New puppy older dog depressed

What To Do If My Older Dog Is Depressed With A New Puppy

Bringing home a new puppy is a wonderful, exciting time for a family. From puppy cuddles to playtime, there’s no shortage of joy that a fur baby can bring to your household.

But while you’re basking in that new puppy life, your older pets might not be so joyful… 

The reality is that older pets are likely going to need some time to adjust. They may have some complicated feelings about your new addition—an addition that’s sharing your attention.

This abrupt change can certainly bring up a wide range of emotions and behavior from the older dog. But what exactly is your dog feeling? Is it depression? Or something else?

Read: How To Introduce A New Puppy To Your Dog

The signs of depression can be very similar to those of anxiety and other conditions, so it’s important to monitor your dog and consult with a vet for help.

5 signs your older dog is depressed about your new puppy

While symptoms vary depending on the dog, there are a few signs that your older dog may be feeling depressed about the new family member.


If your older pup appears to be apathetic and generally has a lack of energy, this could signal depression.

Let’s say Fido used to love to play ball and now doesn’t even blink an eye or wag his tail when you try to engage. Jealousy and sadness about the new puppy could be the culprit.

Changes in body language

Maybe that tail-wagging, tongue-out look you’ve grown to love so much has faded. You might notice cowering, slouchy posture, tail between the legs, and ears back frequently if they're feeling down.

When you’re near both your dog and puppy, look out for these types of changes in body language to understand if it’s related to your new addition.

Changes in sleep

It’s important to look for any changes in your dog’s sleeping patterns. Some dogs will sleep a lot more if they’re feeling depressed, while others will have a more difficult time sleeping. 

Loss of appetite

Sometimes when dogs are depressed, they will eat less. Keep your eyes peeled for any changes in appetite or digestive irritation in your older dog.

Withdrawn behavior

When some dogs are depressed, it goes beyond lethargy and they just want to be alone. You may find that your older pup no longer wants to be around family and prefers to hide or sleep a lot.

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Clingy behavior

On the other end of the spectrum, you might notice that your older dog is extra clingy. They don’t want to leave your side and follow you everywhere. They simply don’t want to share your attention.

What to do if your older dog is depressed

If your older dog is showing signs of depression with your new puppy, there are a few things you can do to help:

  • Give your older dog extra attention

  • Create positive associations with the puppy

  • Give them space

  • Be patient

  • Accept that they might not be the best of friends

  • Talk to your vet

Sometimes, all Fido is looking for is a little extra love.  

Make a point to give your older dog extra attention when your new puppy comes home. Whether you sneak in some snuggle time in private or reward their good behavior with extra special treats, they just want to know that they’re still important.

Create positive associations with the puppy

When the puppy and the older dog are near each other, you can try to give your older dog some of their favorite things, like treats or toys. Only give these to them when they’re around the puppy, and they may start associating the puppy with positive rewards.

Read: Home With A New Puppy: What To Expect The First Year

Give them space

A puppy can bring a lot of energy to a new home—and sometimes that can be overstimulating, and even annoying, to an older dog who’s set in their ways.

Make sure your older dog has a place of their own to sleep away from the puppy. It’s also important to maintain as much of the older dog’s routine as possible. Let them have their favorite spot on the couch and don’t give their toys to the new puppy, or they may feel like they’re being replaced.

Be patient

Like many things in life, time is key. Your older dog might just need some time to adjust and establish a relationship with the puppy their way.

Try to avoid rushing the relationship or panicking if they don’t love each other immediately.

Accept that they might not be the best of friends

At the end of the day, not all dogs want to be friends. As long as they can cohabitate together and don’t cause one another any harm, you might just have to accept that they’re not going to be pals.

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Talk to your vet

If your older dog is showing signs of depression after you bring home your puppy, it’s important to rule out other medical conditions that could be causing the change in behavior. Talk to a vet and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction given your dog’s medical history, breed, and behavior.

Why is My Dog Depressed After Getting a New Puppy?

A dog may have depressive episodes as a result of life changes. These include getting a new place to live, welcoming a spouse or child into the family, or getting a new pet. But losing the owner’s attention is the most frequent cause of canine sadness and it will disturb any dog. Keep reading to know more about the causes that can make your dog depressed after getting a new puppy.

