The Truth About Puppy Blues

Owning a dog is great for your mental health, from lowering depression to busting stress. Studies have shown how furry friends can increase positive emotions and overall well-being, just by being their cute and curious selves.

You may be surprised, then, to notice some negative feelings popping up after rescuing or buying your pooch. Owning a new dog can trigger sadness and overwhelm you in your first few weeks together. If you've experienced this, you're not alone and there's a name to describe your feelings: the puppy blues.

The puppy blues are also sometimes called postpartum puppy depression because even if you didn't birth your dog yourself, the emotional sensations can be similar to what parents experience after having a baby. And no, you don't have to have an actual puppy to experience the puppy blues; pet owners may deal with it after taking in an older dog too.

According to The Mirror, it's normal to feel more depressed or anxious than usual after getting a dog. You might be irritable and overwhelmed by the demands of your new tail-wagging family member. Many dog owners are surprised to find that rather than having an easygoing pal to go on walks or cuddle with, they now have a messy, confused, and sometimes, anxious pet — something that is common when adopting a rescue in particular.

All this overwhelm may even force you to consider giving up your dog soon after welcoming them into your family.

Thinking of returning your new dog? Not so fast

Puppy blues can push you into some tough feelings, especially if you're not used to caring for a being as helpless as a dog. Particularly for pups that are scared or unsure after their adoption, they may be difficult to work with, showing signs of separation anxiety, nervousness, and even aggression. And if you're working tirelessly to bond with and train your new dog, you may begin to wonder when to throw in the towel.

Before you return Fido to the shelter or pet store, it's best to wait until the puppy blues have subsided to decide if you two are really a bad fit after all. Choosing Therapy notes that the puppy blues doesn't last forever, and many of the initial shocks of owning your dog will go away after a few months. If you're in severe emotional distress, unable to function, or feeling anxious about problems unrelated to your pooch, talk to a therapist or mental health professional.

In most cases, there's no need to regret your decision to get a dog if it doesn't immediately go well. Give it time, continue getting to know your furry friend, and ask for a helping hand when things feel out of control.