Can Dogs Be Retarded? Or Mentally Challenged?

Any living being that has a brain can suffer from a mental disease.

Having said that, each dog, no matter what species it is, can become retarded or mentally challenged at any time during their lives. How multiple mental disorders exist in humans, dogs pretty much have the same diseases with similar severities, if not more. 

Since animals can’t speak, they can’t tell us what they want or what they feel. Apart from the fact that most dog owners overlook the possibility of having a dog’s mental disease, it is even harder to notice the signs of mental turmoil in any dog. 

However, most animals can receive mental challenges from their parents. It means genetics has a lot to do with how every animal functions, both mentally and physically. 

Rec to take your pup to a good vet to recognize any mental illness signs and symptoms. 

On the other hand, this article speaks about some common mental health disorders found in dogs. By the end of the article, you will know what you can do about it to help your canine friend live a happy life. 

What Are The Common Mental Illnesses Found In Dogs?

A dog’s mental disorder does not mean it will lash out, chase, or bite you. Not every dog becomes aggressive when it is mentally challenged. 

In fact, a minimal number of dogs act this way.

Conversely, most dogs show subtle signs of mental disorders. Those signs can quickly go unnoticed if you don’t understand what these signs mean or have newly adopted a dog with no prior experience nurturing one. 

Here is a list of common mental problems a dog can face and what you can do about it. 


Depression can affect a dog as much as it affects a human. Even the signs of depression in a dog, as well as a human, are the same. Your poodle will no longer take an active part during the day. 

They may become lazier than ever, and everything that once excited them will not excite them anymore. Your dog can also have a reduced appetite. Suddenly, your dog will become fussier about what you feed them. 

They will run away from whatever you put in front of them, or they will no more devour their favorite food. 

You may also notice your dog becoming skinnier. It means they are losing weight and may shed hair because of not taking proper food to maintain health or shiny coats.


What you can do is to help your dog socialize more with other dogs. You can take them to friends or relatives who have pet dogs, too. Allow them to blend with other dogs, and you should show more love and affection towards them. 

As a dog owner, you can treat milder symptoms of depression. However, you will have to visit a doctor in cases of severe depression, where all your strategies couldn’t work.

Separation Anxiety

Dogs want your attention all the time. It is understandable why they suffer from separation anxiety as you leave for work or when they have to leave their home. 

This type of anxiety is commonly found in dogs. They may become frantic and lose control if they do not see you around. You may come back home to a messy living room because your dog toppled everything and left bite marks everywhere. 


The best recommendation is to leave your dog with a neighbor, family, or friend. If this deems difficult for you, you can always leave something behind to keep them occupied, such as treats or toys to spend their time with. 

It would help if you also tried training your dog. It will teach them to learn your routine and prepare themselves for your departure. 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

If you have adopted a stray dog from a shelter house, your dog will likely have PTSD. It is a kind of stress that develops over time when a dog has been mentally and physically abused multiple times before. 

It results in your dog becoming extremely anxious and stressed when they encounter minutely similar situations. 

All the bad events of their life are imprinted in their minds. So when they find themselves in such situations, they fear it will happen again even if they are safe with you. Their brain alerts them for a possible stress factor, which is why they start acting out and become aggressive. 

They will try to do everything in their power to get out of that situation or place. 


This time you will have to take your poor guy to a vet. You may not be able to help your friend in this matter. 

Fortunately, it is not hard to treat PTSD in dogs. Your dog’s vet will prescribe you some medications that will alter the way chemicals work in the brain to keep them calmer during such events. 

You will have to train your dog to comply with medications for them to become significantly better than before.  

Final Word

Dogs are the most loyal friends any human can ever have. It is vital to assist your little guy as much as they care about you. You need to help your dog during these tough challenges they face and observe or understand any behavioral changes. 

Since your poodle can’t speak, you can only suspect something is wrong when you find them behaving out of the ordinary. 

Don’t let your furry friend battle such illnesses on their own. If you want to have them around you for long, make sure they live a boisterous life. 

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