Why is My Dog Depressed All of a Sudden? Click here to learn more.

Can a New Puppy Cause Stress in An Older Dog?


Older dogs that have always been single pets can become unhappy, envious, or even furious with a new puppy. Hence, it is essential to ensure the elder dog receives extra attention to avoid potential resentment,. As soon as you get the puppy home, start giving your senior dog extra special treatment rather than waiting for a reaction.

Why is My Dog Sad After Getting a Puppy?

When a dog and owner have built devotion and attachment, it is normal for dogs to get jealous. Your dog will feel envious if you connect with another dog physically. The following are the reasons why your older dog is sad after getting a puppy.


It is the biggest among the problems that come with bringing a new puppy into your house. Therefore, you should let the puppy explore the surroundings before introducing him/her to your older dog. It’s necessary to know how to make this transition as easy as possible for you and your dog because many canines even become envious of you playing with a toy puppy. Keep your routine consistent and your bond with your dog by allowing them their own space. Also, continue to give them attention when you first introduce the puppy to your house.

Is My Dog Depressed or Just Old? Click here to learn more.

Change in Environment

The atmosphere in a home will alter when a new puppy is introduced. Puppies require care and attention and are lovely and sweet. People in a family normally give this new dog their attention. Consequently, if you already have another dog in the house, they could feel wounded.

Lack Of Attention

Your dog is used to being by your side. Therefore if another dog comes to take you away, your dog may likely become disturbed, jealous, or even aggressive. They are as deserving of your time and consideration as the new puppy. The elderly dog develops depression when you do not offer him enough attention.


They may feel as though their life is in danger since this new puppy is also in their domain. This conduct is acceptable. It’s crucial to handle your dog’s emotions appropriately when jealousy arises. After witnessing the new puppy share all that was previously his alone, the elder dog may become apprehensive.


If they are the only dog in the house, older canines will need extra time. Everyone in the household becomes more bonded to the new dog when you bring a puppy home since puppies are more vivacious than adult dogs and are therefore more lovable. things can make the dog depressed and alone.

Lack of Exercise

If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise or attention, it could also experience sadness. You’ve shifted more of your focus to the new dog. For instance, if you don’t frequently walk your dog, the lack of exercise may cause your pet to get agitated and behave out. Their negative behavior will worsen the more you choose to overlook it.


Your dog may be bored following the arrival of the new puppy in the house since they have nothing to do right now. This is because they used to play with you previously, but now you’re preoccupied with the puppy. Perhaps they need your attention and hugs, or perhaps they miss the gifts you used to give them to make them happy.

How Does a Dog Act When He is Depressed? Click here to learn more.

How Long Does It Take for Your Dog to Get Used to A New Puppy?

Many people decide that having two dogs would not work before giving them enough time to acclimatize to one another. A dog and a new puppy may need up to a month to adjust and come to terms with each other’s place in the pack. If you want a second dog, you must be prepared to go through the process and not lose your cool.

What To Do If My Dog is Depressed After Getting a New Puppy?

You should take your dog on brief visits to the homes in issue and socialize with other people to help him feel less envious of the newcomers. All individuals involved will become more used to one another as a result, which will lessen their jealousy displays. Remain calm and consistent when dealing with your dog since, in general, dogs always get more at ease the more time they spend with a new person. The development will happen.

Dogs are incredibly sociable creatures and want companionship, so keep that in mind. If your dog starts acting differently, there are a lot of reasons for it, ranging from boredom to jealousy. Give them adequate mental and social interaction, as well as physical activity, to prevent them from believing their pack leader has abandoned them.

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Do dogs get depression?

Can animals, in particular dogs, suffer from depression? The answer is not as obvious as it seems. Over the past decades, the dog has become a true friend and companion for humans. Less and less often, dogs are bred for protection, hunting or grazing, that is, for the activity for which they were originally tamed. In modern cities, a dog is sometimes the only close being for its owner, and not just a friend of the popular expression. This is a full-fledged member of the family, the same as a child, and sometimes more.

However, having lost its exclusively working tasks, the dog acquired typically human problems. People call depression the disease of the 21st century. How do behavioral disorders in companion dogs manifest themselves in the 21st century? And can they be called depression? Let's try to figure it out.

