Signs & Symptoms of Postpartum Depression in Female Dogs

By Sarah DeWitt Ince

Postpartum depression can occur in female dogs after the delivery of puppies. The depression can set in quickly or take several weeks. If your dog has depression, she may exhibit signs of sadness and lethargy. She will lose interest in her puppies, and she may even refuse to nurse them. In some cases, female dogs suffering from depression will also become aggressive with their puppies.

Loss of Appetite

Loss of appetite is a sign of postpartum depression. Your dog may show less interest in food and water. She may not even respond to treats that she would normally crave. Encourage your dog to eat and help her care for her pups. She needs to eat so she can make milk for her nursing pups. If she continues to refuse food, feed her pet food supplements through a syringe. If she continues to show signs of depression, talk to your veterinarian about medications to help her cope.

Lack of Interest in Puppies

A female dog with postpartum depression may show a lack of interest in her puppies. She will avoid grooming them and push them away when they try to nurse. She may refuse to nurse all of her pups. If this happens, breeders feed the puppies with supplemental milk through a syringe or bottle.

Sleeping Excessively

All female dogs sleep a lot after having puppies, but if your dog is sleeping excessively, she might be suffering from postpartum depression. This might last for a few days or weeks depending on the severity of her condition. All dogs are different, and some dogs are able to recover quickly from the hormone surges that come after pregnancy.