Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Depression


When I graduated from college, my parents gifted me with a lovely Labrador that I named Pluto. They knew how much I loved dogs, but I did not get to do much of that in college because my apartment did not allow animals inside. Hence, when I moved into a pet-friendly condo afterward, I was surprised to see my new pet waiting for me in the living room, complete with a bow on its head.

Now, Pluto had been my companion for a long while. I initially worked from home, so we were together 24/7. Even when it’s time for bed, Pluto would pull his bed in my room and sleep there. When I got hired to become a manager for charity events, our closeness did not wane as the company let me bring him practically everywhere.

The problems started once I decided to change my career and become a full-time environmentalist.

Working Beyond The 9-5 Schedule

As an environmentalist, I would often need to hike, go to the beach, speak at eco-friendly conventions, etc. There were no issues about me taking Pluto to such events, considering most – if not all – of them happened outdoors. I merely had to sacrifice the commute as Pluto refused to stay still in a plane, so I would have to drive everywhere. Though I would often feel exhausted, it would all go away whenever I would see Pluto running around and playing with other people in my group.

However, there came a time when the organization I belonged to wanted me to spread the word about saving Mother Earth abroad. My initial inkling was to say, “Thank you, but no.” It would mean that I would spend a small amount of time at home. I was not worried about burglars or anything since my parents could check on my condo every day, but I did not want to be away from Pluto that long. If only I could drive out of the US and go to other countries, it would be fine. However, duty called, so I had no choice but to do it and leave Pluto to my parents.

My first environmental destination was South Africa. Once my parents assured me that Pluto would be well taken care of, I managed to enjoy my time in the foreign country and learn about their culture. In return, I reminded them of the importance of preserving nature as they increased their efforts in improving their lands. I was set to stay there for two more months, and I genuinely would have been fine, but then my mother called me a few weeks later, telling me that Pluto had not been feeling well.

I cut my trip short since it was technically an emergency for me. Though I only had Pluto for five years, he was still pretty old in dog years. When I reached my parents’ home, I saw him lying on his bed. I called his name, and he looked up at me, but he did not run towards me like he used to. In the next few days, Pluto barely ate or left his bed, so I called the vet and asked what’s wrong with my dog.

I brought Pluto to the clinic with my father since the dog refused to walk. It took the vet at least an hour before diagnosing Pluto with depression.


How does a dog get depressed?
Dogs can get depressed when their routines change, regardless of the reason.

Do dogs go into depression?
Yes, dogs go into depression sometimes.

Why is my dog so sad all of a sudden?
Dogs become sad all of a sudden due to various reasons, such as:

  • You have a new dog and no longer pay attention to the others as much as you did before.
  • You move into another location.
  • You alter their schedule.

Can dogs become suicidal?
No, dogs do not seem capable of becoming suicidal. However, when their owner dies, they may refuse to drink or eat anything, to the point of dying from starvation.

Do dogs know when you’re sad?
Yes, dogs know when you are sad, even if you do not speak the same language. Researchers say that it is due to emotional contagion sensitivity, which practically means that they can feel what you feel.

How do I tell my dog I love him?

  • Maintain eye contact with your dog and raise an eyebrow or talk to it. That is a sign of affection.
  • Rub your dog’s ears gently. Doing so signals the brain to produce endorphins (“feel-good” hormones).
  • Give a doggie hug by leaning into your dog or pressing your leg against their body.
  • Bond over fun activities. For instance, you can teach them new tricks or run together.

Do dogs know they’re dogs?
Yes. Studies suggest that dogs can differentiate themselves from humans and categorize themselves as dogs based on appearances.

Why is it so hard to lose a dog?
The difficulty of losing a dog comes from losing a living being that has given them unconditional love in their unique ways. That is especially true if they have been in each other’s lives for years.


Should I let my dog see my dead dog?
The answer here depends on how comfortable you feel in letting your dog see the dead one. If that’s cool with you, that’s okay. However, if your other dog died because of an infectious disease, it is best not to let your living pet anywhere near it.

Do dogs suffer when being put to sleep?
No, the drug that doctors use to perform euthanasia does not make the dogs suffer. It only takes seconds for the medicine to slow down the dogs’ breathing before eventually stopping.  They won’t feel any pain at all.

Where do animal souls go?
According to Hindu scholars, animal souls tend to go through the reincarnation process when they leave their bodies. However, instead of becoming dogs again, they become humans.

Will we see pets in heaven?
Yes, various religions claim that we will see pets in heaven.

Do pets have souls?
Yes, pets have souls.

What happens when a dog dies at home?

When a dog dies at home due to natural causes or a non-infectious disease, you may bring its body to the veterinarian or contact the local animal control. Either of them can dispose of the dog’s body properly.


Final Thoughts

I was glad to know that Pluto still had many years left in his lifetime, so he was not dying or anything. When I asked how we could cure his depression, the vet advised me to bring Pluto back to my house because he needed to follow the same structure he got used to in years. As for my traveling, the organization helped me secure some papers that would allow Pluto to go to any country. In no time, he became a happy dog again.

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