15+ Signs Your Pet Is Depressed

By Sarah Jones 1 year ago

1. They Don't Eat Like They Used To

(Image/ Source: reddit.com)Is your dog or cat not eating as much as they normally do? A loss of appetite in pets could be a sign of depression, so it’s important to keep tabs on the situation. Try and keep a food diary for your pet to keep track of how they’re doing. And if you have any concerns, make sure you book in to see your vet asap so they can check your little floof over.

2. Lazy Levels Increase!

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We know pets love a good nap- just like their owners! But if your furry friend is sleeping much more than usual, or they appear lethargic, it could be a sign of something else going on. Keep an eye on them if they seem like they lack energy or appear unenthusiastic about things, as they might well be depressed.

3. Clingy Cats & Canines

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Animals – especially dogs – can demand a LOT of attention from their owners. But sometimes, your pet might end up needing more attention than usual, and this is pretty common when your little one is ill or depressed. Be sure to take your pet to your local veterinarian so they can investigate the situation.

4. The Way They Talk To You Changes

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What you’re looking out for here is any out-of-the-ordinary noises from your little furry friend. Whether they’re yapping, barking, howling or meowing, it’s important to monitor the frequency of these noises. When pets get depressed, this is one of the most common clinical signs that they show to their owners.

5. Furry Friend Gets Feisty

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Is your pet becoming strangely aggressive to you, other people and other animals? While pets can get a bit grumpy from time to time (just like humans!), random bouts of aggression aren’t typical. It could be a sign that something else is going on with your pet, so be sure to seek some advice from a professional.

6. Doing Their Business In The Home

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Most owners have got their pets potty trained, so your furry friend won’t generally be going where they shouldn’t be. However, this sometimes goes out the window with depressed and ill animals, and is a common sign of distress. So don’t be too harsh on your pet if this happens- it’s not really their fault.

7. Hide & Seek

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It’s quite common for pets (especially cats and dogs) to hide away if they’re experiencing stress or trauma. This happens a lot with dogs when they hear fireworks. However, it’s super important to stay vigilant with your pet at all times, as these changes in behavior may be a sign of depression or even PTSD.

8. Social Situations Become Scary

What Can I Do for My Dog During Firecracker Noise? | Bayside Animal Hospital | Bayside Animal Hospital(Image/ Source: baysideanimalhospitalonline.com)
If some animals are struggling with depression, they can often end up withdrawing from social situations. This is especially worrying if your pet is generally friendly and happy to meet people. Try and look out for specific things that might be triggering them, and talk this through with a vet if you can.

9. Dog Gets Destructive!

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We know there are some pets out there that are VERY cheeky and naughty. They scratch and bite furniture, and can destroy pot plants and ornaments at the drop of a hat. But if your little one is playing up a lot more than usual, or becoming destructive out of the blue, they might not be doing so well right now.

10. Playtime Is Over

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Most of our pets love to play. It gives them a chance to let off steam and interact with their humans, as well as their furry companions. But if your pet is becoming much more disengaged, and show little signs of wanting to interact or move, it might be time to take them down to your local vet or animal health center.

11. Anxious Pooches...

Is Your Anxiety Contagious To Your Dog? Here's What You Can Do - DogTime(Image/ Source: dogtime.com)
Animals, especially dogs, can end up with anxiety. If they are constantly exposed to stressful situations, they may tense their muscles, lower their back, and hold their ears back behind their head. This anxiety can go hand in hand with depression, so ask your vet to give your little one a thorough examination.

12. Licking Overload!!

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When pets get depressed, they can sometimes end up licking things a lot – including themselves. One of the most common signs is excessive paw licking, which can happen in both cats and dogs. If this is happening on a regular basis with no clear reason as to why, we’d suggest getting some advice from a vet.

13. Our Buddies Seem Bored

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Just like humans, animals can get bored sometimes. This happens a lot more frequently when we’re feeling down, so keep an eye on your pet for any unusual changes in their behavior. If they seem like they’re mentally checking out, try and give them some mental stimulation each day to keep them occupied.

14. Flattening Of Ears

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If your pet keeps flattening their ears to the back of their head, it’s usually a tell-tale sign that your furry friend isn’t doing ok. It can suggest anxiety and stress, but it can also be a signal of depression too. Try and keep tabs on how often your pet is doing this; if it’s on a fairly regular basis, be sure to get a second opinion.

15. Hyperactive Hounds...

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While a lot of pets can become lethargic and distant, some animals can go the opposite way. Random, out-of-the-blue bouts of hyperactivity can also be a sign of poor mental health, especially in dogs. Make sure you’re monitoring your pet as often as you can for any unusual behavior, as they may be experiencing stress.

16. Frustrated Felines

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As pet depression is pretty similar to humans, they will often share the same set of symptoms. One of the most common ones is a feeling of frustration, which is especially noticeable in dogs. So if your furry friend is less patient and enthusiastic than usual, it might be an idea to take them down to the vet for an examination.

