Do Staffies Get Depressed? [DOG ANXIETY EXPLAINED]

We always tend to think of our Staffies as happy-go-lucky; nothing can faze them types of dogs, at least I think that way. But can it be that dogs get just as depressed and a bit fed up with life at times, just like us humans? 

It seems so, and when certain things happen in a Staffy’s life, it can turn their world, well, pretty much upside down; when this happens, your Staffy might get a touch of anxiety and, even worse, might get full-blown depression.

So why do Staffies get depressed? Do you know if your Staffy is depressed or just having a bad couple of days? Here’s what you should know about a Staffy’s depression.

Why Does My Staffy Seem Depressed?

What is known for sure is all dogs, including Staffies, experience numerous emotions, from being sad to happy and thrilled and, yes, to being depressed. In fact, the tell-tale signs of Staffy and dog depression are typically similar to how humans show depression.

There are several reasons why your Staffy might get depressed. For example, significant life changes can bring on a bout of depression. Such as moving the family to a new house, bringing home an additional pet, routines suddenly changing ( the stay-at-home mum starting a new job), or it could be down to a stressful incident.

While seeing your Staffy down in the dumps is upsetting enough, it would be a good idea to take them over to your vet for a check-up. Sometimes depression can be a side issue to an underlying health condition that you aren’t aware of but needs immediate attention.

Plus, there’s no harm in letting your vet give your Staffy a thorough check over, and at the same time, you can discuss your pup’s state of mind with your vet and get their advice.

Runa (Staffordshire Bull Terrier) looking grumpy

Staffy Depression: Signs and Symptoms

So how can you tell if your Staffy is experiencing a bout of depression?

Unexpected Aggression

Because your Staffy might be depressed doesn’t necessarily mean they show signs of sadness. Staffies are typically one of the most family-oriented and lovable dogs on the planet. If, for no apparent reason, they start being destructive or growling at people they bump into on walks or, even worse, you and your family, this definitely might be a sign of depression.

Aggression, especially from a Staffy who is typically laid-back and calm, can mean the dog is in pain. Your vet needs to look to determine if a physical injury or something else is causing the pain.

Sleep Issues

Sleep issues can either be not wanting to sleep or sleeping more than usual. Often this can be difficult to determine, especially because dogs in general love sleeping. But if anyone knows their Staffy, it’s you, and you’ll instinctively know when they are not behaving normally.

If you find your Staffy pacing at night and restless or when you arrive home, you’re not being greeted with the usual amount of enthusiasm; something is probably wrong and needs investigating.

Sleepless Runa

Loss Of Appetite

Loss of appetite is one of the first signs that something is not right with your Staffy in many cases. Dogs love their food and treats and rarely turn their noses up.

That’s not to say they can’t get bored with their food, but if it continues for several days and you notice it’s affecting your dog’s weight, then you need to take action.

Zero Interest In Going Out

Staffies love to go outside for walks to play and get the exercise they need for body and soul. If suddenly you see a significant change in your Staffy’s attitude to going for walks or they will not engage in games or any of the outdoor activities you used to get up to, then there’s an underlying issue.

How Can I Help My Staffy with Anxiety?

While the above signs don’t necessarily mean your Staffy is depressed, it could be some medical condition causing these signs. Either way, they bear some investigation, and that means talking or visiting your vet.

If you and your vet have discounted any physical problems, for example, arthritis pain can cause similar symptoms to depression, then it’s time for you to see how you can help your Staffy.

  • Try taking your Staffy for an early morning walk. I don’t know what time you like to take your first walk of the day, but sometimes it can help if you get up a little earlier and walk your Staffy.
  • Try to spend some extra quality time with your Staffy. Perhaps you’ve been working long hours, and maybe your Staffy is sad because you’re not around as much. You might also want to spend the extra time outside with your Staffy.
  • Offer your Staffy a new experience. For example, visit somewhere new where you and your Staffy have never been. See if new sights and experiences can stimulate the dog’s senses and get enthusiasm levels up again.
  • Bring some very special treats when you take the dog somewhere new or even on your regular walks together. Something you know the dog will love but not something they have had before, or at least they only rarely get offered. When you give your Staffy the treat, try to praise and lavish some special attention on the dog. It might help them associate a special treat with a happy time.
  • Dogs, especially Staffies, get bored quickly with toys. In fact, toys don’t last long with a Staffy’s mighty jaws. It’s amazing how much pleasure a Staffy gets from chewing and playing with a toy, but mainly chewing. Read this article for some excellent ideas on indestructible toys for Staffies.
  • Is it possible your Staffy could be lonely? Are you out at work most of the day? Dogs are social animals, and they want to interact with people and sometimes other animals. Would it work for you to get your Staffy a friend? It might not be convenient to bring another dog or puppy into your home. However, it’s something you might consider because your Staffy could just be a lonely dog.

Are Staffies Prone to Separation Anxiety?

This question leads me to another reason why you’re Staffy is sad and depressed. Spending too long away from your Staffy is not suitable for these dogs.

Staffies become very attached to their family and suffer from separation anxiety. They might look like toughies, but inside they are incredibly soft.

If you have a well-balanced Staffy leaving them at home alone for a couple of hours here and there isn’t something to worry about. However, when a dog becomes so attached to its family, in the way Staffies do, it is bound to depress and sadden the dog.

Toffee (American Staffordshire Terrier) looking unmotivated

Final Thoughts

There are canine medications that your vet might suggest in a way to help your Staffy, and as a last resort, it might be something you’ll need to do to improve your Staffy’s life. However, I would prefer to exhaust all other avenues to cheer the dog up before resorting to antidepressants.

Lifestyle changes can make a massive difference to any dog’s outlook, and if you jump into medication too quickly, you’ll never determine what actually worked for your Staffy.

Brad Davenport

Brad has spent his entire life surrounded by dogs and has owned all sorts of breeds, including Dachshunds, Great Danes, French Bulldogs and he currently has a little Hasanese called Biscuit. Brad is an experienced dog writer who is obsessed by canine health, care and psychology and has completed several courses on dog care and training.

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