Countless studies have shown us how our phones are making us depressed. But not only is spending hours scrolling and staring at a screen damaging your mental health, research shows it’s also making your dog sad. A recent study from the UK revealed that dogs are experiencing depression from being ignored by their smartphone-consumed humans. People are paying more attention to their phones than their dogs and it’s damaging the emotional bond leaving pups feeling isolated and lonely. Iain Booth, veterinary surgeon and founder of VetUk told Metro.co.uk, “to understand what’s going on we have to look at the basic principles of how a dog interacts physically and emotionally with a human.”
Booth says that dogs are social creatures, “A pack animal. And to the dog you are the bonafide leader of the pack. You administer every facet of its life -- you collect, you feed, you show it where it’s allowed to go and you hopefully nurture its development. But if you are perpetually attached to your phone, that vital bond breaks down and the dog is hit for six.” Dogs require consistent, frequent interaction and feedback. Literally and figuratively, they look up to you! And constantly ignoring your dog for your phone will lead to behavioral issues.
There is such a thing as doggy depression and it can manifest in different ways. “Warning signs to look out for are a lack of interest in food, the dog sleeping more, they’ll hide from you or avoid you, and they might start excessively licking or chewing their paws to soothe themselves,” says Booth. The best thing you can do is to put your phone down and channel your dog. Meaning, be present. A dog’s mind never strays from the now. Refocus on what’s right in front of you (Your dog!) and go play IRL.