How do I know if my dog is depressed?

Last Updated on 2021-05-03 by Admin

Once Annie’s wound healed from spaying, I noticed that she was no longer stubborn. I drastically reduced the length of her walks because of her knee. She has a torn ligament. But we still went out with her five times a day for short walks. I also took her to a park where she could sit in the grass for variety. Her interests peaked when she saw other dogs or people.

Food had almost become an obsession. As time went by, Annie got more lethargic. She was not interested in us and instead went to her crate. She no longer would lay beside me on the floor when I went to bed.

My wife has been sick for a few months. And I had lots to do and had less time for Annie. In the mornings, we still went for our walks, much shorter because of her torn ligament. Annie no longer would come and give me a nudge with her nose to wake me in the morning. In the evening, it was hard to get Annie interested for her last walk of the day. Initially, I thought that maybe she was in pain. But she did not behave like other times when she was in pain. To be safe, I reduced her walking time further.

How do I know if my dog is depressed?

As I watched my Annie get more depressed, I worried that something was wrong with her. She spent more time alone. Annie often ignoring us and just went to her crate. The only interest she had was food.

I know my dog is depressed when she is sluggish, no urgency to go for a walk, lack of interest in play.

To address the depression, I spend more time in the morning playing and massaging her leg. There was not much that got her cheered up. Because of her knee, we were not able to bring her to doggie daycare. She could not go to the field and run with other dogs.

When all is well again in Annie’s world

One day last week, my wife felt better. Annie had measurements taken for a knee brace. She got lots of attention from both of us as we tried to have her move into position to take the measurements. Annie had a good day, the first in about two months. The next day she came and woke me at 5:30 am with a nudge with her head. As I pet her from the bed, the whole dog was shaking. My happy Boxer girl I remembered from months ago was back.

Happily, Annie and I went for our walk, as if she could read my mind, she went the way that I had planned. I walked to a big sandhill that Annie loves to climb. From there, we sat beside one another, and in the dark and watched the activity of various small animals. Annie showed interested in the cat hunting in the field. Then her attention went to a skunk under a tree.

Her spirit is back to normal. I hope it stays that way. During my research, I came across an interesting article called “Man’s best friend: Study shows dogs can recognize human emotions.” Currently, that is the only explanation I have for Annie’s depression.


Annie is a compassionate dog, more so than other dogs I know. She loves people and dogs. I hope Annie was depressed because of the environmental changes, and not some other health issue.

The changes Annie experienced are:

  • Less social activity with other dogs because of the knee issue
  • Food reduction of about 50 % because of less activity
  • Not allowed to Jump, pull or go on long walks like she used to
  • Less social activity because of COVID-19, people don’t want dogs to come close to them. They also don’t want to pet Annie
  • My wife was sick, causing Annie some stress. She knows that something is not right
  • Less attention received because of circumstances beyond here control
  • Me being worried, she can sense that
  • Knee pain, because of torn ligament

Looking a the itemized list above, it somehow does not seem hard to imagine that she got depressed.

When Annie is not herself under normal circumstances, a day or two at the doggie daycare makes her happy. But with her torn ligament, that is not an option.

Update: 2020-10-12

Since Annie wears a leg brace she is much better. So pain must have been a big part why she was depressed. Something that I must have underestimated. Dogs can hide pain incredibly well. I know when my dog is depressed when she has multiple symptoms that I mentioned earlier.

Update: 2021-01-11

Annie has been on joint supplements for a long time. But the latest supplement that I came across really has an amazing affect on Annie’s mood, energy and overall quality of life. If this is something that needs addressing with Your dog, please read my article called Joint supplements that work. The supplement does much more then address joint issues. Wish I had knows about the NuPro Supplement earlier.


A man’s best friend: Study shows dogs can recognize human emotions

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