Can Dogs Have Postpartum Depression? 

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This blog will cover topics like postpartum depression in dogs, symptoms, signs, care, remedies, and frequently asked questions. 

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Can Dogs Have Postpartum Depression?

Yes, Postpartum depression in dogs can occur soon after your dog gives birth and can last for a long period if left untreated. It is the obligation of the owner to assist and nurture their dog.

Here’s why this happens and how you can treat your dog with postpartum depression.

What is postpartum depression? 

When a female dog shows symptoms of depression after giving birth to a litter, it is known as postpartum depression. Hormones, current stress, or prior anxiety appearing in the present can all contribute to it. 

It can make you feel biologically sick and cause a variety of undesirable behavioral manifestations. Hormone levels in your dog progressively rise during pregnancy, then drop sharply after delivery. 

This comprises progesterone and prolactin, both of which can impact dopamine and, as a result, their mood, as well as the dramatic change in hormone levels in such a short period of time. Depression is caused by this decline.

Stress is another factor, but it is often found in conjunction with hormone imbalance. Weight gain, hormone changes, and physical birth can be quite stressful, leading to depression. 

Moreover, if your dog has a high level of anxiety or has previously experienced tremendous stress, they are far more likely to suffer postpartum depression as a result of the situation’s stress.

Postpartum depression symptoms in dogs

To swiftly detect postpartum depression and aid your dog, you must first understand the behavioral characteristics to look for

Loss of interest in puppies

If your female dog neglects the pups, she may be suffering from postpartum depression. Cleaning the trash, spending time with them, or even breastfeeding them are all indications she is swamped by the scenario, or that she is seeking isolation due to her possible depression.

Even if she’s constantly laying with her puppies, pay attention to how much she interacts with them. Is she praising them, checking on them, and keeping them close to her, or is she simply staying put?

It’s vital to understand that the term “loss of enthusiasm in the puppies” refers to the entire litter, not just one puppy.

Sleeping too much

Your female will clearly be more fatigued than usual after having given birth and caring for an entire litter. Her continual sleeping, on the other hand, is not typical.

A nursing dog should, in fact, wake up on a regular basis to look at her pups, urinate, defecate, and feed. 

If you see she’s only sleeping, this could be a sign of dog postnatal depression. She will become more exhausted at first after giving birth, but she should gradually become more alert for longer amounts of time in the days and weeks ahead.

Is she also hesitant to wake up despite the pups’ coaxing or pestering? To determine if her sleeping patterns are typical, ask yourself these questions.

Loss of appetite

It is a condition in which a person loses their appetite. Is your female dog suddenly refusing to eat her own food? Maybe she doesn’t drink or doesn’t drink much. This is out of the ordinary. The mother will be hesitant to leave her puppies, and she may not be able to do so for longer, but she should be moving around to feed and drink as needed.

If her whelping box is properly set up, the feeding dish should be easily accessible, reducing her stress levels as much as feasible when she comes to eat. The same may be said for her water bowl.

As a result, if she is still reluctant to eat or stop eating in the first several days, there is a good chance she is suffering from postpartum depression. If you are worried about the amount of nourishment she is consuming, consult your veterinarian.

Anxiety

Your bitch’s behavior will fluctuate, but there are a few crucial characteristics that indicate nervousness. Is she always howling or barking? 

Increased vocalizations are typically an indication of stress and indicate that the dog is overworked. Is she licking one part of her body obsessively? This is an obsessive-compulsive behavior that dogs frequently engage in to relieve stress.

Antsy dogs may lick in the same spot repeatedly, even if it infuriates the skin and slows hair growth. 

Even if they are constantly told not to, they will continue to do so. Is the woman timid, jittery, or concealing from you or those around? All of these behaviors are signs of anxiety, which is a symptom of postpartum depression in dogs.

Aggression

Aggression can arise during gestation and after the puppies are born until they are weaned. This is standard regardless of who you are, even if you are the owner. When hostility is extreme or long-term, it becomes a symptom of dog after-birth depression.

Whenever you attempt to eliminate or touch the pups before they are weaned, you will experience normal degrees of hostility. This can include biting or growling at your hand. 

Excessive hostility involves the mother hunting you out to bite, refusing to let you in the same room, and so on. Long-term hostility is another indicator of your dog’s postnatal depression; this will occur after the puppy’s weaning age, so after four weeks.

