Is my dog depressed or sick? He has low energy and no appetite.
Original Question: We had left our little guy with my cousin’s family when we had gone on vacation. We have left him before for a duration of 2-3 days, at the most. He would be fine when he saw us and everything would be back to normal, after a little excitement and attitude. However, this time, we had left him for 3 weeks. When he came back to us, he wasn’t as excited as he would normally get. We just thought he was upset with us and we were okay with that, thinking this would last a day at the most. He wasn’t eating his normal amount of food but he was okay with going on walks at that point. We even got pizza to get him to eat (out of guilt too) but he would not budge. I would force-feed him food just to make sure he had something in his tummy. A couple of days later (Friday July 20th), he was back to himself (at least that’s what we thought), but the food part was still the same and he was only eating half as he normally would. Now this morning, (Tuesday July 24th) he seems to have gone back to this depressed/no energy mood and he didn’t want to go on a morning walk. Mind you, everyone thought he was much younger then he was, simply based on his energy, when we were on walks and he always had a lot. Today, he was hardly moving (this was the first time I've seen him like this) and he wanted to go back in right after he peed, which was pretty much the front steps pole. I realize he’s old, but I thought it’d be a more gradual slow down, but this seems so sudden. Can you please help/advise? Thank you, in advance. - Diva
Thanks for your question.
It sounds like you are linking the fact that suddenly your dog has low energy and little to no appetite with you being away for 3 weeks. This may not be the case. In fact, the symptoms you describe could be caused by hypothyroidism, arthritis, dental pain, abdominal discomfort, gastritis, GI parasites, or pancreatitis to name just a few. I think you need to look for any medical conditions before you consider a behavioural cause.
I’d recommend you have your veterinarian perform a physical exam and consultation looking for many of the rule outs I listed above and perform wellness testing to make sure there is not an underlying medical condition.
The symptoms are very general and don’t point to a particular disease and it’s going to take some investigation.
Best of luck.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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