Is my dog or cat depressed? What to look for and how you can help

Written by Pamela Hardman  | Published on: 1/21/2019

Not unlike their owners, dogs and cats can feel emotions too. They just don’t have the words to tell us about it. Sometimes a behaviour change can be triggered by a major life event, like adding a baby to the family or the loss of a loved one, or it can be triggered by smaller changes like a slight disruption to their routine or surroundings. Dog or cat sadness is real, but it’s different and less complex than human sadness.   

It’s important to note that any of these signs or symptoms may indicate a medical issue. If you notice any of the following behaviours, the first thing to do is make an appointment to see your vet.

Is my dog or cat depressed? Most common things to look for: 

1.    Vocal clues. Whines or whimpers in dogs and low-pitched yowls in cats can be one of the signs your pet’s emotions are off. Or the opposite could be true – a normally very chatty dog or cat may be more quiet or subdued.    

2.    Mopey or unenthusiastic behaviour around things they usually enjoy. Does your dog or cat have a favourite toy? They may be less interested in it than they usually are. Maybe your dog usually gets really excited when she gets to go outside for a walk but now, she seems apprehensive.   

3.    Not interested in food or treats. Dog or cat sadness can cause your dog or cat to lose interest in eating foods that are normally their favourites. Be careful with this one though because not eating is often the sign of an underlying medical concern.

4.    More fearful than usual. This one is especially present in cats. They may remove themselves from company and spend more time on their own. They may also be more likely to hide when new people are around.   

5.    Change in sleep patterns. Both dogs and cats may sleep more than usual. A change in their favourite nap spot may affect their sleep as well.

What to do to help your dog or cat feel happy again

If your dog or cat has a case of the blues, you can help them by giving them some extra attention.

·         Encourage playtime with their favourite toy

·         Take your dog for a brisk walk

·         Set up a playdate with a human or furry friend they enjoy

·         Offer a special treat

·         Lots of cuddles and patience

If none of these things seem to be working, it could be asign of a medical issue. Always take your dog or cat to the vet if there’s a change in their behaviour you’re concerned about.

Pet insurance can help with medical costs

If you notice something “off” about your pet and you find out it is because of a medical issue, Petsecure may be able to help with the cost of treatment and medication. That way, you can focus on your pet’s recovery, rather than the financial burden of vet bills. Learn what’s covered by Petsecure and get a free quote today