Find your diamond
Find your jewelry
shape
carat
color
clarity

Can you tell if a dog is depressed?

Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
My dog- well, he (we) have been very unlucky in the health department. He was diagnosed with Addison''s disease as a very young puppy. One day he just didn''t want to eat/drink/move. I took him to the vet where they ran all the expensive tests and told us he didn''t have much of a chance because he had kidney failure. But luckily it turned out to be Addison''s disease which is very manageable. We give him an injection every 26 days and thats about it. The amazing thing to me was how many people voiced their opinions that we should have put him to sleep. This was AFTER he was okay again. Yes, the total bill was a couple thousand dollars,and we were poor college students, but he was okay and I felt it was our responsibility to help him if we could.

By the time Oliver was 4 years old, he began dragging his legs and we knew something was wrong again. An MRI revealed Disk Disease, as well as a tumor in each Kidney. We chose not to deal with the Kidney tumors because they were small and not causing any problems. There was nothing we could do about his disks because there is so much damage and the spinal cord is pinched. So Oliver has been very gradually losing the use of his hind legs. We have a wheelchair for him but it doesn''t get much use because it actually trains him to not use his legs at all. Lately, he is starting to lose control of his bladder and bowels.

Again, everytime I talk about my dog, people tell me to put him to sleep. They treat me like I am selfish for "keeping him alive." Okay, he doesn''t have any life threatening issues. If he was suffering, I''d be relieved to put him down. But he isn''t really suffering. He doesn''t seem to notice the difference and he isn''t in any pain.

But DH and I were talking tonight, and he thinks Oliver is depressed and is not the same dog as he was a few years ago. I just don''t see it, but I don''t know what a depressed dog looks like. Oliver sleeps all day, but he is 7 and a pug, and I thought that was normal. He can''t go for walks anymore or play outside. He''s never played with toys like other dogs do. The only pleasures in his life are sleeping on a warm lap, eating, and going on the occasional car ride (even though I can''t let him out of the car). So how do I know if he is depressed?
 

Haven

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 15, 2007
Messages
13,166
mia, I don''t know about depression in dogs, but I do know about loving dog owners, and you are definitely one of them.

I just wanted to send big hugs to you and Oliver, and tell you that it sounds like you guys are very lucky to have each other. He has the sweetest face ever (I''m assuming that''s him in your avatar.)

I hope you guys can help your sweet Oliver feel better, my guess is that he knows he is well loved and cared for, the sweet boy.
 

decodelighted

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2005
Messages
11,534
I''m not sure either .. but I wanted to send well wishes to you guys & your sweet Pug. Hope wiser, more experienced folks weigh in quickly for you!
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,324
On some level, I think a depressed dog doesn''t have it as bad as a depressed human.

But basically, if he doesn''t want to do things he used to like doing...

If he just lies around all day and sighs.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Date: 3/23/2009 11:44:02 PM
Author: decodelighted
I''m not sure either .. but I wanted to send well wishes to you guys & your sweet Pug. Hope wiser, more experienced folks weigh in quickly for you!
Ditto honey. I don''t know how to tell if a dog is depressed either. ((HUGS))
 

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
Haven- Thanks a lot, you made me cry! Well I''ve been crying on and off for a few hours now so I can''t blame you! We are trying our best but nothing is ever in black and white when it comes to our dog.

Thanks for the well wishes and kind words Deco and Gypsy!


Julie- That makes complete sense. I guess he isn''t doing things he used to, but I think it''s just because he can''t and not that he doesn''t want to. I also think you are right about it being worse for humans. I''m sure he''s not over analyzing things and probably doesn''t even remember when he could run and play outside.
 

scarleta

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2006
Messages
1,572
Mia: sorry about Oliver.Sounds like he has you and that matters.He is under the best possible care and he knows it.From my volunteering experience with dogs its quite noticeable if the dog gets depressed.
You will notice in his eyes, his behavior etc.He won''t be as happy to see you etc.
You should be able to tell if that is the case.My best wishes to you and Oliver too.
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
12,170
I agree with scarleta in that I think that you will know if they''re depressed. What does your vet think? He might be uncomfortable with losing his control of his motions. Can he be carried outside or anything like that just to get some stimulation and perk him up?
 

JulieN

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 25, 2005
Messages
13,324
Date: 3/24/2009 12:42:35 AM
Author: scarleta
Mia: sorry about Oliver.Sounds like he has you and that matters.He is under the best possible care and he knows it.From my volunteering experience with dogs its quite noticeable if the dog gets depressed.

