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Question
Posted by: Smiley | 2005/12/14

Do dogs get depressed?

Maybe this is just my conscience but I think my one dog is depressed? She never seem to have that spark in her eye and the happy look on her face?

Problem is - I don't know if this is just personality? She was born in an animal shelter - I got her at about age of a year old. She doesn't fool around or get into a playfull mood often, the other dog who older sometimes fools around with her but she doesn't always respond (they were in the shelter together).

She is very gentle, but barks at strangers etc but the rest of the time she just snoozes or lies on the couch looking at me for what seems like ages!

I don't have a huge backyard but they have enough space to run around & throw a few curves in. I also leave fluffy toys out which they tear to pieces over the space of 3 months.

Is my dog just a serious 'person' or can they get depressed?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Different dogs obviously have different personalities. Some dogs are more boisterous and others will be more quiet. It is important to note any change in behaviour as this may indicate illness. Therefore, a dog that is usually boisterous but then loses that spark should be evaluated by your veterinarian for signs of underlying illness. If you're not sure about this particular dog, take it in for a thorough examination by your veterinarian to put your mind at ease.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

2
Our users say:
Posted by: :) | 2005/12/14

I recently read this article and thought I should share with you. If your dog has always behaved in the manner you described, perhaps it is just his personality but there are options for you to consider. Best Wishes

"Do Dogs Get Depression?

Like humans, dogs do occasionally suffer from bouts of depression. They get mopey, lethargic, stop eating, and drink only minimal amounts of water, stop wanting to play, and even lose drastic amounts of weight.

What can cause this in pets?

Grief, change of scenery, or sometimes it is a chemical imbalance, needing medication to correct it. Even the weather can adversely affect a normally happy dog. Or your health.

As a pet owner, how do you fight an invisible, inner enemy? The first step is recognizing the problem. You've ruled out all the possible physical causes with help from your veterinarian, now it is time to start looking at the mental causes.

Has your pet recently lost a friend? Perhaps a neighbourhood dog he played with is gone, be it on vacation, or gone over the Rainbow Bridge, but gone nonetheless? Or perhaps his child grew up and moved out?

Losing a playmate, especially an in-home playmate is often a reason for canine depression. We may not notice it very often, but pets do grieve, and in some cases, especially concerning a violent death or even just a disappearance, dogs can grieve to a dangerous point, and it can be very hard to bring them out of it.

Slow deterioration and loss of initiative is a glaring clue that something is bothering your dog. If this is happening to your dog, you need to get right on it and start to make life fun again. Ask your vet about Anti-depressants available as well. Depression may not seem like it, but left too long and it could very well turn into a life-threatening physical condition.

Be sure to have all physical aspects of your dog's health checked out by a veterinarian first. While prescribing Prozac may perk your pet up a bit, it won't help one bit if it's Canine Coronavirus or Distemper that has your pooch in a slump. Those blood tests your vet mentioned could be crucial in determining the problem.

Once you and your vet have determined that depression is the cause, there are a few options. One is medicated therapy. That would be Prozac for dogs, or other veterinarian recommended anti-depressants. An increase in your activity level, or at least your dog's will also likely be called for. In cases of grief, playdates with other dogs or Doggy Daycare would definitely be worth looking into. If you are ready, you may even consider getting another dog. "

Reply to :)
Posted by: Lissa | 2005/12/14

Hi.,
All dogs have different personalities. it probably is just that she is a more gently/quiet dog. If you give her enough love and attention. she should be fine, she has a friend to be with and toys to play with.
Dogs can get depressed of course. but you are giving her everything she needs!
If shes not showing any signs of illness, and isnt sleeping irregularly then i would say thats just her personality. when she looks at her just make a fuss and pat her. we have two vrey different dogs, one very boisterous and one very quiet. who will play once in awhile but not as much as the other.

try and find that one thing that puts a spark in her, whether it be a toy, or a special time alone with you, or even a food and introduce it to her. everyone has that special something they love.

Just give her all the love and attention you can, i'm sure she's fine!
:-)

Reply to Lissa

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