Depression signs in dogs everyone should be aware of

Posted August 29, 2016

Ever wondered if your dog is depressed? Check for these few signs. (Deseret Photo)

March, a sweet pit bull mix staying with the Animal Care & Control Team of Philadelphia (ACCT Philly), was destined to be adopted by a kind and loving family but at the last minute was rejected the opportunity to live in a happy home.

ACCT Philly is a high-intake shelter that is forced to euthanize rescue animals after a certain period of time if they are not adopted. March was nearing the end of his stay at the shelter when his bid to be saved fell through.

The days following March’s disappointing rejection, the light behind his once bright eyes began to draw closed and distant. Caretakers would find him curled in a fetal position in the corners of the room each time they entered. He shuddered when individuals would open his kennel to play with him. The once energetic pup turned depressed and sick at the feeling of being unwanted and unloved.

Local news personality Dawn Timmeney, an avid dog lover, caught word of March’s story and took to social media to raise awareness of this sweet dog’s depression. His story quickly went viral in local and national news sources, letting the nation hear about the reality of dog depression.

Lucky for March, a sweet soul caught word and decided to help the dog find happiness once again. A local rescue team called to pick March up from the shelter later that afternoon.

March’s energy and love for life was returned once surrounded by loving caregivers, all thanks to a kind soul that recognized the signs of depression and decided to take action.

Do you ever wonder if your own dog suffers from acute symptoms of depression? If you do, look for the following signs in your furry friend.

Change in appetite

When your dog experiences a traumatic experience or a rush of sadness, their interest in food will decrease or increase significantly. Pay attention to see if your pet experiences a noticeable change in appetite as a signal of emotional imbalance.

Sleeping all day

It is normal for dogs to sleep a lot, but they tend to catch up on their sleep while no one is home to play with them. If your pet continues to snooze even when you are home or does not pay attention to you something is likely upsetting them.

No more play time

If your dog suddenly loses interest in playing catch, gnawing on their favorite toy, going for walks around the neighborhood or avoids doing things they once loved, check for signs of emotional turbulence.


If your dog runs away from you, hides in a closet or stays under the kitchen table for hours at a time, this typically indicates your pup has an illness or injury.

Paw licking

A puppy that constantly licks his paws or forearms is exhibiting signs of physiological or psychological issues. Excessive licking is used by depressed dogs to self-soothe and comfort in times of distress.

Your furry friend may not be able to tell you when there is something wrong, but there are significant signs that owners can recognize; if you see these signs, you can take steps to help your pup feel joy once again.

Hannah Rose is a story-telling enthusiast that finds joy in sharing insights and human experience. Connecting the world through written verse is a passion that drives her to pursue her journalistic endeavors.


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