Dogs and postpartum depression (+Understanding if it’s possible)

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In this article, it will be discussed if a dog can get postpartum depression. The article will explain what postpartum depression is, what are its symptoms in a dog how the owner can deal with that, and other troubles they might have with their dogs concerning separation anxiety.

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Can dogs get postpartum depression?

Yes, female dogs can get postpartum depression after they have their puppies. Postpartum depression is a sadness that the dog experiences after delivering the puppies. It can happen right away, or it can take weeks before settling in.

It could be caused by the hormonal imbalance that the dog goes through after the delivery. Being that when they are pregnant, their hormones tend to increase constantly, but once they deliver the puppies, their hormone levels go down rapidly, which can cause postpartum depression.

Besides that, the stress of it all, like putting on weight during the pregnancy and the delivery can cause them to get postpartum depression. Being that dogs are extremely sensitive to changes, with all that just happened, they can feel overwhelmed.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression in a dog? 

A dog dealing with postpartum depression loses all interest in their puppies, by pushing them away when they try to nurse, or not groom them, this might show that they are looking for isolation and that they might be feeling overwhelmed.

What is important is to notice the level of interaction they will have with the puppies, remember that it should be with all the puppies, not one in particular. Notice that even if they can spend the day laying together but not interact with them at all.

They might also show signs of sadness, and be less energetic than they were before, although it is common for them to sleep a little more than usual, since they just delivered, pay attention to this lack of energy, and long hours of sleep will go on for longer. It would be normal, at this time, even if they are sleeping, that they would wake up every few hours to feed the puppies.

Signs of anxiety may also appear, like howling or barking or even licking themselves excessively. There are other signs to look for to identify if your dog has postpartum depression, they can lose their appetite, eating and drinking a lot less water than before. 

It might be normal for them to not leave their place to eat or drink water as much since she might not want to leave the puppies, but if she stopped eating and drinking completely, it is a sign of postpartum depression.

If your dog has postpartum depression, they might become more aggressive, they might turn more aggressive since the pregnancy as a way to protect themselves and the puppy. But once they deliver, if they get more aggressive not in a way that they are being protective of the puppies, but aggressive in the long-term it is an important sign that they are going through depression.

How can I help my dog?

A dog with postpartum depression might deal with it on its own, but there are some things a person can do to help their dog go through this and maybe accept the puppies easier.

To help your dog that is going through postpartum depression, a person might want to give them a little more attention. A good idea is to try and cuddle them more often, when you do that it can help them relax, feel calmer, and loved.

At this moment, the production of dopamine in their brain will increase, and since this is the hormone that is responsible for the feeling of happiness, cuddling can give them a feeling of well-being.

Taking some time to play with them is also a great help. It is a way to get them more stimulated. It will give them a chance to get out of that environment that has been so stressful to them, it can give them a boost of energy so they can go back home feeling calmer.

An interesting way to try and help your dog is by putting music on. They are impacted by music, be it positive or negative. The music will help them relax, sleep and it might even relax the puppies.

If you feel that after trying the activities your dog is still showing signs of postpartum depression, it might be a good idea to take them to their vet so he can choose another line of treatment.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQ): Can dogs have postpartum depression?

How will my dog adjust to my new baby?

Preparing your dog to adjust to when you bring a baby home might start a few months before your baby is born. You can start, step by step, preparing the environment so they don’t feel the shock of a new baby when they arrive.

The first thing you should do is to get your dog to the vet and get them neutered, this will make them calmer when the baby arrives. 

If you don’t have other children in the house, a good way to get your dog used to the presence of kids there, invite friends that have kids over.

Observe your dog’s behavior even before the baby is born, if you think your dog might be anxious or depressed, it might be better to deal with those feelings before the baby arrives. 

Another way to prepare the environment for the baby’s arrival is to start creating sounds around the house that can resemble the baby’s noises, you can put on some music you might put for the baby to hear, turn on some of the baby’s toys you might already have around the house and move the rocking chairs, for example, since they need to get used to that sound.

Divide the spaces before the baby arrives, if the dog won’t be able to get inside the baby’s room, or any other part of the house once the baby is there, start dividing the spaces, show them, maybe by putting a barrier at the door, that they are not allowed in that space, but that they have other areas around the house for them.

Does a dog feel anxiety?

Yes, a dog can feel anxiety, and it can happen when they go through a big change in their routine. It can be the loss of an owner, the arrival or loss of a new dog companion, moving to a new house, or the arrival of a new baby.

Some signs can help you figure out that your dog has anxiety. When dogs are anxious, they can start shaking, they also may tuck their tail between their legs, hide, and reduce the activities they used to do before, feeling less energetic, and at times sleeping more than usual.

When they are anxious they can pace around the house, breathe heavily, have diarrhea episodes, or bite their body parts such as their tail and their paws. 

To help your dog deal with anxiety, it might be a good idea to give your dog a little more attention,  once they feel loved, it can be that those anxiety symptoms decrease, aside from that taking them for walks and playing together can help them feel more energetic.

How do I make my dog get used to having a new puppy in the house?

When you are bringing a new puppy home, and you already have one, some things can make the adjustment easier on both sides. First, take out all the dog belongings in the house so they won’t fight about it.

At this first moment, take away the water and food bowls, and the toys, this will avoid tension between them at this first meeting.

It might be easier to do this presentation while having the help of another person at this moment, so you can each hold a leash of one dog as they get acquainted with each other. After that, remember to give them playtime, it is important to do it with them together and also give each of them their own one-on-one time with you.

For how long will my puppy miss their mom?

At the beginning of a dog’s life, they can miss their mom if it’s not close, and they actually might need them. But around weeks 8 and 12 of their life, if their owners establish a good bond with the dog, they won’t miss their mom anymore.

Being with them until their 8 weeks of age can make a dog calmer, dogs that are away from their mom before that, tend to be more nervous and less sociable. That is why it is recommended to get a puppy after it is 8 weeks old.

Will my dog get sad if I am away?

It could be that your dog gets sad when you are away. The first thing to do in that case is to identify if that’s what is happening. To do that, observe if the dog is following you around when you are home, maybe crying when you are not in sight, or if they are more clingy now than before they had their puppies.

Also pay attention if they have symptoms of anxiety-like biting their body parts, breathing rapidly, or hiding. Once you figure out that they are feeling your absence, it is time to take action.

To help them feel calm, you can leave pieces of your clothes with them, your smell will cause them to relax, also try to spend some quality time with them when you are home so they can feel safer.

If you are doing the things to make them get better but still notice that they are extremely anxious, take them to their Vet so they can be checked and the doctor can establish a line of treatment.

Conclusion

In this article it was shown that a dog can get postpartum depression, because of that, the article explained what is postpartum depression, and what are the signs that their owner should be aware of so the dogs can get better.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.

References

https://www.southwindvets.com/site/blog-southeast-memphis-vet/2019/10/16/anxiety-depression-dogs-causes-symptoms-how-to-help
https://optimistminds.com/postpartum-depression-in-dogs/

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