1) Does not want to eat.
If a dog refuses his food, you know something is up! Dogs are known for their love of food so not wanting to eat is a sure-fire sign that something is off. Dogs that are depressed experience a decreased sense of hunger.
2) Does not seem excited about walks.
Depressed dogs might suddenly not want to go for walks anymore – not jump up and down when you get their leash, not run to the door or react when you ask “Who wants a walk?” Depressed dogs have a generally decreased sense of excitement and happiness and this might show in their refusal to go for walks.
3) Does not want to play.
If your dog stops to play fetch or tug-of-war, he may be depressed as well. Dogs are some of the only species that play even when grown up. If they suddenly stop, something is up!
4) Does not seem interested in people.
Dogs love people. Especially if you have a breed that is known for being extremely outgoing and friendly such as a Golden Retriever or Labrador, stopping to wag his tail at people or trying to solicit snuggles is a bad sign. Depressed dogs feel low and generally sad and uninterested about life and this may be shown in their reaction to people.
5) Does not want to play with doggy friends.
If your dog also does not want to play with his doggy friends, he is definitely depressed. Exuberance is a common sign of dog-to-dog play, and if it is missing, your dog may be depressed.
To help your dog:
First, make sure that he is in good physical health. Often dogs become depressed as a result of pain or illness. If your dog shows the above signals, take him to the vet to make sure he does not have an underlying condition.
If something has recently changed (a move, another dog of the family died, the schedule is different etc.) dogs may be depressed and confused. Make sure to keep your routine up as much as possible. Routines make them feel safe and secure.
Give your dog plenty of time to rest, and a comfortable and snuggly space to do so. Feeling well-rested and relaxed will make your dog much happier.
Plan an adventure outing. This can be getting him a vanilla ice cream cone at a drive-through, or going to the city center or to the park. Cheer him up with a fun activity!