Is your dog down in the dumps? If you’re in the U.K., there’s a 25 percent chance that your dog is depressed, according to the makers of a soon-to-be released documentary.
The documentary, “Home Alone Dogs,” takes a look at how dogs cope with being left alone for long periods of time. The filmmakers found that one in four dogs is depressed, and that some of the canines even resort to self-harm over separation anxiety.
“For some dogs the consequences can be shocking, including pacing and spinning on the spot,” a spokesman for “Home Alone Dogs” told the Daily Mail. “Others were seen barking and howling for long periods, defecating and even self-harming.”
There are 8 million dogs in Britain, meaning that about 2 million of them are depressed, according to the filmmakers. “Home Along Dogs” in set to air on Britain’s Channel 4 later this year.
Dr. John Bradshaw, a dog expert and author of “In Defence Of Dogs: Why Dogs Need Our Understanding,” couldn’t speak to those exact figures on the amount of dogs who are depressed in the U.K., but he did tell the Daily Mail that dogs have a strong connection to their owners. He said some dogs believe that when their owner leaves, it’s for good.
“Dogs have a very powerful link to humans. You can train a dog to do all sorts of things and understand our gestures,” he said. “We expect to turn all that off by saying [to our dogs], “We’re going out – relax, have a kip [nap], chew a bone, we’ll be back soon. They don’t understand that.”
Dr. Nicola Rooney of the University of Bristol veterinary school said just because a dog appears happy doesn’t mean they are. She said they can have high levels of stress hormones without outwardly showing it.
“There are dogs who are quiet, but when you look at their physiological stress they are affected as well. We don’t want owners to say, ‘My dogs is suffering but I’m working long hours and can’t do anything about it.’ There are strategies that can be used.”