Our expert says:
Yes, dogs can be depressed. However I think you need to sort out the physical problems first, as this would definitely affect the way your Labrador behaves. Treat her for arthritis or pain - ask your vet to assess this and recommend something. You can get her lite or senior dog pellets and then make sure you give her the right amount for her weight - minus a little as you want her to lose weight. Don't add anything to her pellets, unless it is non-fattening (e.g. grated apple or carrot, boiled vegies). Take her for daily walks in the early morning or evening when it's not too hot, starting with 10 minutes a day and working up to half an hour or longer. Try to get her to play or run around a bit every day - e.g. throw a toy for her to fetch. Be careful that you don't overdo this if she is overweight and has arthritis, as she may damage ligaments or bones. I suggest that she be allowed inside. To solve the odour and shedding problem you can sprinkle her with bicarb and give her a good brush every second day or so. I'm sure her mood will improve considerably if you do these few things.
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