Do Dogs Cry At Night?
The reason why your dog has tears is because he/she feels sad or upset. Sadness is one of the most common emotions experienced by humans. Sadness is a very complex emotion that involves many different parts of our emotional system, including the limbic system (the seat of emotions), hypothalamus (a center for stress response) and amygdala (which controls fear responses). These are just some of the areas involved in sadness.
Dogs don’t experience sadness like humans do. While they may exhibit signs of depression, such as lack of appetite, lethargy and other symptoms of depression, these are not the same thing as being depressed. Depression is a chronic condition that affects both humans and animals.
Dogs’ moods change from day to day and even hour to hour. Some dogs will appear happy while others become withdrawn or apathetic.
It’s possible that your dog is simply feeling down and needs time to himself. If this is the case, then it would make sense that he’d want to sleep. However, if your dog is experiencing sadness, then he’ll likely need someone or something else to comfort him.
In this case, you should find a way to help him get past the day.
It’s also possible that your dog is showing symptoms of depression brought on by illness. If this is the case, it’s important to get your dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian may be able to treat your dog for depression or other conditions that can affect his moods.
Does My Dog Know I’m Crying?
This is a common question that many pet owners have. The answer isn’t exactly simple and can vary from situation to situation. Dogs do not shed tears the same way that humans do. Dogs don’t really cry or sob in the traditional sense of the word. If your dog is near you when you’re crying, then it’s possible that he can hear you sniffling or sobbing.
Some people believe that dogs can sense sadness. If you’re feeling sad then it’s probably true that your dog can sense something is wrong with you. He may whine, bark or otherwise try to get your attention.
This isn’t necessarily because he knows you’re sad, however, but rather because he knows that you are no longer acting the way that you normally do.
Will Dogs Attack Owners Who Are Crying?
Some people believe that if a dog sees his owner crying, then he may attack him. This is actually a popular myth. Dogs are not natural born killers and there is no evidence that they will ever attack their owners without some sort of provocation. It is true that dogs can be aggressive creatures when aroused, but this only really happens in situations where they feel threatened for themselves or their offspring.
Does My Dog Feel My Sadness?
Again, this is something that isn’t really known and there isn’t any real evidence either way. Dogs are very in tune with their owners and will often mimic the emotions that they see from their owners. If you’re feeling sad, then your dog will likely respond to this behavior by whimpering or acting depressed. It’s possible that your dog doesn’t actually feel your sadness, but rather is just reacting to what he sees you doing.
Why Do Dogs Get Depressed?
Dogs are very social creatures. This means that they often form strong attachments to other people and animals. If a dog knows that you’re feeling sad and unhappy, then he may become depressed himself. In some ways, your dog is really just mimicking your behavior and emotions so that he can bond with you on some level.
It isn’t known for certain if dogs experience depression in the same way that humans do. It’s entirely possible that they do and for much the same reasons, but it’s also possible that dogs can also experience brief periods of sadness due to their strong instinctual nature. Many owners will notice that their dogs seem to act depressed following the death of a pet cat or the family’s move to a new home.
How Can I Tell If My Dog Is Depressed?
It isn’t always easy to tell if your dog is actually depressed for a few reasons. For one thing, dogs can’t really communicate with you verbally so you’re going to have to try to understand them on a more primal level. Also, dogs tend to act differently than humans so you may notice behavior that seems “out of the ordinary” but isn’t really cause for concern.
Dogs can experience symptoms similar to those of human depression such as:
Slowing down their activity levels
Not enjoying food or play
Loss of interest in normal activities
Not responding to usual commands or cues
General unhappiness and fatigue
Loss of interest in social interaction (especially with you)
Lack of motivation to do anything, even things that the dog would usually love to do (such as going for a walk or playing with a favorite toy)
How Can I Treat My Dog’s Depression?
If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, then you’ll need to take steps to help your dog get back to his normal self. There are a number of things that you can try:
Exercise – Most dogs love to go on walks and run around outside. Even dogs that don’t enjoy exercise too much will often enjoy a good walk. Taking your dog for a nice long walk at least once per day should increase his energy levels and help him to feel happier and more positive.
Studies have shown that walking or running also has a positive effect on the human psyche so taking your dog for a walk is a win-win situation for both of you.
Playing – Most dogs love to play, even more than they enjoy eating. If your dog is feeling down, try playing with him. Throw his favorite ball or play a game of fetch.
Just make sure you’re the one that starts the game and ends it so that your dog knows that you’re in control of the situation and aren’t trying to take away his ball forever.
Visiting Friends – Many dogs love to visit their doggie friends. A change of scenery can help your dog feel more positive and happy. Find a friend that will welcome your dog for a short play session or just pleasant conversation.
Visiting the Vet – If your dog is feeling sick or has an illness then it’s likely a visit to the veterinarian will improve his feelings. Dogs are often happier when they know that they’re feeling better after getting medical treatment. It’s always a good idea to take your dog to the vet for a check-up if you notice any change in behavior at all.
Always make sure that you’re doing your part to make your dog feel loved and appreciated. This is the foundation for a great relationship and is the key to ensuring that your dog remains in good spirits.
My Dog Is Still Depressed, What Should I Do?
If your dog’s depression isn’t alleviated by any of the above methods then you should seek professional help right away. This is especially important if your dog’s behavior suddenly changes drastically or if he develops physical symptoms such as rapid weight loss or vomiting.
Visiting a veterinarian to rule out physical causes for the depression is the best thing that you can do. If your dog is suffering from emotional issues then you should seek help from a professional dog psychologist or animal behaviorist. These people have all undergone specific training to help dogs with emotional issues and can help you to re-establish a good relationship with your dog.
Dealing with a depressed dog can be frustrating sometimes, but by taking the time to show your dog that you love and care about him things will get better. Just give it time.
Remember, your dog can’t talk to you and let you know how he’s feeling, so it’s up to you as his loving owner to look out for his best interests and ensure that he’s happy. Follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to having a happier, healthier dog.
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Sources: CVCA: Canine Behavioral Therapist Listings
Photo by: David Dedrick
Sources & references used in this article:
- Inside of a dog: What dogs see, smell, and know (A Horowitz – 2010 – books.google.com)
- Why we love the dogs we do: How to find the dog that matches your personality (C Sanders – 2010 – Temple University Press)
- The philosopher’s dog (T Lutz – 2001 – WW Norton & Company)
- Dog stars and dog souls: The lives of dogs in Triomf by Marlene van Niekerk and Disgrace by JM Coetzee (S Coren – 2012 – books.google.com)
- Melancholia’s dog: Reflections on our animal kinship (R Gaita – 2016 – books.google.com)
- How dogs love us: A neuroscientist and his adopted dog decode the canine brain (W Woodward – Journal of Literary Studies, 2001 – Taylor & Francis)
- Pictures & tears: A history of people who have cried in front of paintings (AA Kuzniar – 2006 – books.google.com)
- Prison pups: Assessing the effects of dog training programs in correctional facilities (G Berns – 2013 – books.google.com)