Can Dogs Get Postpartum Depression? How to Handle It

Your dog has just given birth and went through labor with successful delivery, congratulations, it’s time to celebrate! With a wonderful litter of pups and a healthy mom, it’s time to enjoy helping your pups grow to beautiful dogs. However, there are some things you have to look into after birth, taking great care of the mom.

Not only will your mama dog go through a lot of physical work caring for her litter, but their emotions will also take a toll. Just like us, they also go through different mental health issues, so it has you wonder, “Can dogs get postpartum depression?”

Read on as I’ll answer if they do go through it and anything else to learn about postpartum depression in dogs.

Can Dogs Get Postpartum Depression

Can Dogs Get Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is described as a mix of different emotions, such as anger, frustration, anxiety, sadness, or even rage. There aren’t any exact definitions for pets, but it’s just as similar, though difficult to diagnose because not many can identify what dogs are feeling.

However, it DOES happen to dogs after birth and is possible for the new mother to feel sadness or resentment. They would show similar signs of “normal” depression in the average dog. Here are the major signs to watch out for after delivery:

Loss of Appetite

Dog looking to the bone like boring food
Dog looking to the bone like boring food.

This is a major sign of postpartum depression, with your dog showing no interest in food or water. She may not even respond to you giving her the usual treats she loves before. But she needs to eat to supply milk for her pups, so continue to encourage her to eat more.

If she still refuses food, feed her supplements and any vet-recommended appetite stimulants if possible.

Little to No Interest In Their Puppies

Those with postpartum depression might not feel any interest in their puppies, looking like she’s actively ignoring them. She may choose to not groom them, or even push them away as they try nursing. Furthermore, she might even refuse to nurse all the pups!

Give her time to overcome the depression and make sure the puppies are still well-fed with supplemental milk first.

Excessive Sleep

All new others would sleep a LOT after giving birth to get the much-needed rest from pregnancy and delivery! However, if you notice that she’s been sleeping too much, it may be postpartum depression. The excessive sleep may last for a few days up to a few weeks, depending on the condition’s severity.

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How to Improve the Postpartum Depression

I know how difficult it must be having to care for a dog who feels depressed and unable to get up. However, it’s possible to treat and help them get back on track to who they are before. Just like us humans, they need a lot of love and interaction, support and care.

So here are some tips to help your dog recover through her postpartum depression:

Medication For Depression

If ever her symptoms persist or worsen, it’s time to take her to the veterinarian to prescribe her medication for depression and her appetite. This can help reduce anxiety and negative emotions, taking a few months to take effect but less than a year for them to fully recover.

Help Them Bounce Back On Track

Try to do favorite activities with your dog, just as you did before and during pregnancy. Whether it’s car rides or dog parks, they may love having some fresh air and doing what they love. Sometimes, introducing them to dogs helps!

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Give Constant Love and Care

And finally, make sure that your dog knows that you love and care for her. She might think that your attention will be divided with her pups, so continue showering her with the same love as you did before. Be patient and stick with a gradual process as you reintroduce her to her favorite activities and meals.

Try to keep them engaged with playtime and exercise, rewarding them as they show signs of happiness. Do NOT try to be negative or enforce her negative behavior by giving her treats as a bribe to be happy, though!

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Depression can happen in all dogs, not just postpartum! Learn about how you can treat it in this informative video:

Wrapping It Up

Interestingly, dogs CAN get postpartum depression, and don’t worry, it’s normal. As long as you know how to take care of them well and take proper steps in keeping them physically and mentally healthy, they can start recovering. Remember, dogs are just like us humans and they do need relaxation and love.

I hope this article answered your question, “Can dogs get postpartum depression?” Now that you’re familiar with what may happen with dogs after labor, learn more about what to watch out for with your dog’s mental health now.

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