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Points on Pets:

Question: Is it possible for a dog to be depressed? Following the unexpected death of my father, his dog came to live with us. The two were best buddies for many years following my mother’s death. The dog does not seem to enjoy playing and has become lethargic. We don’t know what to do.

Answer: It is possible that your dog is depressed because his best buddy is gone. Not only has he lost a friend, but his routines have likely changed since he moved in with your family.

You need your veterinarian to conduct a complete physical examination to make sure that there are no physical problems causing the lethargy and lack of interest in playing.

If your veterinarian does not find a physical reason for the behavior change, you will have to assume that he misses his friend. Extra attention and encouragement to go for walks and play will eventually help him understand he still has a caring family. It is likely that time and attention will help your new family member regain his desire to do the things he found enjoyable while your dad was living.

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