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10 Telltale Signs Your Dog is Unhappy

July 31, 2017

10 Telltale Signs Your Dog is Unhappy

Dogs are often called “man’s best friend,” and we can attribute that to a variety of reasons. But the truth is that many people adore dogs because they are overwhelmingly friendly, happy, and compassionate creatures. Their joy is contagious, and makes us feel good!

So, it might come as a surprise to hear that dogs are also capable of feeling depressed, just like us humans. And unfortunately, dog depression isn’t as recognizable as human depression (which is notable for being difficult to diagnose), making it difficult to try to turn your dog’s proverbial frown, upside-down.

That said, there are some telltale signs that your dog is unhappy:

  1. A change in appetite

    Just like their human counterparts, when your dog’s appetite dramatically changes and they’re eating way more (or less) than usual, there may be something wrong. Likely environmental stress, or physical discomfort.

  2. They don’t want to play



    If your dog doesn’t want to play with you every once and a while, it isn’t the end of the world. Prolonged fatigue or disinterest, however, can be a telltale sign that your pet is physically uncomfortable (possibly in pain) and should be checked out immediately.

  3. Unexpected game of hide-and-seek

    While this sign might sound like fun, if your dog is trying to not be seen, they are trying to communicate that they are injured, sick, or depressed.

  4. Drastic weight gains (or loss)



    Gaining or losing weight rapidly is unhealthy for any creature, and if this starts to happen to your dog, seek professional advice from a veterinarian immediately. This behavior could be a sign of stress, sickness, or display about the quality of the food provided.

  5. They avoid eye contact

    If your dog won’t look you in the eye (which is not always a bad thing – it can sometimes be shown as a challenge to them), or is frequently squinting, they may be sick or depressed. It is the most basic sign of lethargy or a lack of energy.

  6. Excessive fur shedding

    A stressed out dog has the tendency to shed a lot – so much, in fact, that they may have bald spots on their body. If this is the case, seek advice from a veterinary professional!

  7. Sleepless days and nights

    Sleepless dog

    Everyone needs to sleep. Even your dog! If your dog is having trouble sleeping, or is sleeping far too often when you’re around, this may be a telltale sign that your dog is unwell.

  8. Licking / chewing on themselves

    Often considered to be a sign of fleas or physical irritation, a dog excessively licking or chewing on themselves may actually be stressed out or depressed.

  9. More aggressive tendencies

    If your dog is acting out far more often in an aggressive manner, they are clearly unhappy. Comforting them with their favorite food, treats, or play can help to verify whether they are being more aggressive due to sickness or injury, or if it is from depression.

  10. Constant pacing around the house

    Signs of being antsy, like pacing around the house, are a pretty common sign of boredom and depression. (For both humans and dogs!) Try to take them out for a walk or play!

What have you noticed your dog doing when you think they’re unhappy?

We’ve said it before: your pet’s body language says a lot about how they are feeling. If you are noticing that your dog is unhappy and your efforts to reverse this behavior isn’t working, it might be a good idea to speak with your veterinarian and see if a check-up is needed.

Your dog’s happiness is important – make sure that you are doing everything that you can to help them live their lives to the fullest!





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