9 Warning Signs of an Unhappy Dog

Just like humans, dogs can certainly go through periods of feeling blue. Unlike humans, however, they can’t communicate it as easily. Luckily, there are a number of behavioral indications of doggy melancholy—we just have to know what they are so we can look out for them.

Low mood in dogs can be caused by a number of things, from a stressful move to the loss of a loved one. It can even be caused by something as simple as boredom.

Integrative wellness veterinarian Dr. Karen Shaw Becker notes that “when a vet or veterinary behaviorist describes a patient as depressed, the dog is displaying a change in normal behavior.” While “normal” is generally a spectrum, if you notice a shift from what is typical of your pet, the cause could be emotional.

It’s important to note that many of these behaviors can also be indicative of other physical problems, so it can be helpful to rule out other issues. A veterinarian can give a professional assessment and offer treatment for the problem at hand.

Here are some common warning signs that may indicate a dog is unhappy:

 Change in Appetite:

Having little to no interest in food can be an indication that a dog is unhappy. On the other hand, unhappy dogs may also choose to increase their food intake, as food can serve as a comfort to them. Whether it’s an increase or decrease in appetite, any change can be a clue about a pet’s state of mind. A change in eating habits can also result in a change in weight, so if you notice your pet has lost or gained a few pounds, it could be a sign they’re feeling down.

Sleeping Too Much or Too Little:

Dogs sleep more often than humans do, averaging 12 hours a day, according to the American Kennel Club. However, if you notice an uptick in your pet’s sleep habits, it could be a sign that they’re unhappy.

Conversely, insomnia can indicate the same thing, so regardless of the amount of sleep they’re getting, if it’s significantly more or less than usual, it could be a sign that they’re feeling blue. It’s important to note that insomnia can also be caused by physical pain, so make sure to rule that out if your pet is having trouble sleeping.

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