexy, narcolepsy), panic disorders and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Prozac® works by altering chemicals (serotonin) in the brain that may become unbalanced and lead to depression and other behavioral abnormalities. There are several brand names of Fluoxetine including: Prozac, Prozac Weekly, Sarafem, Rapiflux, Selfemra, Prozac Pulvules, and Reconcile. Reconcile is the product made specifically for canine patients.
  • Paroxetine (Paxil®) – Paxil®, Paxil CR® and Pexeva®, also known by the generic name “Paroxetine”, is a drug commonly used for the treatment of human depression, anxiety disorders, obsessive compulsive symptoms, and post-traumatic stress disorders. Paxil® is categorized as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) which work by altering chemicals (serotonin) in the brain that may become unbalanced that leads to depression.
  • Sertraline (Zoloft®) – Zoloft® is another drug that works by altering chemicals (serotonin) in the brain that may become unbalanced and lead to symptoms. Zoloft® and Lustral®, also known by the generic name “Sertraline”, are drugs commonly used for the treatment of human depression. This is one of the most commonly prescribed human drugs in the United States. In dogs, sertraline is used to treat various behavioral problems including aggression, fear-based behaviors (such as storm phobia/noise phobias), anxiety-based behaviors (such as separation anxiety) and compulsive disorders (such as acral lick dermatitis/lick granuloma and compulsive tail chasing).
  • Clomipramine (Clomicalm®)- Clomipramine, also known by the brand names of Clomicalm® and Anafranil®, is approved for the treatment of canine behavioral disorders classified as separation anxiety. It has also been used to modify owner-directed dominance aggression in dogs. Some veterinarians have used this drug for depression.
  • Amitriptyline (Elavil®)- Amitriptyline HCl, commonly known by the brand name Elavil®, is commonly used for the treatment of separation anxiety in dogs as well as excessive grooming and occasionally depression.
  • Alprazolam (Xanax or Niravam) – Alprazolam, more commonly known as Xanax®, is used for dogs as an alleviant of anxiety and as a muscle relaxant. It is commonly used in dogs for storm phobias and has been occasionally used for treatment of depression.
  • Trazodone (Desyrel)- Trazodone HCl, also known simply as Trazodone and by the brand names of Oleptro® and Desyrel®, is used in dog with behavioral problems or various anxiety related problems including fears and anxiety related to veterinary visits and hospitalization.

Once you start your dog on drug therapy, it is important to understand that this will be a lengthy process (months). These are not drugs that you just start and stop. Side effects can occur and the drug may be stopped or reduced until side effects abate and lower doses attempted. Do not stop or start any medication without the guidance of your veterinarian.

How to Know What Option is Best For Your Depressed Dog

Natural treatments work best. The treatment that is going to work best for your dog will depend on your dog. What may work great for one dog may not work at all for another dog. The very best treatment is to identify what is causing the depression and create solutions to make it better. You can start with the natural treatments and move to drug therapy if that doesn’t work.

How to Know if Treatment Is Working

It can take weeks of consistent changes for some dogs to get out of their depressed funk. Improvement may come slow but is often a gradual change. The best way to know if the treatment is working is to see positive changes in your dog such they are more engaged with you and your family and doing things they like to do such as eat and play.

Articles Related to Dog Depression

Dog Depression: How to Spot it and Treat it
Is My Dog Depressed? How to Help Your Pup
What are Dog Depression Symptoms?
What is Puppy Depression (the kind People Get)?
Dogs that Lick Themselves – Understanding Acral Lick Dermatitis
Our Stress, Depression, Joy…Can Dogs Tell?
Not Feline Fine: Dealing with Feline Depression
Does Your Dog Need Anxiety Medication?

What are Dog Depression Symptoms?

Many dog lovers may wonder about dog depression and potential dog depression symptoms. There is a lot of news coverage and information about human depression, so if people get depression, why can’t dogs? In this article, we will look at the topic of dog depression and review dog depression symptoms.

Depression in dogs is much harder to define or document than it is in humans. After all, grief and sadness are normal human emotions but not emotions we commonly recognize in dogs. What can make understanding depression in dogs even more difficult is the fact that every dog can respond differently to any given situation.

Common Dog Depression Symptoms

The symptoms of depression can vary not only between dogs, but also between breeds and breed lines. Even dogs from the same litter can respond differently just as children from the same family can respond differently to a situation or stressor.

