Does your dog always look sad? Does she have that somewhat permanent look that makes you develop guilty feelings whenever you are around them? Every dog parent knows that perpetual look of sadness which makes any scientific research on the subject meaningless. I mean, your dog is literally in front of you with that sad doggy eyes making any argument against this fact of no consequence or importance.

So the question remains “Why does my dog always look sad?”

The answer to this question can be summarized in the following point

1.Your Dog’s Breed.
2.Health Issue.
3.Behavioral Adaptation.
4.Your dog is actually sad and depressed.



Let’s go into details on each of these reasons for you to understand why your dog is always looking sad.


1.Your Dog’s Breed

Simply put, your dog’s sad look is just the way they physically are. You see, from time immemorial, dogs were bred to have certain physical attributes attractive to man. As much as we wanted healthier, stronger, and longer lifespan in our dogs, breeding of dogs over the centuries have taken into serious consideration their facial features too.

This simply means that dogs that were not attractive and endearing that much was not bred regularly, leading to less and less of them in the system and finally some form of extinction for them. The ones that struck a chord in the human heart or generated feelings of endearment were bred more and more, hence an increase in their gene pool and the general population.

Some good examples of dogs with permanent sad faces are the French Bulldog, the Basset Hound, Shar Pei, and pugs. Take the Basset hound, for example, their long droopy ears, their soulful eyes, their mournful demeanor, and their lazy-like physical movement all give the impression of a dog that is permanently sad.

The physical attributes of these dogs are very deceiving in that they might be happy or just non-challenge about what is going on but still look sad. So before you condemn your dog to a verdict of eternal sadness, check out your dog’s breed.


2.Health Issue.

Your dog can actually be looking sad due to the pain and discomfort experienced from health issues they might be suffering from. Whether it is a wound, a broken bone, bacterial infection, or an allergy, all these can lead to an uncomfortable state which will keep your dog restless and perpetually sad.

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The best way to deal with your dog’s health issues is to contact your vet doctor for professional advice. More important is to get the required treatment and if it’s medications to deliver it to your dog exactly as your vet doctor has prescribed.


3.Behavioral Adaptation.

Most of what we see as our dog’s sad face is actually a learned behavior. When we say the sad face is a learned behavior, most dog parents assume that they have taken out time to train their dogs to behave this way. While this is true, it is usually not in the way which you would envisage it.

How many times have you reacted lovingly to your dog’s sad face, how many times have they escaped some harsh punishment because of their look, how many times have they used the same face to get a treat from you or to get you to play with them? The list goes on and on.

Fact is, we train our dogs every day that if they need something from us including our attention, all they need to do is to put up a sad face. Even though this act is involuntary from your end, your dog quickly learns that putting up a sad face works. So if it works why not take full advantage of it.


4.Your dog is actually sad and depressed.

Your dog may seem sad and tired because they actually are. Events, something, or someone around your dog can cause them to behave this way. A dog that just lost someone would feel sad, the same thing goes for abuse and traumatic experiences.

It’s really hard to differentiate whether your dog is feeling bad because of an event happening around him or it is one of the other reasons. A trick you can use is to try observing your dog’s expressions when he or she is happy (like going on a walk or playing) and the same expression when he or she is alone.

It takes some learning curve but your will start to catch onto your dog’s different expressions with time.

Signs that your dog may actually be sad and depressed are:

i.) Your dog shows less interest in people and other dogs

The natural disposition for dogs is that of being social creatures. Some may be a little aggressive but they would still be interested in people and other animals around them, especially their own doggy pals. So when your dog shows no interest in these things, there is a very high probability that your dog is actually sad.

ii.) They avoid going and walks or playing.

When your dog is depressed or sad, going on walks or playing is not something they will look forward to. They will show no excitement or happiness at the prospect of these things as the event which led to them being sad would be weighing down on them.

In human terms, your dog is inconsolable at that moment.

iii.)Your dog goes into hiding.

A sad and depressed dog goes into hiding, to sulk and wallow in self-pity. This makes a lot of sense as even we as humans don’t get social when we feel sad. We would want some time alone to make sense of whatever is causing our grief, the same thing applies to your dog.

iv.) Lack of Appetite

If medical conditions are ruled out as the condition for your dog not wanting to eat. The next possible reason would be sadness and depression.

A sad and depressed dog can also overfeed. This usually occurs with dogs that are not being properly trained and in some cases ignored. They tend to eat more to fill in the void of sadness leading to Obesity problems.

v.) Your dog is continuously licking his feet.

Again you need to rule out the possibility of it being a medical issue. If it is not a medical issue, then your dog licking his or her feet continuously is a form of calming signals and dogs only do that when something is bothering them.

vi.) Your dog is always acting tired.

If your dog is avoiding social contact with everybody and just laying around all day, there is a high probability that your dog is sad and depressed. This is even more profound if your dog did not usually use to act this way.

In all, finding proper ways to engage your dog will help to ease and relieve some of the emotional burdens of sadness and depression.


a.) Get your dog checked out by a vet doctor

The first thing you should do is to visit your vet clinic and get confirmation that the situation is medical. Medical problems can only be solved with medical solutions. If the issue is not medical then you can proceed to the next step.

b.) Be more observant with your dog.

What has changed recently, have you moved to a new home, did you lose a family member, have you introduced a new pet to the family. In situations like this, you should go out of your way to reassure your dog that things are ok and that he or she is still a valued member of the pack.

Spend more quality time with your dog, if they are grieving the loss of a family member, they need to understand that they are not alone. It is sharing moments like this together that helps to build the bond between you two.

c.) Maintain your normal schedule with your dog

Our dogs are creatures of routine, changes in their daily schedule can leave them confused and feeling insecure. As much as you can, maintain their normal schedule of things.

Also, provide a good resting spot or bed for them, anything that can make them comfortable will go a long way in reducing the sadness and depression.

d.) Go on a special outing with your dog.

Take your dog on a special walk, it can be a new area in town or some hiking. The whole idea is that this place is somewhere your dog has never been before. The new scents and sceneries would be enough to keep your dog engaged and preoccupied, investigating new smells, sights, and sounds.

This would normally make your dog forget the cause of the sadness and breath in new life into them.



Your dog would give you a sad face every now and then. There is no escaping it. What is more important is understanding why the sad face at the moment. One thing is for sure, your dog would get truly sad every once in a while. There is nothing you can do to stop this as you cannot really control all aspects of their life, but you can be around to make the grief less and possibly turn it into happiness.

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