17. They Become A Homebody

Why Does My Cat Look Out the Window? – petsKB(Image/ Source: petskb.com)
When our pets become depressed, they can sometimes lose their enthusiasm for going outside. While some dogs and cats prefer home comforts anyway, it can be a really worrying sign for those that generally love the great outdoors. Make sure you keep an eye on your furry friend to see if they’re doing ok.

18. They Neglect Their Favorite Toys...

My Dog Doesn't Like Toys" (Here's why!) - Kyle Kittleson(Image/ Source: kylekittleson.com)
Let’s face it- most pets out there will have a favorite toy! But if your little one is starting to show a lack of interest in their toys or teddies, you might need to start monitoring your pet’s behavior more closely. Keep an eye out for other signs of depression in your pet, and keep tabs on how long this is going on.

19. The Self-Groom Cycle

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Dogs don’t really groom, so you don’t need to worry about them too much with this one. However, cats are VERY big on self-grooming, but become less interested in this if they become down and depressed. So if your furry friend isn’t looking after themselves as much as they usually do, seek some advice from a pet professional.

20. Abandon Their Potty

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If your pet isn’t using their litter tray properly, it might be time to pay more close attention to them. Animals can struggle to use this as normal when they’re ill or depressed, so try and keep calm if this happens. Angry owners can often make the situation more difficult for the animals, so you’ve been warned!

21. Struggle To Snuggle!

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Is your pet normally the life and soul of the party? Do they normally like to make friends with other pets and animals? It’s great when our pets are social, but unfortunately, animals that are depressed shy away from these situations. They often prefer to spend time on their own rather than interact with others.

22. Pottying Party!

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While some animals tend to struggle using their litter tray when they don’t feel great, others can go in the opposite direction. Our pets may actually end up using their litter tray far more often than usual, which is typically a sign of stress, depression, or illness. Make sure you ask your vet for some advice!

23. Pets Paws...

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According to vets, dogs (and sometimes cats too) end up licking their feet a LOT when they’re feeling depressed. Why? Because it apparently gives them comfort, so they use it as a calming method. However, it can also be a sign of illness in your furry friend, so make sure you’re keeping tabs on them on a regular basis.

24. Stirring Up Your Slumber

Funny Cats Waking up Owner | Cat Alarm Clocks | Top Cats Video Compilation - YouTube(Image/ Source: youtube.com)
Sometimes our pets can wake us up in the night- and give us a huge fright while they’re at it! While this can generally be quite normal (especially in cats), animals that are starting to struggle with their mental health can end up waking their owners up far more often than usual, as they want comfort and attention.

25. You May Catch Them Creeping

Wallpaper look, dog, wardrobe images for desktop, section собаки - download(Image/ Source: goodfon.com)
If your pet keeps disappearing or withdrawing to odd places around your home, it may be a sign that they’re feeling sad or stressed. Common places include under beds, wardrobes and drawers. So try and bring them out of this sadness by playing a game with them, or giving them some comfort and attention so they feel more relaxed.

26. They Become Chunky!

New Jersey Fat Cat Tips Scales at 33 Pounds - ABC News(Image/ Source: abcnews.go.com)
While it’s generally more common for our pets to lose their appetites when they’re depressed, a few of our furry friends actually end up gaining weight instead. They may be eating (or certainly demanding) more food than usual, or not wanting to play or walk as frequently, which inevitably impacts their health.

27. Cravings Kick In

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When our animals start to feel sad, they go into comfort mode. Which means hugs, attention, and picky appetites. If your pet is craving certain foods, or will only eat certain foods at certain times, it might be a good time to get them examined by a professional veterinarian to make sure everything is ok.

28.Picking & Pulling!

Anyone know why my rabbit is pulling her fur?Super healthy not stressed and definitely not pregnant….. : r/Rabbits(Image/ Source: reddit.com)
Fur pulling can happen with all manner of pets, but is especially common with rabbits. If they’re sad or stressed, they can start pulling tufts of hair out of their coats, which makes it look like they’ve been attacked. This is a tell-tale sign that your bunny is not ok, as it’s classified as a self-destructive behavior.

29. Naughty Nibbling

In My Experience, All Dogs Can Bite - Petful(Image/ Source: petful.com)
We know all animals can bite- and some more than others! But you know your pet better than anyone, and if you’re finding that they’re biting more than usual (or trying to bite people they are normally calm with) it might be a good idea to consult a professional to make sure everything’s okay with your furry friend.

30. Pacing With Panic

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Have you ever seen animals pacing up and down their cages at the zoo? Well, this is a sign of depression in animals- and our pets can end up doing this too. While it’s much more common in cats and rabbits, your dog may end up displaying this behavior from time to time, so be sure to give your little ones lots of love and affection to help them feel better.

31. Use Your Instinct

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All pet parents will know their fluffy children inside and out, and you don't usually need any other symptoms to tell you that
you just know
something isn't quite right with them. Your gut feeling may be telling you that your pet is off, seeming sad or is struggling with something, even if they're not showing physical signs of pain.

32. Here's How They Let You Know...

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This might often be at what seems to be thin air, too. Your pet could just stand in the middle of the room and start softly whining, and not necessarily whining in your face to get your attention. You've noticed they're just being more vocal than they ever have been, with no real stimulus that you can see when they do this.

