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What is Mopey?

Dogs are like people in many ways. They can be happy, not feeling well, and they can be sad. Like people, dogs may go through a period of time being “mopey.” When dogs are mopey, they exhibit certain behaviors that let their owners know they are feeling a little down, or may be sad for various reasons. Fortunately, if a dog is depressed, it usually doesn’t last long term if the owners recognize the behavior. Behaviors that can signify a sad dog can include a dog becoming withdrawn and wanting to just be left alone, any significant changes in sleeping and eating, and the unwillingness to do the activities that they used to enjoy.

There are several different reasons why a dog can become down and mopey. Depression in dogs is not typically a serious condition if treated properly. Watching for clues and being aware of changes in their lives can help dog owners understand what may be causing the change in behavior. Reasons can include:

  • A sudden lifestyle change
  • Stress within the home
  • Loss of a companion
  • Medical condition

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Why Mopey Occurs in Dogs

If your dog is acting differently and you are concerned, think about any changes in your dog’s life that could be affecting him. There are several different reasons as to why depression in dogs can occur. They include the following:

A Sudden Lifestyle Change

If you move, your dog may react to the new home. If your dog is a rescue and you have just adopted him from another owner, he may need time to adjust to the lifestyle change.

Stress Within the Home

Stress within the home can occur, even in healthy families. Healthy families can go through difficult times, and your dog may be picking up on the stress. 

Loss of a Companion

If you had another pet, and he has passed away, your dog may be grieving over the loss. Also, when a person in the home passes away, dogs can very much become affected.

Medical Condition

A medical condition of some sort may be causing your dog to not feel his best. He may be achy or in some pain, and this may be mistaken for sadness.

What to do if your Dog is Mopey

If your dog has the blues, there are several things you can do to help him recover. The first thing you should always do is make an appointment with your veterinarian. It is important to rule out any health conditions which could be causing him to show lack of energy, listlessness, or sadness.

Once you arrive at the veterinarian’s office, he will ask you questions relating to your dog’s symptoms of depression. He may want to know precisely what symptoms he is having and when you first started noticing the signs. He may also ask you if your family or your dog has experienced any life-changing events, such as a new baby, a new home, or a new job which requires you to work different hours than what your dog is accustomed to.

He may then choose to do a complete physical examination, including a urinalysis, bloodwork, and possibly a biochemistry profile to take a closer look at your dog’s organs and how they are functioning. If your veterinarian notices any abnormalities within his complete physical examination and possible laboratory testing, he will continue from there until he finds a diagnosis that could be causing your dog pain, which would explain his sadness.

If your veterinarian is unable to find any medical condition causing his depression, more than likely a reason will be discovered in terms of a lifestyle, environmental, or other type of change in your dog’s life. If there are no reasons that can be found, it will be important for you to continue to observe your dog’s behavior and reflect on when his symptoms began and what event or situation could have caused them. If you still are unable to think of a reason, continue to monitor your dog each day, and try the following treatment options for your companion.

Make more time for you and your dog by taking him outdoors on a walk or to a park. You can try to spend more time with him each day by giving him more attention and talking to him. Taking him in the backyard rather than letting him out alone will give you time to play a game of fetch or just walk around and play with him with another toy. Simply giving him more attention, even if by sitting with him or cuddling with him may help, and even if he doesn’t seem to respond at first, he eventually will perk up.

Sometimes it just takes time for a dog to come out of his mopey period. If your dog is grieving over the death of a loved one, for example, it could take several days to a few weeks. Try not to rush him, but always show him with actions that you are there for him.

Prevention of Mopey

There are ways to prevent the severity of your dog’s depression if you know an event is about to take place. If you prepare for a change in your lifestyle or your home environment plenty of time before hand it may make any transition less dramatic for your dog. Of course, some events, such as a death of another dog or companion is not able to be predicted, so this would be one exception.

Cost of Mopey

If you feel your dog needs a behavioral therapist to help with his depression, this may be a good idea, as the therapist can also give you suggestion on how to help your dog. The cost for a behavioral therapist is approximately $500, depending on the number of treatments he will need.