Huskies experience many of the same emotions as us. They can be happy, excited, stressed, mad, or depressed. Just like humans, there can be many reasons for doggie depression. These include boredom, loneliness, and changes to their environment or household.
Extra love and attention from you, fixing the underlying issue, and medication are all potential treatments for husky depression or sadness.
In this guide I’ll take you through 7 signs that your husky is sad, and 8 potential causes for this behavior. We’ll also look at what you can do to get your husky back to usual.
- 7 Signs That Your Husky Is Sad Or Depressed
- 8 Reasons Why Your Husky Is Sad Or Depressed
- What To Do About It
7 Signs That Your Husky Is Sad Or Depressed
If your husky is depressed, you will notice signs that something is wrong.
These signs include:
- Lack of Energy
- Sleeping More or Less
- Loss of Interest in Activities
- Loss of Appetite
- Hiding or Avoiding
- Obsessive Licking or Chewing
- Potty Accidents
Typically, a husky who is depressed will not have the energy you’ve come to expect from them. Instead of being energetic, they will spend a lot of time laying around.
You may also notice that they are sleeping much more than usual. On the other hand, they may be anxious and have difficulty settling themselves down to sleep.
They will also lose interest in the activities that they normally enjoy. They may stop wanting to play, or be uninterested in going on walks.
Appetite changes are also common when a husky is depressed. In most cases, they lose their appetite and their enthusiasm for food. This can cause them to lose weight.
Your normally friendly husky may avoid people, including you. You may find them hiding in quiet areas of the house.
Obsessive licking or chewing can also be a sign your husky is depressed. If you notice them licking themselves much more than usual, or chewing on their paws, look for other signs something is wrong.
Huskies who are licking obsessively may have patches of hair loss, and even skin lesions, because of the constant licking.
Your husky may also seem to forget their training, and stop obeying the rules of the house. Potty accidents are the most common sign of this. Your husky isn’t being intentionally disobedient, they are simply expressing their sadness or anxiety.
8 Reasons Why Your Husky Is Sad Or Depressed
If your husky is sad or depressed, it’s important to learn the reason why. Understanding the cause is the first step to getting your husky back to their old happy self.
Reasons for husky depression include:
- Fear or Anxiety
- Changes to the Environment or Household
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Health Issues
- Poor Diet
- Natural Disposition
Huskies need lots of mental and physical stimulation. If they don’t get enough mental and physical exercise, they will get bored. Working breeds, like huskies, are particularly susceptible to boredom.
They were bred to perform a job, which gives them something to do each day. If they are left with nothing to occupy themselves for long periods, they will become bored, which can lead to depression.
Loneliness is another common trigger of husky depression. Huskies are very social and pack oriented. They were bred to work closely with humans and other dogs to pull sleds.
They need lots of socialization. Some of these needs can be met by other dogs or other people within the household. If your husky is an only pooch, they will need more love and attention from you than one with siblings.
Personality also plays a role. Some huskies simply need more quality time with their owners than others.
3. Fear or Anxiety
Fear or anxiety can also trigger depression, particularly if it’s chronic. If your husky is constantly in a state of fear or stress, they will begin to show signs of depression.
Separation anxiety is a common issue for huskies because they are so close to their owners. Phobias or traumatic events can also cause your pooch to be in a chronic state of anxiety.
4. Changes to the Environment or Household
Did you recently move? Has someone else recently joined or left the household? Huskies are sensitive pooches, and these changes can trigger depression.
It may seem odd to think about your husky missing a family member or even their old house, but it’s more common than you think.
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, can also cause depression in huskies. If your pooch’s depression appears in the winter months and goes away with spring, this is the cause of their depression.
According to PetMD, the reduced amount of sunlight can have an effect on animals, as it can on humans. It’s also possible that huskies get less exercise during the winter, which can also contribute to SAD.
6. Health Issues
Health issues can also cause depressive symptoms. You’ve probably experienced this yourself. When you don’t feel well because you are in pain or sick, it affects your emotional and mental state as well.
