Is My Dog Suffering from Depression in Searcy, AR?

Have you noticed your dog acting differently? There can be many causes for a change in your dog’s behavior. Depression is one of those reasons.

Read our Searcy, AR, animal clinic’s (Liles Animal Clinic) article to read more about depression in dogs and what could be causing your dog’s depression.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a recognized mood disorder in humans. It can be mild or severe. Depression can cause feelings of sadness, listlessness, and worthlessness.

Depression can be temporary, such as when it is caused by a certain event like the death of a beloved family member. It can also be chronic, requiring medication and therapy.

Dog Depression Searcy Ar

Can Dogs Get Depression?

Just like humans, dogs can suffer from depression. However, depression in dogs is a little different than it is in humans.

Depression in dogs is less of a clinical problem and more of a temporary emotional problem. How temporary though depends on the cause of your dog’s depression. Dogs can feel sad and lonely. They can get the blues and can suffer from grief.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Depressed?

Unfortunately, dogs cannot verbalize their feelings. It is important to take notice if your dog is acting differently than usual. Some symptoms to look for include:

  • Loss of interest in toys they used to love
  • Loss of interest in activities they used to love
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Leaving food in their bowl
  • Ignoring playtime
  • Lack of energy
  • Constant licking
  • Sudden and unexplained aggression
  • Whimpering
  • Whining
  • Wanting or needing extra snuggle time
  • Hiding
  • Withdrawing from social situations
  • Increasingly destructive behaviors

The longer you have your dog, the better you will understand them. This makes you uniquely qualified to pick up on changes in your dog’s behavior.

If you start noticing changes in behavior, start tracking them. It helps to mark not only when these changes are taking place but also what is happening, where it is happening, and what is around you and your dog. All of this information will be helpful in determining the cause of your dog’s depression as well as the best treatment.

Causes of Depression in Dogs

Depression in dogs can be caused by a variety of things, just like in humans. Common causes of depression in dogs are:


Grief is the most common cause of depression in dogs. Dogs become very attached to their owners and will be greatly affected by a loss in their family. They can also become attached to other family and friends and can suffer a milder depression at the loss of one of these people.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can cause depression in dogs. Dogs suffering from chronic pain may become depressed. If you think pain might be the cause of your dog’s depression, try and alleviate some of the pain.


Trauma can cause depression, both in the moment and in the future. This can be a common cause of depression later in life for dogs that are rescued.


Abuse can cause depression. This can affect shelter dogs and dogs that have been rescued, even years down the line. If your dog does not have a history of abuse or neglect, it is possible that someone in their life might be abusing them. Try to notice if your dog is reacting to certain people or situations.


Abandonment and neglect can also cause depression. Whether your dog was abandoned by someone else or by someone in your family, they can react with depression. Since dogs are so attached to their humans, being abandoned can be especially hard.


An injury that prevents your dog from doing something they love can also cause depression. Being denied something they love, even if it is for their health, makes them sad. They do not understand why they cannot do the thing they love.

Social Isolation

Dogs are social creatures, so isolation from other animals can be a big risk for depression.

Insufficient Mental Stimulation

Dogs who are not getting enough mental stimulation can also become depressed. Dogs need their mind to be engaged, otherwise they can lose interest and become depressed.

Insufficient Physical Stimulation

Dogs who do not get enough physical exercise can also become depressed. Things like walks and play not only keep them healthy physically, they also release dopamines that are related to happiness.

Changes in Their House or Schedule

Addition of a New Person or Animal to the House

Adding someone new to the house may make your dog feel like they are less important.

A Move to a New Place

It can take some time for your dog to adjust to a new place.

Loss of a Person or Animal in the House

(see Grief)

A Change in Their Routine

A routine change is especially risky if you are lowering the amount of time you or someone in your family will be with your dog. For example, after summer vacation, when kids go back to school, your dog may suffer from minor depression at the loss of time, and separation anxiety.


Your dog may become depressed if you are sad or depressed. Dogs can tell what you are feeling and if they can’t help you, it can cause them stress. This stress can lead to their own depression.

Helping with Depression in Dogs

The first step to helping your dog with depression is to determine the cause of their depression.

Helping with Grief

To help your dog with grief, spend extra time with them. Play with them. You can set up play dates for them.

Helping with Chronic Pain

 Treatment for the pain is the first step. After that, trying to distract your dog from the pain can help. If the pain is due to arthritis, you can set things up in your house to make things easier for your dog.

Helping with Trauma

 If your dog is depressed due to past trauma, the best thing you can do for them is to give them love. Encourage them to play with you and other pets. You can set up play dates or invite friends over who your dog likes.

Helping with Abuse

If your dog is depressed due to past abuse, the first step is to offer them love and patience.

If you are unaware of any abuse in your dog’s history, try and determine if someone in your life might be the cause.

Helping with Abandonment

If your dog’s depression is motivated by abandonment, it is important to give them love and patience. Try to give them as much attention as possible. It is also important to make sure you set a schedule so that they understand when you will be home and when you will be gone.

Helping with Injury

If your dog’s depression is caused by injury, you need to help them feel loved and safe. Medicine to help treat any pain related to injury can help.

Helping with Social Isolation

If you only have one dog, it is important to make sure they have plenty of play dates with other dogs. Another option is to make sure you have someone who visits your dog during the day.

Helping with Insufficient Mental Stimulation

Depression caused by insufficient mental stimulation can be treated with games and training. Train your dog with treats and positive reinforcement.

Helping with Insufficient Physical Stimulation

Depression caused by physical stimulation can be treated with walks and games that get your dog moving.

Helping with Changes in Their House or Schedule

Addition of a New Person or Animal to the House

Slowly introduce anyone new to your life to help prevent depression.

A Move to a New place

Try to introduce your dog to the new place before you leave the old place. Spend extra time with your dog right after the move. Set up a special spot for your dog in the new place.

Loss of a Person or Animal in the House

(see Grief)

A Change in Their Routine

If you know a change in routine will be coming, you can start by slowly introducing it. For instance, if your dog is used to you being home on the weekend, but you will be starting to work on the weekend.

First, start by leaving the house on the weekend at about the time you would when working. Talk to your dog, telling them you will be back soon. Leave for a few hours. When you get back act like you usually do when you get home from work.


If they are suffering from depression because of empathy, then playing with them can help. Playing with them will not only help them, but will also help you.

Reach Out to Our Searcy, AR, Veterinarian if You Need Assistance with Your Dog’s Depression

Dogs can suffer from depression, although their depression is not the same as that of humans. Spending time with your dog and offering them love and affection is a key step in helping them move past their sadness.

If you need further assistance with helping your dog manage their depression, reach out to our Searcy, AR, animal clinic by giving us a call at (501) 268-5381.

About Us

Thank you for choosing Liles Animal Clinic as your pet's veterinarian in Searcy, AR. We are committed to providing exceptional veterinary care from your pet’s first days to their final moments. Our veterinary clinic facilities have been designed to assist us in providing routine preventive care for healthy pets, early detection diagnostics for aging pets, and complete medical and surgical care for pets at all life stages.