Depression - what is important to know

Depression (from the Latin deprimo - to suppress, press (down)) is a mental disorder of a person, in which there is oppression, depression, a general decrease in mood and pessimism.

The typical symptoms of depression - depression, fatigue and anhedonia - in dogs are rather signs of somatic disorders. Lethargy, refusal to play and walk, decreased appetite in pets can indicate various diseases and are non-specific symptoms.

But what is often attributed to a lack of education, on the contrary, can be symptoms of a violation of brain biochemistry, for example, a decrease in the level of serotonin and dopamine in the synapses (such disorders are recorded in people with depression). And in dogs with such disorders, there is uncleanliness, aggression or separation anxiety (separation anxiety). And it is these behavioral disorders that owners most often care about.

Such disorders are studied by behavioral veterinary medicine, the terms "psychiatry" and "psychology" in the animal world are incorrect. Behavioral medicine has become widespread and has developed rapidly since the 1990s. It became clear that many animals could be helped to avoid conflict with their owners and even euthanasia in severe cases of behavioral disorders. It turned out that this or that “parting” with a pet more often occurs not because of ordinary diseases, but because of behavioral disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Dogs

Let's take a look at some of the most common dog behavior problems an owner may experience. Recall that they are often biochemically similar to depression in humans. And the drugs that behavioral medicine doctors prescribe for pets are the same antidepressants that people use.

  • Uncleanliness - that is, urination and defecation in the wrong places (in the house).

When evaluating the uncleanliness of a dog, one should take into account its age and the normal number of urination acts per day. You can not demand "patience" from a puppy who urinates every 1-2 hours during wakefulness and 1-2 times at night at 2 months. In addition to age, you need to understand how often the dog is taken outside, whether it is trained in the rules of behavior in the house, whether the pet has diseases of the genitourinary, gastrointestinal tract, anatomical defects or neurological abnormalities. In addition to puppies, older and pregnant dogs need more frequent walking. If the above causes are ruled out, behavioral problems should be considered.

Urination at home may be associated with anxiety, primarily separation anxiety from the owner. Other reasons may be marking the territory (both in males and females), urination as a manifestation of submission, due to overexcitation, fear, to attract attention. A behavioral medicine doctor will help you understand the intricacies of a dog's behavior

How can you help such a pet?

First of all, take them for a walk more often. During the period of toilet training with a puppy, you need to walk at least four times a day, and preferably more often. For the correct behavior on the street, one must praise, treat with a treat. Growing up, dogs clearly understand what the owner expects from them on a walk. But even with an adult dog, it is better to go out not two, but three times a day. Long patience is not physiological and can lead to health problems. In addition to "sanitary" functions, walking for a dog is communication with relatives, a surge of energy, exploring the territory and other people's marks. That is, physical and mental stress, which reduces the level of anxiety and excessive excitability, thereby contributing to normal behavior at home, including in the absence of the owner. Owners of dogs with whom even the simplest training is regularly engaged, the frequency of complaints of destructive behavior is much lower than in people with pets left to their own devices.

  • Aggression is a very common and most dangerous behavioral disorder in dogs, which, unfortunately, is not always manageable. Correctly identifying the causes of aggression is not an easy task even for a specialist.

Aggressiveness in dogs in general is species-typical behavior. Aggression in animals allows you to survive in a pack, get food, protect yourself and your puppies. In the conditions of life with a person, the aggression of a pet becomes absolutely unacceptable. The exception is working, police, hunting and shepherd dogs, in which adequate and appropriate aggression is a normal and indispensable condition of service.

Of course, in order to assess aggression, you need to carefully study the living conditions of the dog and understand the patterns of situations in which the pet becomes aggressive. For example, you should not allow children or strangers to climb into the “nest” of a recently born female or take a bone from a hungry male. Aggression in these situations is easily explained by typical species behavior. Dog owners should definitely learn typical aggression postures and explain this to their children. Bared teeth, hair rearing at the withers are the characteristic signals that the dog gives in advance, before attacking. There are also more subtle points worthy of separate discussion. In any case, a person and a dog, despite the proximity and coexistence, are different species with different behavior. For example, the sharp squeal of a child may be misinterpreted by the dog as a signal given by the victim. Conflict in this case is inevitable.

