On Dogs and Sadness

Do you ever get a feeling that your dog is sad? A dog’s emotions can be hard to read because our pets can’t use their words to explain how they are feeling. However, most of us have a sense of our dogs’ mood. We read their body language and behaviors and can tell when they’re not feeling well. A dog’s sadness is real, but it’s not the same as human sadness.

It’s a well-established fact by now that dogs experience emotions. According to a neuroscientist, they have feelings very much like we do, even though they can’t express this in words. Dogs do get sad – they just aren’t able to tell us!

So how will you be able to tell if your dog is sad? Dogs don’t cry, but they do display other physical responses to being unhappy. There are several physical signs dogs might be sad.

Signs of Your Dog’s Sadness

Some are vocalizations like whimpers or wines, mopey behavior around things they typically enjoy, lower energy, refusing treats or food, their eyes appearing smaller or squinty, or changes in sleep patterns behaviors. It’s good to note that these symptoms may also indicate medical issues. If a dog’s behavior or energy level changes, the first thing you need to do is call a vet.

Do Dogs Have Emotions?

A dog’s emotions are real, but are far less detailed than human emotions. Obviously, a dog’s brain is not the same as a human – a big difference is in the size. A dog’s brain is the size of a lemon, and that’s nowhere near the size of a human’s brain, so they cannot do some things us humans can.

It’s hard to know exactly what goes on inside a dog’s head. It’s safe to assume they experience sadness in a less nuanced way than we do. Humans have a deeper, more complex psychological and emotional experience. On the other hand, dogs react to immediate surroundings and experiences.

Causes of Dog Sadness

There can be certain causes of depression and sadness in dogs. Physical illness is one of them. Many health problems cause dogs to act depressed. Contact your vet if you notice signs of depression in your animal. It’s important to rule out a physical cause for your pet’s abnormal behavior before things get worse. Then, hopefully, your pet’s depression will improve once they recover from the illness if they are sick.

Other causes could be grief from changes in their life such as moving, or the loss of a human or animal companion. Environmental changes can also affect their mood. Sadly, it could be something you are unknowingly doing.

When a dog is sad, they’re responding to changes in their environment or routine. A dog’s sadness can also be caused by negative experiences that cause sadness – adjacent emotions like shyness or anxiety.

Suggested Treatments for Sad Dogs

The good news is, a dog’s sadness doesn’t last a long time. Scientists believe that dogs can experience grief, even depression. If your dog seems unusually unhappy, or their behaviors change significantly, start with a veterinarian check-up. For most dogs, however, sadness is temporary.

If a dog is temporarily blue, comfort them and help change their mood by doing somethingpositive with them. For example, playing with a favorite toy, going for a walk, having a playdate with another canine friend, going for a ride in the car, or offering a special treat.

Pets who are bored are notorious for getting into mischief and becoming anxious. Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise before you leave for your day and that they have enough toys to keep them busy to help their dog anxiety. Look for interactive toys that can be stuffed with treats to keep your canine occupied.

Dogs are social creatures naturally who love to be around animals and people. Consider getting yourself a companion animal or taking your lonely pets to the park, classes, or doggy day care for some additional social interaction, so they don’t become lonely or depressed.

Both people and pets need love and patience, and even more of it when we feel anxious or depressed. Give your dog some extra attention and time. This could help resolve all these issues.

If your dog seems sad, don’t project your human emotions onto them. Respond to and respect your dog’s emotional needs. You know how your dog helps make you feel better, even when you have a bad day? If your dog is upset, support them in the same way. Spend positive time with your dog, and their mood will improve soon!



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