Signs of depression in dogs may include:

  • Withdrawn and less social – One of the most common symptoms of depression in dogs is withdrawal. This is a very common symptom of depression in people as well. Many people with depression will prefer to stay home and generally avoid interaction with friends and family members. An example of dog depression can be a dog that is less interactive or less engaged with the family. Some pet owners notice that their dog doesn’t greet them at the door or doesn’t sit in the same room with the family when they are watching television.
    Mike wrote, “My beagle “Rusty” started hiding in the laundry room after I retired. Rusty used to go to work with me every day and when my routine changed, he started hiding and not participating in family activities. For example, Rusty would normally be in the same room when I watched TV and he stopped. He just didn’t want to interact with the family as much.
  • Loss of interest – Some dogs that are depressed will lose interest in doing the things you know they love to do. It may be not playing with their favorite toy or that they don’t want to go for walks, or they don’t do their normal strut around the yard to smell everything.
  • Appetite changes – Some dogs with depression will have a decreased appetite or will quit eating altogether. Other dogs with depression will eat more as a way to comfort themselves.
  • Changes in weight – Weight loss or weight gain can be the result of the appetite changes. Dogs that eat more calories, will gain weight. Dogs that eat less will lose weight. Activity changes and sleep patterns will also impact weight gain and loss.
  • Changes in sleep patterns – Depressed dogs may sleep more and this can be seen with the less social behavior or by itself. Some dogs will increase their sleep by 10% to 40% or even more in some cases. On the other hand, some dogs will sleep less and become “restless”.
  • Anxiety – Some dogs with depression will appear more nervous. They will startle more at loud noises, seem frightened when company comes, and may be more restless in general. John D. wrote to me, “When I moved across the country, my dog Gus became anxious. He used to sleep through the night and all of a sudden he would be up pacing. He would bark at noises that never used to bother him.”
  • Behavior changes – Some dogs will change their routines. For example, some dogs will not sleep on the bed with their owners or in their favorite bed although they have done that for years. Alexandra wrote, “When I lost my job, my Jack Russell terrier that always slept in his bed on the sofa in the living room. He did this for years. Then all of a sudden she was wanting to sleep on the bed”. Sharon S. wrote, “When my husband died, our Beagle ‘Franny’ would pace back and forth. She would sit by the door as though she was looking for him to come home then pace some more. She seemed as though she couldn’t get comfortable or relax.
  • Loss of housebreaking behavior – Some dogs with depression may revert to earlier behavior and start having accidents in the house.
  • Self-mutilation behaviors – Some dogs may begin chewing or licking themselves. Some dogs will lick areas on their bodies such as their legs or paws as a soothing behavior. Some behaviorists believe self-licking behavior, also known Acral Lick Dermatitis, arises out of the confusion as a displacement activity. The self-licking behavior that can stem from depression can become ritualistic and compulsive.
  • Vocalization – Some dogs with depression will start a new behavior of barking or howling.
  • Aggressive behavior – A small minority of dogs with depression can exhibit aggressive behaviors such as growling, snapping, biting or fighting with other dogs.

Symptoms That Show if the Depression is Severe

All the above are serious symptoms however the dog depression symptoms that impact the health of your dog or have the potential to cause injury to you or other dogs are most important.

Is My Dog Depressed? How to Help Your Pup

At some point in a dog’s life, owners may ask the question, “Is my dog depressed?” After all, how do you really know? This is a time both veterinarians and pet owners truly wish their dogs could talk. We will focus this article on what you can do at home to help your depressed dog.

Signs That Your Dog is Depressed

There are many signs of depression in dogs. Symptoms of depression in dogs can vary from dog to dog. Signs may include withdrawing from family activities, playing less, and eating either more or less. Learn more about the symptoms of depression in dogs with this article: What are Dog Depression Symptoms?

It is very difficult to make generalizations as to how a certain breed, dogs within the same breed, breed line or even litter will behave.

Is My Dog Depressed? 6 Points to Consider as You Develop a Plan

If you have a dog that you believe is depressed, there are multiple options to help. Before taking action, consider his lifestyle, capabilities, and personality, and what really drives him.

Here are some important points to consider before developing a plan to help your dog:

