What are the “puppy blues”, when the arrival of a puppy rhymes with depression ?

What are the "puppy blues", when the arrival of a puppy rhymes with depression ?

Puppy blues are a transient change in mood that occurs in the days following the arrival of the puppy. Marcus Lindstrom/Getty Images

Getting a puppy is not necessarily easy. Because these little animals have needs, like any baby. Puppy owners may therefore feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the responsibility weighing on their shoulders. And experience a real "puppy blues", according to a Finnish study.

Researchers affiliated with the University of Helsinki noted the existence of this phenomenon after collecting testimonies from around a hundred dog owners, who had experienced emotional upheaval after having welcomed a puppy into their home. They used these statements to create a questionnaire on the "puppy blues” to which more than 2000 masters responded.

The "puppy blues" results in a transient change in mood that occurs in the days following the arrival of the puppy. Symptoms mainly manifest as anxiety, frustration and exhaustion. "These emotions often appear simultaneously, but in some cases, one or two of them may be more prominent", explains Aada Ståhl, co-author of the study, in a press release.

Owners who take in a puppy are often overwhelmed by the arrival of this new “child”. They must on the one hand carry out all the administrative procedures inherent to the purchase or adoption of a doggie, and arrange their home accordingly. So many steps that can become a significant source of stress. Especially since once the puppy is home, everything does not always go as we had imagined. This newcomer may be disturbed by all the changes he experiences, which causes him to remain on guard. Enough to destabilize his master.

Not inevitable

In this context, we understand why puppy owners can temporarily suffer from "puppy blues". "A little less than half of the owners [we surveyed] say they experienced negative emotions when they welcomed their puppy, and only 10% of them reported the highest levels of stress . This corresponds to the prevalence of postnatal depression, says Hannes Lohi, professor of bio-veterinary sciences at the University of Helsinki, in the same press release.

Luckily, the "puppy blues" is not inevitable. Hannes Lohi and his colleagues noticed that dog owners who experienced it do not necessarily have bad memories of it. As if they only kept the good ones.

This study published in is one of the first devoted to "puppy blues", although this phenomenon has been known to dog owners for a long time. It demonstrates the difficulties that owners may encounter when a puppy arrives in their home, in order to help them better understand this particular form of parenting.

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