Can dogs have depression

Can dogs have depression

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Can dogs have depression? Can a depressed dog be depressed?

A new study suggests it's possible. And it's a good thing, because if you're a dog, life can get pretty tough. We all know dogs are social animals. They're good listeners. They're loyal. They're cute and funny, and they have those great personalities. But life for a dog is also tough.

Dr. Karen Hofer is a veterinarian, certified dog behavior consultant, and dog trainer who teaches people about canine psychology and dog behavior at the Center for Animal Studies in New Jersey.

Hofer told Radio Sputnik that dogs have always had a close relationship with people and they've been in the human environment for at least 9,000 years. That's more time than many people have had to live with them.

The good news is that if your dog's behavior is becoming worrisome, a dog behavior consultant like Dr. Hofer can help. So here's what you need to know about what depression is in a dog, the signs of depression in a dog, and the treatment options for a dog who may be depressed.

What Is Depression?

Dr. Karen Hofer

"Depression is a term that we use to describe when a dog or a dog's behavior is out of the ordinary, and is not normal, for that time. Usually, we use the term when a dog's behavior is out of the ordinary, when that dog is not enjoying itself, when a dog is not interacting, when a dog is not performing normal behaviors. And these behaviors are ones that are usually seen in puppies, but can also occur in older dogs. And in older dogs, it can be associated with aging, with health issues that are becoming more evident. And also, with depression."

Hofer said it's possible that the problem can go back to the dog's family or to the history of the dog's life. If you were a young puppy, you may have experienced some kind of trauma and there's something about that trauma that is not normal in that situation for a puppy.

Depression is a behavior that we don't normally see in a puppy. But as you're growing up, it's common to see that. And it's normal to see some kind of sadness in a dog's behavior.

It's not just a puppy's sadness. It can be a behavior that occurs when the dog is just old enough to be retired from working. So if you see a dog that is not active, that is not interacting, that is not enjoying itself, then it could very well be that there's a problem with that dog's behavior, Hofer explained.

What Does Depression Look Like?

Dr. Karen Hofer

"If your dog is showing some of these signs of depression, then this can be a problem that's really hard to manage. And also, it's very hard to treat. It can be very difficult to pinpoint what's causing this. Sometimes it's the dog's home environment. Sometimes it's the owner's home environment. Sometimes it's the dog's owner, or it's the family environment."

"When we see this sort of behavior, we ask the owner or the family about the dog's behavior. Sometimes we see a dog in a family or a dog in an owner's home, where one family member is depressed. And this can be very confusing. And we really have to ask the owner, what's going on in that home? Is this depression affecting all of the family? Are they being kind to the dog?"

"And sometimes a dog might just not be getting the proper training. If the dog isn't properly trained and is not getting the proper training and socialization, then there's something really wrong with that dog's life. And we really need to look at what's going on in that dog's life. And the dog doesn't have any way to tell you that something is wrong."

Hofer said it can be tricky to tell if a dog is experiencing depression, because dogs may not show all the signs. You may find that a dog is being withdrawn or not enjoying himself, but it's hard to tell if it's sadness or if it's something else.

"So that's why we really have to talk to the owner, and we have to talk to them about their dog. And we have to ask questions, and we have to observe them."

Hofer said she works with dogs of all ages, and in a shelter environment, where dogs are not in the home environment for very long, it's often hard to see if the dogs have been socialized properly and have received proper training.

She said you have to really talk to the owner about how the dog is performing, and then ask yourself if the owner has been providing proper care for the dog.

Are Dogs Depressed?

Dr. Karen Hofer

"When a dog shows a certain type of behavior, there's many reasons for that. It can be due to many things, such as health problems, aging, and sometimes, when we talk to owners, we will find that their dog has had health issues."

"Sometimes, when we observe a dog, we'll see that a dog is not interacting with people and with other dogs. We've seen that it can be associated with many health problems that we don't know about, so the owner needs to know about their dog's health."

"Sometimes it's due to a dog's home environment. Sometimes it's a dog's owner that is not providing proper care. We're seeing many cases where people really need to do some homework and research about what is going on in their homes."

"Or maybe a dog is just not getting the right amount of training and socialization, and the owner is not providing that. There's really a lot of things that can happen, and it's important that we identify all of them."

When you find a dog that's showing a certain behavior, you should think about why that might be happening. What kind of issues can be causing a dog to act that way? Hofer said it's important to ask yourself a lot of questions.