There are different types of aggression, depending on the cause. The most common are territorial aggression (when a dog defends its territory), dominance aggression (can be towards both people and animals), aggression associated with hormonal status (in a female protecting puppies or in males during a "dog wedding") , aggression associated with food, "cowardly" aggression associated with fear. As a rule, the latter type is explained by the increased anxiety of the companion dog and in reality, from the point of view of a person, nothing threatens her. Such behavior looks inadequate, can be dangerous for others and must be corrected by specialists - a dog handler and a behavioral medicine doctor.

  • Separation anxiety or separation syndrome. Another behavioral disorder in dogs that may be similar to human depression. Indeed, dogs with increased anxiety respond well to antidepressant treatment, suggesting a similar chemistry of these behavioral disorders. The symptoms of separation anxiety manifest themselves in the absence of the owner. It can be howling and barking, self-traumatization (obsessive licking of paws, for example), destruction of the apartment. There are methods for correcting this behavior, based on keeping the dog apart - first a short one, and then a longer one. Such upbringing requires patience and perseverance from the owner. For pharmacological support, a veterinarian should be consulted.

Do dogs get postpartum depression?

Childbirth in the animal world is a normal phenomenon. In a pack of dogs, a pregnant female is not considered sick or infirm, otherwise the animals would not be able to breed and maintain population numbers. In the animal kingdom, females who have given birth do not know the concept of depression.

In domestic dogs, it happens that the female, after giving birth, does not experience maternal instinct and rejects the puppies. This happens after a caesarean section, when the body is not hormonally ready for childbirth. Sometimes this happens after natural childbirth. The reason for this phenomenon in this case is not clear. However, it is known that this behavior can be inherited and repeated in the same female. Perhaps this is due to a violation of the biochemistry of the brain, in particular, with insufficient synthesis of neurotransmitters that affect the production of hormones responsible for maternal behavior. Such dogs should be excluded from breeding work.

Dog diet for behavioral disorders

The brain is the body's main energy consumer. And the pet takes energy from the food offered by the owner. Therefore, the importance of proper balanced dog nutrition cannot be overestimated. And a dog with behavioral disorders needs a special diet. This food is PRO PLAN® Veterinary Diets NC NeuroCare Complete Dietary Dry Food for adult and senior dogs to support brain function. The specially selected ingredients of this ketogenic diet improve brain function by providing an alternative source of nutrition. Medium Chain Triglycerides support pets with cognitive dysfunction and improve the quality of life of older dogs.

Another diet can be recommended for dogs older than seven years of age. This is PRO PLAN ® OPTIAGE ® for dogs over 7 years of medium and large breeds with chicken. An alternative source of brain nutrition ensures its full functioning in old age, preventing cognitive impairment. The complex of antioxidants slows down aging and ensures the playfulness and mobility of the pet even at the most respectable age.

Anxiety, behavioral disorders, disruptive behavior or depression - whatever we call these disorders in dogs, they can be corrected! Do not give up and give up if you find similar symptoms in your pet. Cynologists and veterinarians will help improve the condition of the dog, make your life together comfortable and return joy to it!

How dogs change their owners' lives: 4 true stories

It's so great to have a pet, and it's no wonder so many people get puppies. Dogs are loyal and loving animals that help their owners exercise, strengthen social bonds, and even boost their mood. If, after you got a dog, you thought, “Wow, my dog ​​changed my life,” know that you are not alone! Here are four stories from four incredible women whose lives were changed forever after they adopted a dog.

Help in overcoming fears

Meet Kayla and Odin

The first negative interaction with a dog can make you fear for life. If a person encounters an aggressive, ill-mannered animal and something goes wrong, they may develop fear and anxiety that are difficult to overcome. But this does not mean that the problem is insurmountable.

“When I was little, a dog bit me very hard on the face. He was an adult golden retriever and, by all accounts, the cutest dog in the area. I leaned over to pet him, but for some reason he didn't like it and bit me,” says Kayla. All my life I have been terrified of dogs. No matter what size or age or breed they were, I was just terrified.”