Chronic pain can cause depression because it makes it difficult to enjoy life. If they are sick, this can also cause depressive symptoms, like lethargy and loss of appetite.
7. Poor Diet
Diet is closely linked with behavior. If your husky has a diet too high or low in protein, not enough fatty acids, or vitamin deficiencies, this can lead to depression.
In addition to nutritional deficiencies, food allergies are also linked to depression, according to Animal Medical Center of Chicago. If your husky is frequently itchy, develops a rash, or patches of hair loss, they may have a food allergy.
8. Natural Disposition
Before deciding your husky has depression, you should compare their current behavior to their past behavior.
Are they suddenly much less energetic or enthusiastic? Is your normally social dog suddenly hiding? Are they sleeping much more than normal?
If your husky is depressed, you’ll notice these changes in their behavior. However, it’s important to understand that each husky has their own personality.
For example, if your husky is normally not very energetic, low energy is probably part of their personality, and not an indication that they are depressed.
What To Do About It
If your husky is depressed, there are actions you should take.
These include meeting their needs, visiting the vet, or consulting an animal behavioralist.
Meet Their Needs
Just like us, huskies have physical, emotional, and mental needs. If your husky isn’t getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, start by meeting this need.
You can provide exercise by taking them for walks or runs. You can even teach them to pull a cart. This can allow them to help with things like yard work, while getting exercise and feeling useful.
You can also play games like fetch or tug of war.
Provide mental stimulation by providing them with puzzle toys, and playing games like hide and seek. Training also helps relieve boredom and gives them the mental exercise they need.
Eliminate Or Reduce Causes Of Fear Or Stress
If your husky is depressed because they are scared or stressed, do your best to eliminate the cause of the fear.
Of course, this isn’t always possible. If your husky is scared of loud noises, for example, take them out for walks during quieter hours, and give them a quiet spot in the house where they can relax.
You can’t prevent your neighbor’s car from backfiring or thunderstorms from happening, but you can reduce their exposure to loud sounds.
When you notice they are scared, be supportive. Stay nearby and speak to them in a calm, gentle voice.
You can also work on desensitizing them a little at a time, by creating positive associations with the stressor.
Give A Little Extra
When you are depressed, you probably find that a little extra attention can make a big difference in your mood. You can provide your husky with more cuddle time, a relaxing grooming session, or extra walks.
This is particularly helpful for short-term depression because it can help get them out of their rut.
Visit The Vet
If your husky is severely depressed, or their low mood is persisting despite your best efforts, it’s time for a vet visit.
There are a few reasons for this. First, the vet will check for any physical reason for your pooch’s depression, like chronic pain.
If there’s no physical cause, they will help you create an action plan to help your husky feel better.
They may prescribe dietary changes or supplements, changes to their exercise routine, or pharmaceuticals. According to the AKC, medications, along with behavior modification and environmental changes, often provide the best results for depressed huskies.
Consult An Animal Behavioralist
Your vet is an expert in physical ailments, but if there’s no physical cause, you may need a different type of professional.
Animal behavioralists specialize in dog psychology and treating behavioral issues. They can be a great ally if your pooch is struggling with depression.
The field of animal behavior is unregulated, which means that people often call themselves animal behavioralists who aren’t qualified.
When choosing a behaviorist, look for one that is certified by a professional organization.
- Animal Behavior Society
- Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
- International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)
Adjust Their Diet
Adjusting your husky’s diet can also help relieve depression.
Omega 3’s, turmeric, and calcium are a few supplements that can be beneficial. It’s a good idea to speak to your vet about any dietary changes.
Why Is My Husky So Emotional?
Huskies have a flair for drama, and they are very sensitive.
These are some charming, and sometimes, annoying, aspects of the personality of the breed.
Does My Husky Know If I’m Sad?
Yes, your husky can pick up on your emotions. If you are sad, your husky may feel sad as well.
In fact, huskies are known to be more empathetic towards their owners than other breeds.