While dogs can’t tell you exactly what they’re feeling, they can still show behaviors similar to human depression. If your vet has ruled out other health conditions, you might have a case of doggie depression on your hands.
What should you do?
Before you blame your dog’s behavior on depression, its vet will need to do a full checkup to rule out any other health issues that could be bringing your dog down, like pain or a thyroid problem. For instance, look for these 11 symptoms of dog arthritis. If everything else checks out, your vet will likely recommend giving your dog more exercise, a healthier diet, and extra attention to lift your pet’s spirits. As a last-ditch effort, a vet might prescribe one of the same depression medications humans would use, such as Prozac or Zoloft. “We don’t want all our dogs walking around on Zoloft if we don’t have to, and oftentimes we don’t need to,” says Dr. Nelson. “But if giving that little something to take the edge off helps them live a more comfortable life, there’s no shame in that game.”