Home Dogs The Bark Side of Dog Postpartum Depression

The Bark Side of Dog Postpartum Depression

by victoriavadenking
0 comment 15 minutes read
dog postpartum depression

Navigating postpartum depression can be extremely hard because you’re just trying to get back to a sense of “normal.”

But even still, you’ve just welcomed your precious baby into the world.

The joy is palpable, the love, indescribable, but alongside, there’s a sneaky, indistinct gloom that’s cast its shadows too.

Yep, that’s the infamous postpartum period tiptoeing into your life.

Sometimes it’s your spouse getting the backlash from your mood swings.

Add a four-legged furball into this scenario, and we have a new beast to grapple with: Dog Postpartum Depression.

This post is all about dog postpartum depression.

dog postpartum depression
Once used for dog fighting, I rescued Cody at the age of 5 from the SPCA.

A Dog’s Tale Turned Sour

Let me tell you about Cody, my 13-year-old ball of sunshine who had been my partner-in-crime for years.

He was a bundle of joy, one-eyed wonder (yes, he had surgery and rocked his look like a champion), and my first fur “kid.”

His back legs had a mind of their own, often giving way or making him lose balance, but nothing dimmed his infectious enthusiasm for life.

Cody was, without a doubt, a resilient warrior.

But then, my life’s pendulum swung to a different rhythm with the arrival of Mariah, my second bundle of joy.

It’s like the world went off-kilter for a while.

dog postpartum depression
We brought home Mariah in 2019…and Cody greeted her with wet poop all over the floor.

Baby Vs. Dog: Was it Cody’s Depression or Mine?

Suddenly, Cody, my good old boy, seemed like a different dog.

He would leave not-so-lovely surprises (I’m talking about poop here, people!) in places that made us gasp, and let out a growl that could make your blood curdle.

He would poop strategically on the floor as if it were some covert protest and would pee on her rocker and car seat intentionally.

He started growling at anyone who dared to hold Mariah and walk near him.

Even his bond with Avera, his canine sister with whom he used to share the spacious mudroom, was strained.

I was constantly living in fear, worried that I had made the wrong decision by keeping Cody around my newborn.

Oh, and the molting!

Clumps of fur that could easily be mistaken for a DIY rug project gone wrong.

His fur started shedding excessively, unlike anything I had seen before.

It reminded me of a scene straight out of “I Am Legend” where Will Smith’s dog starts transforming into a zombie.

In the midst of all these changes, I couldn’t help but wonder: Was Cody going through some sort of dog postpartum depression?

Or was my own postpartum clouding my judgment, painting my normally cheerful Cody in monstrous colors?

dog postpartum depression
Cody absolutely adored Mya and took it upon himself to check on her every few minutes while she napped.

Pooping, Peeing and Growling Against the Newcomer

It was a battle, yall.

One side of me was ridden with guilt, questioning my choices and fearing for my newborn’s safety.

The other half was clinging to memories of the happy, generally healthy dog that Cody used to be.

The dog postpartum depression – or what seemed like it – was causing my world to swirl in confusion.

It came down to one heart-wrenching decision, just before Mother’s Day.

The decision to let Cody rest, to free him from his sudden outbursts, his physical pain.

I can tell you this: there’s no pain quite like saying that final goodbye to your furkid.

Through my journey, I learned that dog postpartum depression, although not an officially recognized term in veterinary medicine, can manifest in a myriad of ways.

The sudden aggression, Cody’s apparent disinterest in his dog sister, Avera, and his abnormal shedding all pointed toward significant changes that required attention.

postpartum emotions
When he had our son (our third child), Avera started chewing anything of his leaving perfect holes.

Dog-Proofing for Babies: A Survival Guide for Stressed-out Parents

Now, I know you’re probably wondering:

How can you help your dog adjust to a newborn?

To clear any confusion: yes, I did have to put down, Cody for fear of him attacking my youngest (or anyone for that matter).

However, I made my decision based on his overall health, age, new temperament, and behavior towards my baby…

And his past behaviors prior to my adopting him (he was used for fighting which landed him in the SPCA when I first laid eyes on him).

However, based on my personal experiences and what I learned along the way, here are some strategies that helped Cody welcome Mya, my oldest when she was a newborn:

  1. Gradual Introduction: Introduce the baby’s scent to your dog before the actual face-to-face meeting. This can be done using the baby’s blanket or clothing. It helps your dog get accustomed to the new member’s scent.
  2. Setting Boundaries: Set boundaries for your dog, establishing areas where they can and cannot go. This helps create a safe space for your baby and makes it clear to your dog.
  3. Positive Association: Associate the presence of the baby with positive things for your dog, like treats and praise. This builds a positive association in your dog’s mind between the baby and good experiences.
  4. Addressing Problematic Behavior: The doorbell or the subtle sound of someone at the door can result in several tears from your newborn (and you) especially if during naptime. Training your dog to bark silently (or to be “silently alert”) is hard, but once you crack it, your dog will be easy to handle.
  5. Maintain Routine: As much as possible, try to keep your dog’s routine the same. This includes their walk times, meal times, and playtimes. Dogs are creatures of habit, and maintaining their routine can help lessen the stress of the new arrival.
  6. Give Attention: Ensure your dog still receives enough attention and love. The arrival of a newborn can take up a lot of your time, but your fur baby still needs to feel loved and valued.
dog postpartum depression
Cody may not have been fond of Mariah, but Takoda is obsessed with her.

From Motherhood to Mutt-ernity

Looking back, I wish I’d recognized these signs sooner.

Had I realized it, I might’ve sought help earlier to understand Cody’s behavior.

This entire experience brought the reality of postpartum depression to the forefront, both in humans and dogs.

It’s a conversation that needs more light, more voices.

Cody might’ve passed on, but his memory lingers on.

Every Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of my first fur baby, of the love and the struggles we shared.

The pain has eased, but it’s a memory I cherish, a memory that has shaped my understanding of love, loss, and motherhood.

dog postpartum depression
Takoda and Avera are my fur kids, but I’m grateful for Cody since he made me a better dawg mahm.

This post was all about dog postpartum depression.

Dog postpartum depression is a real deal, and if you’re sailing the same boat, know that you’re not alone.

I was not prepared for postpartum emotions.

It’s tricky, it’s complex, but hey, we’re powerhouses, aren’t we?

For all you superwomen out there, juggling babies and fur babies, remember, this too shall pass.

Especially if giving up is not an option for you either!

It will take time if you’re currently feeling unexpectedly similar.

But, I hope these tips helped you to navigate such an awful feeling that will honestly pass in time.

It will not be easy.

Sometimes you will find everything not working, but don’t give up.

Keep your spirits high, keep the conversation going, and above all, remember to shower some love on yourself too.

For more dawg mahm content, make sure to check out these posts below or follow our life story on Instagram

Let’s face these realities together, one step at a time.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

victoria vaden

a diaper duties mom blog


victoria vaden king

Victoria Vaden

Original YouTuber when ‘viral’ was just a flu symptom. My English degree qualified me to tell stories (the good kind). So, I'm sharing the not-so-normal reality of motherhood and marriage.

victoria vaden king family

My Story

DYEM is for the not-so-perfect, spit-up-stained, smile-through-anything moms out there looking for sanity. Motherhood is messy and full of mistakes. You'll find plenty of that here.

Recent Posts

@2022 u2013 All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by PenciDesign.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Adblock Detected

Ad-free? I wish I could block laundry that way. Happy you're here!