You will notice in his eyes, his behavior etc.He won''t be as happy to see you etc.

You should be able to tell if that is the case.My best wishes to you and Oliver too.
Yeah. I''m just picturing a dog lying on the floor with his head down on his forelegs. He sees you come in, and he doesn''t lift his head, just looks at you woefully. Halfhearted to no tail wagging.
 

Deelight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 4, 2007
Messages
5,543
He is not in pain or suffering, that doesn''t make you selfish for keeping him around at all.


I have no idea, but it sounds like (and rightfully so poor little bugger) that he is just being laid back and enjoying being looked after
. If I had issues with my health I think all I would want to do is lounge around and enjoy just being
.



He looks so adorable, I just want to snuggle his little black wrinkly face
.
 

NewEnglandLady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Messages
6,299
Mia, I have no good advice and just wanted to say that I''m sorry and that Oliver is very lucky to have you as a mama--you''ve definitely gone above and beyond to make sure he''s as happy and as healthy as possible.

I wish I could help, I''m just sorry.
 

Irishgrrrl

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
4,684
Aw, Mia, I''m sorry you''re dealing with this. ((((HUGS))))


As you know, Caesar has some of the same issues that Oliver has. I really don''t feel that we''re being selfish by keeping them around. From what you''ve said, it sounds like Oliver is much like Caesar at this point . . . he doesn''t get around very well, he sleeps a lot, but he still eats well and enjoys our company. I don''t think Caesar is depressed, and I doubt that Oliver is either. I think one of the biggest signs of depression in humans is a change in eating habits (either eating much more or much less than usual, etc.). I haven''t seen that in Caesar, and it sounds like Oliver hasn''t changed his eating habits either. Is he still excited when he sees you getting the dog food? I know Caesar is . . . I get the perky ears! LOL!


So I think you''ve done exactly the right things for Oliver so far, and I think you''re a WONDERFUL doggy mommy! Don''t listen to the people who seem to think you should have him put to sleep. Only you guys can make that decision, and no one else''s opinion matters. I think many people see pets as "property" and they don''t really see them as the important family members that they are, so they often think it''s "wrong" to spend money on health care for our pets. Pay absolutely zero attention to those people . . . they''re clueless.
 

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
Thanks Scarleta and Bee for reassuring that I would know if he was depressed. I want to make sure there isn''t something I have missed.

My main concern is that he sleeps ALL DAY. Literally, we wake him up and take him outside in the morning and then he eats and goes back to sleep. He sleeps all day and really only gets up when we are cooking or eating and he wants to survey the floor. And then it''s back to sleep. BUT, he does get excited too. Whe we come home he get very excited and runs (drags) to the door, and if we say "car ride," "pet smart," "food," or "water," he gets excited too.

So JulieN- I think that he still gets excited, that is good news.

Deelight- Yes, maybe his hobby is just laying around. When I sit on the couch, he comes over and whimpers until I pick him up and put him on my lap. So I think he still has a desire to do things, they just seem to revolve around sleeping and eating. You can snuggle with him anytime. He''s definitely became more cuddley with his disabilities.

NELady- Thanks for your kind words. I am feeling much better today. I think I have just been more emotional lately because we are going to be moving soon and during the transition our Oliver might have to go with his "grandparents" for a little while. They love him and will take good care of him, but they are also the type of people to suggest putting him to sleep. I also feel guilty that we are asking them to care for him because he is a lot more work than your average dog.

Irishgrrrl- Well here we are again, huih? There are so many ups and down with these dogs! You are right about the eating habits. That is how we know if anything is wrong with Oliver, he won''t eat. Since his appetite is ferocious as usual, I think he is fine. The thing is, he really doesn''t know anything is wrong with him. DH is convinced that he remembers when he could get around better and that the peeing on himself is humiliating him. But he is a dog and probably doesn''t think of those things. It is painful for us to see him drag himself around, but we have to remind ourselves that he isn''t in any pain so it shouldn''t bother us.

You are right about people thinking of pets as property. Putting a suffering dog to sleep is a noble thing to do and I am glad that we are able to do that. But it would be murder to put a dog like Oliver to sleep. He isn''t suffering and he has no life threatening illness. Just a lot of inconvenient issues. I am just so tired of people saying these things to me. And some of them are animal lovers who are lucky with healthy dogs, I know they''d feel differently if it was their own dog.

