Yes, your pet dog too can get depressed

When Navarang Gupta, a businessman, shifted from Delhi to Ahmedabad, what he didn’t realise was that the change affected Charlie, his 7-year-old labrador, the most. The otherwise happy Charlie, lost interest in everything—his eating habits changed, he hardly bothered to go out for a walk and looked forlorn most of the times. Navarang pressed the panic button when one day Charlie could not even get up properly and he was rushed to the nearby vet. After a prolonged inspection, it was found that Charlie was depressed because of his change in habitat and was finding it difficult to adjust to the new situation. Just like Navarang, if you are worried about your canine companion, you should not miss these warning signs:
Change in appetite
Just like humans, the eating habits of dogs change when they get depressed. They might start eating less or more depending on their mood. Some may even stop eating completely. And such change in behaviour may lead to extreme weight loss or gain. Don’t delay your visit to the vet if you see these symptoms.

Changing sleeping habits
Dogs often sleep a lot more than normal when they are sad or depressed. Many pet parents misunderstand this as sign of lethargy and are often seen coaxing or pushing the dog to participate in physical activities. Be careful if your pet seems drowsy all the time and don’t wait to take him or her to the vet immediately.

Loss of interest
If your otherwise happy-go-lucky canine companion is no longer his former self, do not dismiss this as just a mere change of behaviour. Surprisingly, a dog’s change of behaviour when it is depressed is almost similar to how humans behave during similar circumstances. If your dog stops showing interest in activities which it used to love earlier, such as going out for a walk, responding to tricks etc., you should consult an expert.

Avoiding contact or hiding
Dogs are social beings and they love having company. In fact, your pet is the happiest when you are nearby and receive a pat on the back or a friendly hug. If your pet dog starts avoiding your or keeps for a hiding place when there are people around, it’s not a good sign.

What you should do
When you notice these symptoms, do not wait to take your pet to the vet. Make sure that these symptoms are not related to any physical ailments. After taking your vet’s advice, try to keep doing things which your pet used to enjoy on normal days. But avoid pushing or forcing it to do things. Be patient and attentive and make sure that your pet is surrounded by happy people.