My Yorkshire Terrier is Depressed, What Should I Do?

Yorkie

It’s no secret that dogs can suffer from depression, and your little Yorkie is no exception.

Depression in dogs is not much different than that found in humans. Mopey and listless, the depressed Yorkie is almost another dog from your spunky little pup.

Dogs are naturally upbeat, and a dog that seems moody is a challenge.

The good news is, according to Bonnie Beaver, DVM, executive director of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

It’s not uncommon for pets to get down, especially during periods of change; it’s rare for dogs to suffer from long-term depression. This is mentioned in a WebMD article.

Signs that your Yorkshire Terrier is depressed

Your Yorkshire Terrier may be acting mopey. He may be eating less than usual and seem listless and not his usual self.

It is normal for dogs to be quieter and calmer after behaving energetically; they may just be tired. However, when your Yorkie is depressed, he may:

  • Act sullen
  • May interact less
  • Be in an apparent bad mood
  • Eat less
  • Whimper
  • May show strange agitated behavior
  • Sleep less or more than usual
Anxiety in Yorkies a serious issue

When acting sullen, he may hang his head, not wag his tail or in the case of a missing companion, search the house.

Dogs that interact less may not want to cuddle or play their favorite games. They may hide to rest, instead of laying down in their favorite spot.

Being in a bad mood and eating less go hand-in-hand; your Yorkie may just be picking away at his food.

Soft whimpering, similar to soft crying is another sign that your little dog is depressed.

Causes of depression on Yorkshire Terriers

There are several reasons why both male and female Yorkies would get depressed:

  • Although many dogs adapt quickly to a new environment, others begin to act grumpy when changes are made to the familiar.
  • It could be the addition of a new pet or baby, the loss of an animal companion, the loss of a family member or even the loss of another dog that he has played with, such as a neighbor’s dog.
  • You may have just moved to a new house or apartment; a change in your routine could also affect your Yorkie.
  • You may have changed from a stay-at-home job to one outside the home, and your little dog is reacting.

What are the symptoms of depression on Yorkshire Terriers?

According to PetMD, Symptoms of depression in Yorkies include:

  • Becoming withdrawn
  • Inactivity
  • Change in eating and sleeping habits

Vets make it known that some of these symptoms could be the sign of a medical problem, so be sure that your Yorkie gets a full checkup. Check our article of the top 10 common health problems in Yorkies you must be aware of.

Dogs that have pain from arthritis may no longer want to go for walks.

The two most common factors in doggie depression are the loss of a companion animal and the loss of a human or family member.

If you live in a winter climate, your Yorkie, like his human friends, can go through a type of SAD, or seasonal affective disorder.

Low levels of light can contribute to depression. He may also be feeling bored.

What can I do for my Yorkshire Terrier when he is depressed?

Encephalitis in Yorkshire Terrier
Photo by localpups/Flickr

Many dogs bounce back from depression within a short time. According to the Yorkie Information Center, if a loss of a family member is the cause of moodiness in your little dog, the saying “time will heal” applies.

Since there may be feelings of sadness in the home itself, it is somewhat of a challenge for your little dog.

Following his usual schedule will give your Yorkie some comfort in experiencing the familiar.

If your Yorkie is mourning a person or pet friend, giving him an object with the lost one’s scent is not a preferred way to help him with depression; it only serves to prolong the grieving process.

Instead, challenge him with new places and adventures.

The best way to help the sad dog is to offer a new experience; something new will provide excitement, especially when they do not anticipate their normal walk.

Some ideas to reawaken interest include:

  • Take your Yorkie to a new and easy hiking trail for a walk
  • Take him to the beach shore or around a lake to explore
  • Bring him with you to a pet store to look around

One of the reasons for your Yorkie’s depression may be that he is not getting enough exercise.

Like humans, exercise can alter a mood as pent-up energy is released.

According to Healthy Pets, Mercola, dogs need at least 20 minutes of daily exercise that is heart-thumping, at least three times per week.

Daily walks, in addition to exercise sessions, are better, as your Yorkie then gets outside to explore and discover new adventures.

Taking your dog for one or two briskly paced walks per day is a sure cure for winter’s cabin fever as well as depression.

Your dog can use all his canine senses to discover new scents, exciting sights, and interesting sounds; if he is stuck in the house, this is not possible.

Divide the tasks among family members or rearrange your schedule; exercise should be a priority.

Lack of mental stimulation can also result in depression; by keeping a list of his daily schedule, you may see that your Yorkie has quite a bit of downtime.

You can challenge him with games where he seeks out the scent of food on a toy.

Foraging for a treat can give him a sense of purpose and fun. Offer him encouragement when he finds the treat. Playing puzzle and maze games together also helps.

There are canine maze games where your Yorkie can push a button with his toes or nose.

It is meant to be played with the owner as a means of companionship as well as treat delivery.

Yorkies that are not neutered or spayed can have moodiness related to mating urges and hormonal issues, and this can result in depression as well.

Having your dog spayed or neutered can be a major method or relieving depression when mating urges and hormones are involved. Read our post about spaying and neutering your Yorkie to see if it’s a right fit for you.

Additionally, for dogs with depression, make sure that your Yorkie’s diet is high in nutrients at this time.

Balanced nutrition may include Omega 3s, organic vitamins (A, B, D, E), phosphorus, basil. Turmeric, selenium, calcium and more.

When dogs are depressed, it presents a challenge to the immune system, and keeping the dog nourished will help keep him healthy.

If you think that SAD may be part of the problem, increase the indoor light. Take your Yorkie out more often, even in colder weather.

Yorkie in the woods

The natural sunlight, as well as exposure to other dogs and people, can add cheer to his disposition.

If they do have to stay indoors, keep them engaged with interaction.

Give your Yorkie access to a window, where they can watch whatever is going on outdoors.

Natural remedies for Yorkshire Terrier depression

According to Healthy Pets, as far as natural remedies for depression for your Yorkie, some of the homeopathic and Bach Flower remedies can be administered.

Some remedies include:

  • Spirit Essences Grouch Remedy
  • Winter Blues for SAD
  • Bach Flower Mustard
  • Green Hope Farm Grief and Loss

Lavender and pepper are common plants that can help.

The effects of lavender are calming, while peppermint is a pick-me-up.

Rescue Remedy, a Bach flower essence, has been shown to be effective.

You should discuss these natural remedies with your vet to be sure that they are safe for your Yorkie.

When to go to the vet

If the moodiness seems to last longer than three days, and you have tried to treat his environment, it is time to take your Yorkie to the vet.

Included in the exam should be urinalysis, CBC (complete blood count) and full physical exam.

Final Recommendations

All of the suggestions mentioned above are natural and can help to rid your little friend of depression.

Give your Yorkie time, attention, love, and exercise and watch him bounce back to his happy, spunky self.

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