When Kayla's boyfriend Bruce tried to introduce her to his Great Dane puppy, she felt uncomfortable. However, the puppy didn't let Kayla's fears ruin their relationship before it could begin. “As the puppy grew, I began to understand that he knows my habits, knows that I'm scared, knows my rules, but still wants to be friends with me.” She fell in love with Bruce's dog, and a year later got her own puppy. “My life has completely changed because of this and I think it was the best decision I have ever made. My little puppy Odin is now almost three years old. Taking him was the best decision Bruce and I ever made. I love not only him, but every dog. I am that weird person at the dog park who will play and cuddle with literally every dog."

Looking for new hobbies

Meet Dory and Chloe

One decision can change your life in ways you didn't expect. When Dory was looking for the perfect dog, she didn't think it would change her life in so many ways. “When I took Chloe, she was nine and a half years old. I didn't know that saving older dogs was a whole mission. I just wanted an older, calmer dog,” says Dory. — The decision to adopt an elderly dog ​​completely turned my life around. I met a whole new community of friends both on social media and in real life. I tell people about the problems of older dogs who need a home, and I also help other animals find a home.”

Since Chloe's previous owner could no longer take care of her, Dory started an Instagram account about the dog's activities so that the previous family could follow her life, even from a distance. Dori says: “Chloe's Instagram quickly took off, and I became more active in dog rescue, especially older ones, when I learned about the status quo. When Chloe's Instagram hit 100,000 followers, she raised $5,000 for a very old or terminally ill animal family finder program — just one of the many ways our lives have changed. I ended up being so happier doing it that I quit my day job as a graphic designer and now work from home so I have a lot more time and energy for what Chloe and I do.”

“Working from home allowed me to adopt another older dog, Cupid. We spend most of our time talking about the challenges of rescuing older dogs, and especially focus on the problem of older Chihuahuas in shelters, where they often end up when their owners can no longer care for them. Before I had Chloe, I never felt like I was doing as much for society as I should. Now I feel that my life is really full of what I would like - I have a full house and a full heart, ”says Dory.

Career change

Sarah and Woody

Like Dory, Sarah became interested in animal welfare after adopting a dog from a shelter. “When I moved for work, I volunteered for a local animal rescue movement. I couldn't become an "overexposure" (meaning she had to keep a dog long enough for another family to adopt her) and kept an off-bred beagle, says Sarah, who already had two dogs she brought with her. — so

changed my life? I realized that the more I get involved with these dogs and the problem of homeless animals in the US, the more I get satisfaction from the relationship with dogs and from the work that I do for them - it's better than any job in marketing. So in my 50s, I radically changed jobs and went to study as a veterinary assistant in the hope of one day working with a national animal rescue organization. Yes, all because of this little half-breed beagle who sunk into my heart after he was sent back to the shelter because he was afraid to sit in the aviary.

Sarah is currently a student at Miller-Mott College and volunteers with Saving Grace NC and Carolina Basset Hound Rescue. She says: “When I looked back at my life and my place in it, I realized that I am very close to people who are involved in saving and caring for animals. Nearly all of the friends I've made since I left New York in 2010 are people I've met through rescue groups or families who have adopted dogs I've looked after. It's very personal, very motivating, and once I made the decision to step off the corporate track entirely, I've never been happier. I went to school and enjoy going to class. This is the most fundamental experience I have ever had.

In two years, when I finish my studies, I will be able to take my dogs, pack my things and go to places where the animals need my help. And I plan to do this for the rest of my life.”

Leave abusive relationships behind

Meet Jenna and Dany

Life changed radically for Jenna long before she got a dog. “A year after my divorce from my abusive husband, I still had a lot of mental health issues. I could wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, thinking that he was at my house. I walked down the street, constantly looking over my shoulder or flinching at the slightest sound, I had an anxiety disorder, depression and PTSD. I took medication and went to a therapist, but it was still difficult for me to go to work. I was destroying myself,” says Jenna.

Someone suggested that she get a dog to help her adjust to her new life. "I thought it was the worst idea: I couldn't even take care of myself." But Jenna adopted a puppy named Dany - after Daenerys from the "Game of Thrones", although, as Jenna says, she usually calls her Dan.

Life began to change again with the arrival of a puppy in her house.

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