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Q&A: Is My Dog Depressed, Sick, or Just Getting Old?

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

If your dog isn't old, lethargy can be a sign that something is wrong.

If your dog isn't old, lethargy can be a sign that something is wrong.

Is My Dog Sick or Just Getting Old?

"Our dog is 8 and just lies around. There's no more usual puppy play, and he looks sad. Is he sick or just getting older?" —Judy

Do a Physical and Emotional Check-Up

Although you did not mention the size of your dog, eight is not very old except in a few of the giant breeds. The first thing to do is a physical exam at home; if you notice any abnormalities, you should take him in to your local veterinarian for a closer examination. His blood might need to be tested, or he might even require more specialized tests.

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If you have not taken him in for a physical exam in quite a while, be sure to do so.
If the exam is normal and your vet determines that everything is okay, your dog may just be depressed. An eight-year-old dog that is not in pain will respond well to early morning walks in the sun, new experiences, and sometimes even a new canine housemate.

Most eight-year-old dogs are not yet seniors. Get your dog checked out to make sure everything is okay. If everything is okay on a physical level, but your dog still seems lethargic, be sure to look into methods to cheer up a depressed dog.

This article is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from your veterinarian. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2022 Dr Mark

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