  1. A Day in the Life. As you consider solutions, consider what your dog’s day is like. Is he in a crate for hours? Does he get daily exercise? Is he fed at the same time every day? Does he get petted? Does he feel loved? Is there consistency in what is expected from everyone in the household? Is your dog mentally stimulated or bored? Does your dog get to play with other dogs?
  2. Consider…”Why Your Dog is Depressed?” When developing a plan to help your dog it is important to look at the reason or reasons why you think your dog is depressed. Is your dog in a new home? Did someone close to your dog die? Did another dog in the home die? Did a child leave for college or start school? Was there a divorce? What changed in your dog’s environment? It is important to look at the underlying cause as you consider the treatment that will work best. Learn more about the common causes of canine depression. Go to Dog Depression: How to Spot it and Treat it.
  3. Evaluate Your Capabilities. Evaluate your time, environment, budget, and capabilities. If you believe your dog needs more play time and you live in a small apartment in the city, or you work long hours, a dog walker or doggy daycare may be a great way to provide more stimulation for your dog.
  4. Evaluate Your Dog’s Health. When considering a strategy to help your dog, consider your dog’s health. Does your dog have underlying health issues such as congestive heart failure or arthritis? Are there health problems that may impact your play or exercise plan for stimulation? For example, if your dog is a senior with health problems, going for a big run daily at the dog park is not going to be a good solution. Smaller frequent walks or intellectual toys may be a good option. Consider a plan that works for your dog’s functionality and abilities.
  5. Look at What Your Dog Likes. Does your dog like to chew on bones? Does your dog like to chase Frisbee? Look at your dog’s age, breed, and interests to consider what will give him the most stimulation and enjoyment. Or does your dog enjoy puzzle toys where they have to figure out how to get the treat out? Some dogs love to be brushed and groomed and others do not. For example, if you have a small dog that doesn’t fetch, more time at the dog park playing “ball” is not going to work. Consider what your dog likes and develop a plan to give him more time doing the things he enjoys the most.
  6. Personality Issues. Some dogs are more people-dogs (meaning they like people more than dogs), some are more dog-dogs (they enjoy other dogs more than people), and others dogs enjoy being with people and other dogs equally. This is important to consider as you evaluate what will work best to help your dog. For example, if your dog gets in fights with other dogs, then going to the dog park or signing him up for doggy daycare with other dogs is not going to be a good idea if you are trying to get more play time with your dog. On the other hand, if your dog seems happiest when playing with other dogs, then that may be the magic ticket.

Is My Dog Depressed? Tips to Help Your Dog

Below are things you can do at home to help a depressed dog. Based on the above things to consider, review the tips below to see what might work best for your dog.

  • Keep a Routine – Some dogs that are depressed have had a change in their lives. Someone dies, leaves, or maybe it is an entirely new home. If possible, keep your dog’s routine as consistent as possible. For example, if your dog has always gone for a morning walk and suddenly you went back to work and can’t do this, consider having a neighbor take him on that walk. If you move to a new house, things can definitely be in chaos. Keep as much of your dog’s routine the same. Feed the same food at the same time, etc. as much as you can.
  • Keep Some Things the Same – If your dog is rehomed, keep as much the same a possible from his previous home. A client recently adopted his mom’s dog when his mom died. We discussed a plan to create the best transition which included using the dog’s own familiar bed, collar, leash, kennel, blankets, food, and bowls. After the dog is acclimated to the new home, you can then gradually change some things little by little. This may not always be possible but when it possible, it can be helpful.
  • Play – One of the best things for depression is playtime. Some depressed dogs are bored and just under stimulated. If your dog is healthy, engage your dog in play. Buy some toys. Learn more about “What is your dogs play preference” to help you choose the best toys for him.
  • Exercise – A tired dog is often a happy dog. Just like kids, many dogs need to stretch their legs and run until they wear themselves out! If your dog is healthy, increasing your dog’s exercise routine can be helpful in treating dog depression.
  • Spend Time – Some of the happiest times dogs spend with their owner is just being together. This can be watching TV, being petted, belly rubes, or just sitting together while you read a book.
  • Talk to Your Dog – Some dogs enjoy it when you talk to them. Things as simple as talking to your dog in that voice that makes your dog wag his tail and feel special is enough to make him happy and can help with dog depression.
  • Predictable Feeding Schedule – Some dogs are food motivated. They want to know when their next meal is coming. Providing a predictable feeding schedule can allow some dogs to feel more comfortable and less depressed.
  • Clear Communication – Having a clear set of guidelines for your dog that is consistent across all members of the family is important for dogs to understand what is expected of them. Inconsistency can be stressful and cause depression. For example, if some members of the family allow the dog to get up on the sofa when they are watching television and another member does not, this produces conflict. Another example is someone in the home that encourages their dog to jump up on them and others reprimanded them for the same. Try to be consistent so your dog knows what is expected from them.
  • Consider a Playmate – Getting another dog is a great solution for dog depression for some dogs. Other dogs might hate the idea of another dog but some dogs truly love it. If you don’t want to commit to a full adoption, consider talking to your local rescue group and foster a dog. This allows you to see how your dog responds to a new dog and determine if it helps with his depression before making that full adoption commitment. Learn more about How to Introduce a New Dog.

In some ways, treatment of canine depression is really about lifestyle optimization. It is providing the optimal exercise opportunities, predictable feeding schedules, clear communication of expectations, and play time.