Remedies for dogs’ postpartum depression

Cuddling

We can help them relieve stress in the same way that our pet pals help us. Cuddling, petting, and loving your dog can all help them relax and feel more at ease. It can also help them feel better by stimulating the utilization of dopamine, the cheerful hormone.

This should clearly not be performed while nursing or at any other time when the female is likely to be aggressive, such as with young puppies. Instead, if she does not have feeding aggression, you can do so whenever she goes outside or moves to eat.

Allow your female a quick escape from her whelping box, one that the puppies will not be able to use. Encourage her to get out of the cage but be close by so she doesn’t get concerned about not seeing her puppies. 

Give her some loving attention at this moment. Spend some time with her and try to calm and comfort her. This is not a one-time treatment, but if done consistently, it might help your mom feel more like herself again.

Playing games

Stimulation and simulation can help your dog tremendously with postpartum depression. It’s a simple approach that can significantly improve your dog’s happiness. Bringing your dog on a walk can allow them to expend excess energy, interact with you and fellow dogs, and sniff some new scents, all of which will help them feel better. 

Dogs enjoy going outside, and walking them can help them get away from the stressful surroundings, relax, and concentrate on making back to themselves. Take them for a walk at least once a day, preferably twice a day, but keep in mind that they’d be short walks because she and the babies may become anxious otherwise.

Music

Stimuli and stimulation can be extremely beneficial to your dog’s recovery from postpartum depression. It’s a simple strategy that can make a big difference in your dog’s pleasure. 

Taking your dog on a walk will help them relieve stress by allowing them to burn off excess energy, socialize with you and other dogs, and sniff new aromas, all of which will make them feel better. 

Dogs love going outside, and exercising them can help them move away from stressful situations, relax, and focus on getting back to their original state. Take them for a stroll at minimum once a day, ideally twice a day, but only for a short time so she and the children may feel anxious otherwise.

Conclusion 

Female dogs might get postpartum depression after giving birth to puppies. Depression can strike suddenly or gradually over several weeks. Your dog may show signs of melancholy and lethargy if she is depressed. 

She will become disinterested in her puppies and may fail to nurse them. Female dogs suffering from depression may become violent with their puppies in some situations.

If you think your dog is facing postpartum depression, get help from a vet and give her the prescribed medications along with home remedies to make her feel protected and happy. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can Dogs Have Postpartum Depression?

Do dogs suffer from post-natal depression?

Yes, female dogs also suffer from post-natal depression as they can feel depressed after the delivery of their puppies and you can understand it by keeping a close eye on your pet. 

Can mother dogs get depressed?

Yes, mother dogs can get depressed, after the birth of their puppies, female dogs often show signs of post-partum depression where they are mostly sad, lethargic, lose interest in their puppies, and face issues in nursing their kids. 

Can dogs have postpartum?

Yes, dogs can have postpartum after delivering their puppies. 

Why is my dog losing her hair after having puppies?

After having puppies, your dog’s health is impacted due to the pregnancy as well as lactation that is lowering their calcium and mineral levels which is leading to hair loss. 

How do dogs act after giving birth?

Dogs usually show aggression after giving birth as that is their way of protecting their puppies. Dogs often growl, show their teeth, bite, etc. after giving birth to their babies.

Why is my nursing dog crying?

Nursing dog crying can be a sign of issues with their milk flow, the quantity of milk, etc. They can also be experiencing postpartum depression if they are mostly sad and cry during nursing. Please check in with a vet. 

References 

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://breedingbusiness.com/postpartum-depression-in-dogs/&ved=2ahUKEwianuyY97v2AhVTH7cAHTYBCe0QFnoECAwQAQ&usg=AOvVaw3hCA3_xp77q3H41TiVAqcX

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.cuteness.com/article/signs-postpartum-depression-female-dogs&ved=2ahUKEwianuyY97v2AhVTH7cAHTYBCe0QFnoECBcQAQ&usg=AOvVaw3t6JfaU3PkhC6zgdeH22U-

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://optimistminds.com/postpartum-depression-in-dogs/&ved=2ahUKEwianuyY97v2AhVTH7cAHTYBCe0QFnoECC0QAQ&usg=AOvVaw0BOcIbFwUlYkGppIT1Ccta

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