Depression is very serious mental and emotional condition and it doesn’t only affect humans. Animals, especially domestic ones, can also be depressed, but unlike people who can articulate their problems, animals are pretty much helpless on this department. That is why it is up to you as their owner (and a friend!) to spend quality time with your dog and notice any significant change in their behavior. After all, the whole point of getting a dog is joy and who can be happy when their loved one is depressed, right?
Dogs are very delicate and emotional beings, no matter how tough some of them look on the outside! They are very dependent on their owners and very attached to them, to the point that some of them even pick up their owner emotions. Being separated from their beloved human can cause serious problems. Any kind of trauma, injury, exposure to violence, loneliness, getting attacked by another dog or animal or even bad weather can trigger dog depression. In certain occasions this bad mood is just temporary and dog recovers from it on his own after a while, but if this lasts a bit longer, it is certainly a reason to observe his behavior and look for some help if he needs it.French Bulldogs are generally obedient, playful and have a strong “personality”. Some of them have more energy than others and they are more active, some are quieter and more introverted… After all, even dogs can have a bad day or be lazy from time to time, but here are some general symptoms that indicate your dog may suffers from dog depression:
Appetite problems. Very often when a dog is sad and going through some rough time, like losing his owner, pack member or a very close pet friend, he can lose interest in food and lose some weight. In some occasions, sad dogs soak their sorrow in food and gain some weight if that lasts longer.
Changes in sleep. Most dogs tend to sleep for too long when they are depressed. It is normal for them to sleep during night or take an afternoon nap, but if you notice them sleeping for too long even when you get home from work and your little friend doesn’t seem interested, it is a reason to be concerned. Some dogs have trouble sleeping when depressed, but this is not so often the case.
Losing interest. If your Frenchie no longer looks forward to things that used to make him happy, like going for a walk, favorite toy, food he used to love or playing with you and has generally become less active, he is probably depressed.
Licking his paws. Some dogs do that to soothe themselves when they are in sorrow.
Hiding. If a dog that is normally playful and energized tends to avoid people and goes somewhere he can be isolated, he is most likely injured, ill or depressed. In this case, you should first make sure there is not some physical problem that is bothering your French Bulldog, and if all physical causes are eliminated, than he probably has emotional problems.
These are some of the clues for you, but safest thing is to take your dog to a vet. Only after you have eliminated all medical and physical issues, you can know for sure it is depression and then look for appropriate treatment.
Here are some things you can do to cheer your dog up and help him overcome depression (that don’t require a prescription):Spend more quality time with him. Play with him, take him for a walk more often than usual, take him to a park to play with other dogs or let him engage in some other activities he loves.Buy him some new toys, preferably one that will make him more occupied and distract him for a longer period of time.
If your dog has lost a pet companion, maybe you should get him another one.If you leave your fog alone when you go to work and you think loneliness is the cause of your dog’s depression, maybe you should consider taking him to a pet day care or hire a sitter who will take him for a walk when you are at work.
Give your dog some tome to bounce back, be patient and be there for him. Remember, you are the only person he can count on. If it takes too long for him to get back to being active, playful and his usual self, then you have no option but to take him to a veterinarian. He may need to do some blood analysis to eliminate medical cause of this condition and after that he may prescribe some dog antidepressant. This should help your Frenchie go through this rough period, but remember- love and patience is the best cure for all living things, especially your furry little friend!