So how''s Caesar doing? Has he gotten used to sleeping downstairs? We went back and forth on letting Oliver sleep with us (DH is a softy) but finally made the decision to keep him in his crate at night. We had a few rough nights where Oliver couldn''t get comfortable and the tossing and turning in his crate was keeping DH awake (I sleep through anything!). But Oliver has become used to the routine. We let him lay on the bed with while we watch TV, and then he goes in the crate before the lights go out. He''s been sleeping really well in his crate for about a week now.
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
Awww...mia I''m a little late chiming in here, but I totally agree with the others - you guys are AMAZING doggie parents. I only wish I saw more people like you in my volunteer work at the shelter - I have no doubt the world would be a better place if there were.

I think your thinking is completely sound - Oliver sounds like he has lots of joy and happiness in his life still, and if he isn''t suffering, I don''t see how you can make any other decision than the one you are making. You really will know when the time comes - its like the light just goes out of their eyes. It will be so difficult, but I know you guys will do the right thing when the time comes, but hopefully that won''t be for many more years.

Huge hugs to you and to your little guy - he is incredibly lucky to have you.
 

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
Aw thanks A-Gretch! Maybe depression is equal to losing the will to live in dogs and Oliver still has plenty of spunk even if he doesn''t always show it. It amazes me that people think you just get rid of "faulty" animals. Like he is defective so we shouldn''t want him. It is so sad and that''s why so many animals are mistreated in this country.

Okay so I think this thread deserves some pictures. Here is my lazy dog, doing what he does best:

pugglemia123.JPG
 

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
And proof that there are times when he is awake/alert. But there really aren't any times when he doesn't look pathetic because well, that's how pugs look!


pugllemia124.JPG
 

bee*

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 14, 2006
Messages
12,170
What it could be is that he knows that he can''t move around easily so he doesn''t try. It''s like a lot of cats that we have in that have had serious operations on their limbs-they don''t jump around as much as they know that it''s awkward/hurting when they do. Plus what dog doesn''t like to sleep!
 

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
Bee- Yes and the funny thing is if he gets really excited and forgets, he can walk well (actually uses the bottom of his feet, mostly). But for the most part he is on the tops of his feet and knees if he is getting tired.
 

IloveAsschers13

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 27, 2008
Messages
896
Hey-
I know some people have already said stuff but I have more to add about the doggy depression.

My mom has a bichon, and she has SEVERE separation anxiety. It gets to the point she misses my mom so much she sits in the window and pouts- literally. I think she feels depressed- she sure looks it! Nothing makes her happy when she is in this mood- she won''t eat and is ONLY happy if you take her on a w-a-l-k. Then she goes back to moping. You would totally notice if your dog was depressed!

I hope he perks up a bit and you can hang out with him more and make him happy.


P.s.- I love the name Oliver- it''s going to be my first sons name!
 

PugLover

Rough_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2008
Messages
90
Mia,
You are such a good doggie mom, I wish everyone was like you. It seems like your Oliver is just being a pug. Two of our three pugs like to just sleep all day if given the chance, the third is a bit more active/alert. But really, they do love to just be comfy, eat, and nap. Now, couple that with Oliver''s disabilities, I would think his behavior is perfectly normal. It seems like he''s enjoying just lounging around with you guys and that is what makes him happy. He''s pretty much never had the opportunity to run around all crazy and chase after toys, etc. so he doesn''t really miss this kind of activity. He does what makes him happy. I think as humans we think that a dog is only happy when they''re running about and active and that they should be like that but I think Oliver is happy in his own way. You know your pup well and if you don''t notice anything out of the ordinary chances are that everything is just fine. I love that picture of Oliver laying down with his little legs behind him
!!!
 

Kelli

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 27, 2008
Messages
5,455
What a cutie! It sounds as though there''s plenty of joy in his life, thanks to you!! And YES, people who don''t love animals are clueless to how much of a part of the family our dogs are. Ignore them and do what you feel is right for him, just like you''ve been doing all these years.
 

Irishgrrrl

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 3, 2008
Messages
4,684
Date: 3/24/2009 12:31:30 PM
Author: mia1181
Aw thanks A-Gretch! Maybe depression is equal to losing the will to live in dogs and Oliver still has plenty of spunk even if he doesn''t always show it. It amazes me that people think you just get rid of ''faulty'' animals. Like he is defective so we shouldn''t want him. It is so sad and that''s why so many animals are mistreated in this country.

Okay so I think this thread deserves some pictures. Here is my lazy dog, doing what he does best:
OMG, OMG, OMG!!! That has to be the CUTEST little face EVER!!!


Mia, he does NOT look like an unhappy dog to me! Not even close!


