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7 Ways To Tell If Your Schnauzer Is Depressed + Helpful Tips

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Just like people, dogs handle being sad in ways that are unique to them. If your schnauzer has been acting differently lately, you might be wondering if they’re depressed. It can be difficult to know if they’re simply being lazy, or if they’re feeling depressed.

Do Schnauzers Get Depressed:

Schnauzers can get depressed and will demonstrate symptoms similar to those experienced by people. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, low or reduced activity levels, lack of enjoyment from things they usually love, and compulsive behaviors such as excessive self-soothing, or oversleeping.

In this post you’ll discover:

  • What might potentially be causing your schnauzer to be depressed
  • 7 indicators your schnauzer is feeling depressed
  • How to tell the difference between a lazy schnauzer and a depressed schnauzer
  • As well as helpful tips to bring them out of their slump

Tip #4 has the potential to bring them out of their funk in a few short days.

Let’s jump right in.

Potential Causes Of Schnauzer Depression


If a loved one has recently passed, may that be another dog or a person, your schnauzer could be griefing.

It’s been proven that dog’s are just as capable of mourning the loss of a loved one as humans.

So if a family member or close friend of your schnauzer has passed in the past few days, weeks or even months, this could be the cause of their depression.

A study done in 2016 found that dogs (and cats) could have behavioral differences for 6 months after the loss of a loved one.


If your schnauzer was recently injured and is unable to do basic things on their own, this could cause them to slip into depression.

Very similarly to how a person can become depressed when healing from an injury.

They aren’t able to do simple things they’d normally do throughout the day and also can’t do activities they love.

This has negative effects on their mental state which can cause them to feel depressed.

Change In Living Situation

It’s not just people that don’t like change!

Dog’s can also be unhappy about a change which makes them become depressed.

If you and your schnauzer moved into a different home this change in environment could be the culprit behind their depression.

Their normal routine is thrown out of whack and they haven’t gotten used to their new living situation which upsets them.

You Yourself Are Depressed

Your schnauzer may be picking up on your negative feelings/emotions and it’s making them sad too.

Studies have shown that dogs can actually smell your emotional state and have it affect their own mood.

So if you’re depressed and feeling down around your pup, they may start to become depressed as well.

It could also be that they aren’t getting the attention they’d normally get when you’re happy which is making them feel upset.

7 Indicators Your Schnauzer May Be Depressed

1) Loss Of Appetite

A recent study was done that found 36% of dogs had a decrease in appetite when mourning the loss of a canine companion.

11% of dogs refuse to eat entirely.

So if one of your furry friends unfortunately has passed recently and your schnauzer has stopped eating, this could be an indicator they’re mourning the loss of their friend.

Another study done with 159 dogs in 2016 found that after the loss of an animal companion the dogs in the study ate 35% less food as well as 31% slower.

Related Reading: 8 Reasons Why Schnauzers Get So Skinny + 4 Helpful Tips

2) Inactivity

If your schnauzer is feeling depressed you might notice particularly higher levels of inactivity.

General feelings of being sluggish, not interested in getting up to eat or drink or even chase after a toy when thrown.

If it seems like your schnauzer is almost going out of their way to be inactive, they could be depressed.

3) Being Distant

Similar to people when they feel depressed, your schnauzer may act standoffish and distance themselves from you and the rest of your family.

You may notice them hiding out in places that they wouldn’t typically spend time.

Pets WebMD shared a case where a dog started spending a lot of time in the closet as well as behind a big mirror after their other canine companion died.

They simply wanted to be alone and not bothered by anyone while mourning.

If you notice your schnauzer spending time in odd places they don’t normally hang around they may be depressed.

4) Not Enjoying Things They Normally Do

If you throw your schnauzer’s favorite toy and they stay put, uninterested…

Or, you say the word, “walk!” or “car ride!” which normally puts them over-the-moon excited, but not anymore, it could be depression.

If a dog is suddenly not interested in doing the things they normally love doing, this is one of the more obvious signs that something’s wrong.

5) Being More Clingy Than Usual

The direct opposite of attempting to distance themselves, some dog’s deal with depression when mourning by being extra clingy.

They want more of your attention because they don’t want to keep feeling sad, and your attention makes them happy.

So if you’re noticing more nose pokes trying to get you to pet them, more sitting on top of you, or being vocal in an attempt to get your attention, this could be their way of coping.

Related Reading: 11 Reasons Why Your Schnauzer Is So Clingy And Needy

6) Sleep Irregularity

The same study done with 159 dogs in 2016 found that in addition to eating less & more slowly, they also slept 34% more.

