Your dog’s ears are drooped and they’re staring at you with the most soulful eyes imaginable. You’re not sure what you did or what’s going on but your dog looks sad. You want to correct it but you’re not sure how.
It’s not like you can ask them what’s wrong and like with humans, there are a million reasons why your dog might be feeling blue. We’re going to go over these reasons with you.
To help you get your dog back to their chipper self, check out this guide to learn the ins and outs of puppy sadness and depression including symptoms and a list of common causes.
Can Dogs Be Depressed?
There’s no telling if dogs can suffer through depression to the extent that humans do. We can’t ask them therefore it’s hard to figure out.
It is true that dogs can experience sadness. It’s not often that dogs stay in this kind of funk for very long though.
Symptoms that Your Dog is Sad
Dogs act a lot like humans do when they’re depressed. They’ll stay off to themselves. They won’t be as active or play with their toys like they normally do.
Their sleep and eating habits will start to change. They won’t have as much gusto when it’s time to go for walks.
Keep in mind that these symptoms don’t always point to puppy depression. They could have a serious medical issue going on. For example, your dog won’t want to go for a walk if they have arthritis.
Before you diagnose them with depression yourself, reach out to their vet to get a second opinion.
1. They’re Lonely
Now that you know what dog depression looks like, let’s go over why they may be sad. The most common cause is loneliness. If you have a demanding work schedule your pupper might be faced with spending eight-plus hours in your house or apartment alone.
This is over eight hours where they get no pets, love, attention, playtime, or walks. Considering that dogs are social creatures, that’s enough to send them into a funk. The problem is that you can’t control your work schedule.
What you can do is try to come home during your lunch breaks to give your dog some attention. If that’s out of the cards, consider having a friend or loved one come over to check on the dog while you’re gone.
2. Insufficient Exercise
It’s important that your dog gets some kind of exercise each day. It’s also important that some of this exercise involves emotional stimulation as well as physical. Your dog will enjoy running around in your fenced in yard but it’s not the same if you’re not there with them to throw a ball.
Also, make sure some of their exercise involves walking around on a leash with you. They enjoy the sights and smells.
3. Death of a Loved One
This one is a little harder to treat because there’s no replacing what they lost. If another pet in the house died you may be able to make your pet feel better by adopting a new friend for them.
Sometimes they’ll take to the new pet and buck up. Sometimes they ignore the new pet and remain depressed. It depends on the dog.
If their owner died, a family member can help the dog grieve by taking it into their home. The dog’s bond to their owner is the same as a child’s bond to their parent, however. That’s hard to replicate so it may take a while for the dog to get used to having a new master.
4. You’re Sad
Dogs are pure creatures who don’t like it when their owner is sad. They can tune into their master’s emotions and notice small changes to their body language and facial expressions.
They’ll know when you’re feeling depressed and it makes them feel depressed in return. They want to help you feel better.
5. Negative Response to Behavior Correction
If you’re too harsh in your behavioral correction punishment your dog will avoid doing anything at all in order to stay out of trouble. That’s why it’s so much better to teach your dog good behaviors by using a reward system.
Instead of popping them or using a shock collar when they do something bad, reward them for the good things that they do.
6. Medical Issues
Arthritis and other medical issues are enough to make anyone act depressed. This includes your dog. That’s why it’s so important to take your dog to the vet when they start showing depressive behaviors.
If you can treat the medical issue that they have, it will treat the puppy depression right along with it.
7. They’re Crafty Little Devils
Your dog may not be depressed at all when they give you those sad-looking eyes. Dogs are smart and they know that if they pout at you long enough, they’ll get the attention that they’re seeking.
It’s sort of like when your child pouts at you in the grocery store until you buy them the candy bar that they want.
Reasons Your Dog Looks Sad
There’s a multitude of reasons why your dog looks sad. They could have a medical issue, they might be depressed because you’re depressed, you might not be exercising them enough, you may be going to hard on their punishment, or they could be faking it to get treats and pets. Whatever the reason, we hope you’re able to use this guide to get to the bottom of it and make your dog feel better.
If all else fails, aromatherapy can calm a dog down. It can also calm you down. Check out this post to learn more.