Caesar is doing OK. I think his arthritis is getting a little better now that the weather is a little warmer. He has adjusted pretty well to sleeping in the kitchen. We have all three of them sleeping in there now, so Caesar isn''t in there all by himself anymore. I think he was just lonely . . . the whining and complaining has toned down A LOT now that his brother and sister are in there with him! LOL!
 

luvmyhalo

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 4, 2007
Messages
1,170
Oh, he is absolutely adorable!!! We have a boxer (who is now 7.) About 3 years ago, I really thought she was depressed. We just had our daughter and my husband started traveling a lot for work. She would lay around, sigh and whine and cry for me to play with her. With a new baby, I didn''t always have the energy to "wrestle" with her like my DH does.

About 4:30 every day, when my husband would come home from work, she would stand by the door and wait for him. When hubby was traveling and didn''t come home, she would be soooo sad. It was seriously heartbreaking to watch. She would whine, stare at the door, and then lay down and sigh.

We decided to adopt another boxer to keep her company and it has made SUCH a huge difference. She has her buddy now and they are like two peas in a pod!

So, to make a long story short....yes, I totally think dogs get sad or depressed. For us, she just needed another doggie buddy.
 

AmberGretchen

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 6, 2005
Messages
7,770
I LOVE the pictures - TOO CUTE. He doesn''t look one bit depressed to me - perhaps a bit spoiled
but that''s kind of the point, isn''t it?
 

CJ2008

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 31, 2006
Messages
4,750
Oliver is SO cute...and definitely spoiled! He''s too cute not to be spoiled!
 

:)

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jul 25, 2006
Messages
1,864
Hi Mia, I was glancing in today and your post title caught my eye.

I will preface this by saying I am not a vet, so clearly I would totally defer to a vet, but there are some things that need to be considered in your dog given his medical hx.

You said your dog was diagnosed with Addisons - the adrenals are an incredibly integral part of normal functioning. If dogs have Addison''s (primary adrenal insufficiency) like humans do, then your dog is at high risk for hypothyroidism (the primary adrenal insufficiency, at least in humans, tends to run with other glandular deficiencies) - which easily can mimic depression or listlessness. Symptoms can include lethargy/fatigue. His testosterone could even be off (hypogonadism) which can cause some of the blah type sxs (again if human)

Also, his steroid dosing may need adjusting (again if human! - humans take their steroids daily and sometimes they need adjusting for the proper levels - clearly giving a monthly injection is a canine dosing that your vet would have the proper expertise in - humans can need both glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid repletion which likely is the case with canines too given an adrenal is an adrenal!) - his electrolytes could be off if his mineralocortioid repletion is not adequate (sometimes florinef is added later in humans as the need arises) - primary adrenal insufficiency in humans can cause a low sodium which can also present as a type of lethargy or fatigue or just simply not being ''quite right'' (again in humans - I will stop typing ''in humans'' and just revert to the disclaimer of ''if your dog is a human then this can be what is happening so go check with your vet if this happens in dogs too!). An abnormality (less common) in his calcium could do the same thing.

Also I will comment quickly on the lumbar issues - if the dog has suddenly developed changes in bowel/bladder, the topic of cord compression should be brooched with your vet (or maybe it already has? - It sounds like he already had some since you said the cord is ''pinched'')- cord compression can be a surgical emergency in a human. Also, if he has a doggie wheelchair for cord compression that you have decided not to operate on, not letting him use it won''t help him any by having him ''use'' his legs (I applaud you under normal circumstances for wanting to use legs if possible, but with cord compression that is only going to be watched, it is truly not fruitful to not allow him to use it) - let him use the wheelchair and have some mobility and this may help him feel better too (if a mild depression is contributing to this)
If the cord damage was already there and it was inoperable as a result, then definitely allow him to use the wheelchair - it does not make it any better for him in that instance by not allowing him to use it and would only make things better for him by allowing him some mobility.

I could type forever on this, but I guess what I am trying to say is **please take your doggie to the vet asap**. My suspicion is that he needs either some thyroid medication if hypothyroid (if the risk of hypothyroid is the same as in humans), or an adjusting of his steroids/fixing of electrolytes.

Hope this helps.
 

anyname

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 18, 2008
Messages
309
hmm...i''m trying to remember how to tell if a dog''s depressed, but I do remember reading that you can tell if a dog is anxious if he sneezes a lot. But i think for depression is just any kind of change in behavior, lethargy and things like that.
 

mia1181

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 25, 2006
Messages
1,789
Hey guys thanks for all the compliments on Oliver. He''s definitely spoiled and he knows it!

I am have a few things to do tonight, but I just wanted to check in and respond to :) Best SN ever!

