Symptoms of depression in dogs include withdrawn behavior, lethargy or changes in sleeping or eating habits. The symptoms are similar to those in depressed humans and are often easy to spot.
Change can cause depression in dogs. Moving to a new household, loss of a fellow pet or family member, introduction of new family members or lack of attention are common causes. A dog can sense its owner's feelings. If the owner is depressed over a long period of time, the dog may follow suit.
The first step to treating depression in a dog is to determine the cause. A dog often recovers from depression quickly if the owner shows it extra attention. Exposing a dog to activities and objects it likes may also help. The owner should not show anger toward the depressed dog or give excessive treats. This can make depression worse. As a last resort, a veterinarian can prescribe an anti-depressant for the dog. This includes the same type of medications that humans take for depression, such as Zoloft or Paxil. Dogs generally do not require anti-depressant medication for long periods of time, as some humans do. Treating the problem quickly is the most effective way to treat depression.