While it’s normal for dogs to sleep more than people, it’s not normal for them to sleep almost all day.

So if you notice they’re sleeping even more than they normally do, and you’ve recently moved or you lost a loved one, their sleeping could be a sign of deep sadness.

Also, insomnia could show up in a depressed dog but it’s much less likely than over sleeping.

7) Compulsive Behavior

Excessive self-soothing can also be an indicator your schnauzer is battling with depression.

Whether it’s excessive licking, pacing, being more whiney/vocal, sucking, or chewing on items (or owners).

If your pup is doing anything in excess something is likely bothering them and it could be depression.

Related Reading: 9 Reasons Why Your Schnauzer Whines & Cries So Much

Tips To Help Pull Your Schnauzer Out Of Depression

1) Do More Of The Things They Love

Make an effort to do more of the things they really love.

Whether that’s more car rides, trips to the dog park, adventurous hikes, playtime with their favorite toy, or more walks.

The more they’re distracted and enjoying the present moment with you, the less they’ll be thinking about what’s got them so sad in the first place.

Making extra time for your schnauzer while they’re feeling depressed is a great way to help them get back to normal.

2) Be More Affectionate & Engaging

I’m sure you’re already quite affectionate with your schnauzer.

But make an effort to be even more affectionate.

Make a point of petting them more, finding more time to cuddle, making eye contact with them and chatting with them.

When you engage with them and essentially narrate what you’re doing around the house to them you’re helping soothe them.

Your voice, eye contact and physical contact have been proven to increase the happy hormone (oxytocin) in your pup.

So the more you can do these things, the better they’ll feel.

3) Give Them More Structure/Routine

An idle mind is often dangerous, even for a dog.

This is why structure and routine can be beneficial in pulling them out of their depression.

Making sure they have things to do throughout the day will keep their mind on the present as opposed to the past or what’s missing.

It also gives them things they know they can look forward to.

4) Think About Bringing Home Another Furry Friend

If you and your schnauzer lost a canine companion, don’t rush into bringing home another pet.

This could potentially add more stress to their situation rather than curing their depression.

However, it can be a great way to bring a depressed pup out of their slump.

A solution that a vet from Pet WebMD tried when she lost one of her beloved dogs was to adopt a dog for a week.

Her pup, Terrace, was acting very distant and unmotivated after her furry brother passed but when she brought a foster dog home, Terrace bounced back quite quickly.

Within a week Terrace was back to normal and as happy as can be.

Related Reading: Schnauzers Get Along With Other Dogs? 11 Breeds Reviewed

5) Take Them To The Vet

Taking your schnauzer to the vet to have them looked at is never a bad idea.

What you might think is depression could be an underlying health issue that’s causing them to behave differently.

Taking them to the vet can give you peace of mind here in two ways.

One, the vet will find something wrong with their health and give them the necessary treatment/medication to help them recover.

Two, you find out their health is fine and they may just need time to overcome their funk.

As the saying goes, time heals all wounds.

[Nothing brings peace of mind quite like speaking with a vet – click here to chat with a vet online now]


How To Tell If a Schnauzer Is Depressed Or Simply Lazy?

A surefire way to tell between a lazy schnauzer and a depressed schnauzer is by seeing if they’re up for doing things they typically love doing.

Car rides. Walks. Fetch in the backyard. Special treats.

If as soon as you bring them to do an activity they love they perk up, they’re probably just being lazy.

If they have no interest in doing the things they’ve always loved to do, they could be depressed.

How Do You Cheer Up a Depressed Schnauzer?

Cheering up a depressed schnauzer can be challenging.

For some, they simply need time in order to start feeling themselves again.

Other things you can try are doing more things they love to do, be even more affectionate with them than you normally are, speak to them more, give them more structure or consider bringing home another dog.

Other posts you might find interesting:

13 Reasons Why Schnauzers Are Good Family Dogs + Tips

12 Surprising Ways Schnauzers Show Affection (#3 Is Funny)

11 Reasons Why Schnauzers Lick & Chew Their Paws + Tips


Do Dogs Mourn?

Depression in Dogs

Owners’ Perceptions of Their Animal’s BehaviouralResponse to the Loss of an Animal Companion

Dogs Smell Your Emotional State and It Affects Their Mood

Compulsive Disorders in Dogs

Oxytocin-Gaze Positive Loop and the Coevolution of Human-Dog Bonds

Psychosocial and Psychophysiological Effects of Human-Animal Interactions: The Possible Role of Oxytocin