:)- I just wanted to let you know that Oliver is a regular at the vet so that''s not the problem. His blood/electrolytes are checked on regular basis and the vet is very happy with how well we have managed the AD. Do you think he would need his Thyroid checked even if all of those are coming back okay? We give Oliver DCOP (Percortin) every 26 days. He was also on prednisone early on, but we found it made him drink a ton of water and pant a lot even at very small doses. The vet recommended taking him off Prednisone and he still tested very well. We do give him some if we think he''ll be under any type of stress as a precaution, however.

I also don''t think Oliver''s behavior is an Addisonian Crisis though. When he has an Addisonian Crisis it is like a total shutdown. He almost died from it as a puppy and several months ago I f-ed up and went a week past when he should have had his dose of Percortin and he had a mini-crisis as a result. A crisis for him means he won''t even get up, not even to eat and he just lays there looking sad. I definitely know something is wrong when it happens. Last time (well it was the first time we missed a dose in 6 years, so not too bad) it was a weekend and he didn''t want to get out of bed. I thought it was funny at first, until I said "food" and he didn''t jump up. Then I put the food right in front of him and he had no interest. But about ten minutes after I injected him he was eating and drinking again and he was completely back to normal soon after. So I really don''t think that is what I am seeing. I am just realizing that he doesn''t do much in life and I am wondering how aware he is of that.

As for his spinal cord, he has IVDD (Disk Disease). I actually think his spinal cord is narrowed in 5 places. He has bulging disks, so I hope using "pinched" isn''t a confusing way to explain it. It wasn''t that we decided not to have surgery, but that it wasn''t an option. The vet said because it is degenerative and will probably worsen anyway, and because it was discovered a long time after the damage was done. Oliver never had an injury, he just began very gradually to drag his toes, and his IVDD was misdiagnosed as a knee problem for a year or so.

As for the wheelchair. I actually think I got it a little early and that''s why we don''t use it much. He actually gets around fine without it. But outside, his feet bleed from the dragging. Boots don''t help because the added weight makes him drag his legs worse and then he gets tired and can''t walk at all. When we use the wheelchair he can''t walk at all afterwards. He goes from dragging his legs a little, to paralysis. I think everytime he is in it, he thinks "oh I can get around just fine without using my legs at all," and then he has to relearn to use his legs again. And it usually takes him a full day to recover from a 20 minute walk, so to me it''s just not worth it. He can walk all around our apartment and when we take him out for potty, we keep him on the grass but he can still walk around (the little bugger loves cement though!).

Anyway, I just want to make sure that I am not painting a picture of neglect. We definitely get him to the vet often. He is very popular there and I just have to call and say "Oliver" and they all know who I am talking about. But I definitely will mention the thyroid, I''m not sure whether they are testing for that currently. Thanks for your help!
 

Mara

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Oct 30, 2002
Messages
31,003
I'm sorry to hear about Oliver's health problems...it's so hard to see your loved pup in less than stellar health.

It's funny because people often say that we try to give dogs HUMAN emotions. aka..when my pup comes over and licks my face, it's because she loves me. When in reality, she probably recognizes from the delighted tone of my voice that it makes me happy and me happy probably results in her getting a treat faster. My hub says she DEFINITELY loves us, its not about the treats. HA!

Anyway, depression is a human-defined thing. When I read your post I though, gosh my pup would be so sad and depressed if she couldn't be out walking and running and chasing her ball. But then I thought, well she sleeps 15 hours a day anyway. She gets up and is active when we want her to be or when she is excited. But dogs do sleep a lot. Half the time she is just happy to be laying on our lap or near us.

So on projecting human feelings onto the pups. I feel guilty if she doesn't get enough run/walk/playtime outside. But when it's raining outside she just sleeps inside and seems the same as when she is outside playing. SO, if she is just as 'happy' sleeping and snuggling with us..then who's to say she needs the walk/run/playtime to be happy.

Anyway this is kind of long, but I guess if he is still excited to see you, shows waggy tail, eats well, plays when he is able...then that's as healthy and happy as he can be. His 'quality of life' might be diminished, but I am not sure what that means in terms of happiness. Dogs are typically 'happy' to be with the pack and you as the leader taking care of them and showing dominance.

Have you asked your Vet what their thoughts are?
 
Status
Not open for further replies. Please create a new topic or request for this thread to be opened.
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!

Need Something Special?

Get a quote from multiple trusted and vetted jewelers.

Holloway Cut Advisor



Diamond Eye Candy

Click to view full-size image.
Top