33. Staring Into Space

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Is your pet sitting on the sofa and staring at the opposite wall? Are they standing off to the side of the room and just staring at nothing? Not staring at you, but just looking across the room as though their mind is elsewhere? Especially if you've never really noticed them staring this much before.

34. Prominent Puppy Eyes

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Some animals, especially dogs, will have naturally 'sad-looking' faces, especially those breeds of dog with particularly droopy faces. But you also just know when your dog is pulling a 'sad' expression - when their puppy dog eyes are giving off extra levels of 'feeling sorry for self' and their whole face and head just looks droopy.

35. Random Rooms & Spooky Spots

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If this is normal behavior for your pet, then that's nothing to worry about - if it's not normal behavior for your pet, and usually they're cuddled on the couch with you, or at the very least in the same room with you, then it's a bit weird why they're suddenly doing this. Are they suddenly disappearing through the living room door only for you to go find them sat on the bathmat?

36. Following Your Path

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If your pet is usually very clingy or tailing you no matter which room you go, you might have noticed they're suddenly not making much of an effort to do this anymore. If you're walking around the whole house and they're staying in one spot not paying attention to you like they usually would, it might be a sign they don't have the energy to bother.

37. Walks Don't Wag Their Tail

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With dogs, no matter how lazy they're being any other time or if they're seeming 'off', you can usually count on them to get even a little excited to be going on a walk. You should expect them to walk with more of a spring in their step, or run laps if they're off the lead. So are they suddenly lacking interest at all for walks?

38. Suddenly Sleepy

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All pets will go through that stage in the day when they're winding down and act more sleepy, and older pets especially will sleep more often. But if this change is sudden and every movement they make just seems like a huge effort, or they're moving around in a slow and lethargic way, this could be a sign.

39. Cat Cuddles?

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While depression in pets might result in them being extra clingy with you and needing more fuss and attention, it could also go the opposite way. Maybe they're distancing themselves from you and minding their own business at the opposite end of the sofa, acting as though they need their space?

40. Nonsense Noises

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When you have a pet, you get to know the type of noises they make, and what each one means. You can usually tell their 'I'm hungry' whine and their 'take me on a walk please' bark, but are they suddenly making noises you haven't heard before? Have their whines gone more higher pitched, more urgent, or maybe they're making noises you didn't think were even possible?

41. Is Your Pet Grieving?

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If your current pet has recently had a friend, brother or sister that passed away, are they spending a lot of time in the areas that they used to hang out with the other animal, or maybe areas specifically where the animal was? It could be a sign that they miss them and they've become sad about the old pet no longer being around.

42. They Suddenly Don't Like Being Around Other Animals

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Has your pet always been a social animal when it comes to other pets, only to now act very grumpy or strange when it comes to being around other pets? This doesn't necessarily have to be aggression, but it could just be them lacking any enthusiasm or excitement when approached by another animal, especially if they usually play with them!

43. Or Other People

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Same goes for people - has your pet always loved fuss and attention from every person on the street, only to now walk right past and act as though they can't even see them? When people come round, do they should little or no interest in the person, and go about their usual routine as if the new person isn't there?

44. Putting Up A Fight

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Is getting your pet to go to bed usually an hour-long fight with them, trying to tempt them with treats or talking in a cute voice to try and make them stand up? Do you usually have to ask them nicely to quickly do a morning pee so you can start getting ready? And are they now just doing those things without bother and without paying you any attention, like walking straight to their bed without being asked?

45. Out Of Sight, Never Out Of Mind

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This isn't some fun game of hide and seek, and more that they keep going into places that you can't see or find them, or acting like they want to go out of sight. You may find them in rooms with the lights off, squished behind the sofa or the back of a chair, or maybe even when you're on walks they might sit behind a tree or go off out of sight.

46. Social Stress

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If you take your dog on a walk that has a bunch of other animals and people around, like a dog park, rather than a quiet country lane, are they acting more on edge suddenly? Are they acting like that's the last place in the world they want to be right now, when usually they'd be fine on a walk like that?

47. No Need For New Toys

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Not only is your pet not interested in their original favorite toys that they always used to love, you can't even entice them with a new one. If you've come home with a brand new toy, have they not even bothered to look at it or even sniff it, and just point blank ignored it? No matter what you do, you can't get them interested in any toys.

48. Always Alert

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They might not actually come and disturb you or try to get you to give them attention, you might just hear them pacing about, especially if you sleep in a different room. Do you hear them get up from their bed or the couch ten times a night, walk around a bit, and then go back to where they were? When usually they sleep straight through?

49. Stopped Scoffing...

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While lack of appetite - or even putting on weight - can be a sign, so is stopping eating altogether. In fact, this is the more worrying one. It takes a lot to make an animal not want to eat a single bite, so this is definitely a sign you should take them to the vet. Aside from depression, it could also be a sign of another health issue.

50. Excitement Is Extinct!

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No matter your pet's usual temperament or age, there's got to be at least one time they get a bit excited throughout the day, whether that's a tail wag when you get home, or an excited meow when they see you put their food down. But can you not even remember the last time you saw your pet get excited about anything at all?

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