Everyone wants their best friend to be happy, and honestly, they mostly are. That’s one of the best things about dogs. They are optimistic and always happy. This attitude inspires, delights and entertains us. This why dogs so often as therapy animals. 

But do you know your dog can be an unhappy dog as well? Even Depressed? It is true! While it is not all that common. The reasons and causes for dog unhappiness vary and can depend a lot on how a dog is treated, but sometimes there are other stimuli that affect your dog. 

If you want to know more about what determines your dog’s happiness or decide on what makes your dog tick, you are in the right place. Think your dog might be affected? Check out our list of sings! Do you want to know more about what should look for, how you can help and how people have dealt with this in the past? You are in the right place. 

Unhappy Dog

Signs that your dog might be unhappy.

As there are unhappy people there can be an unhappy dog as well, and mostly, for a lot of the same reasons. Either they have faced something tragic like an owner or animal friend dying, they are upset about a change in routine. Or they are just down. 

For starters, your pup will likely be less enthused about things in life. He will probably want to sit, lay and not move around too much and certainly won’t have the bounce in his step that he usually does. He is probably really withdrawn. He wants to hide instead of being around you. And likely lose interest in his favorite activities.

More physical signs of depression and unhappiness are excessive licking and biting. Your pup may start nipping at his own feet or licking his own body over and over until he has patchy hair. Additionally, your dog might shed more than usual, a sign that he is stressed, anxious or sad. It is also possible your dog won’t want to maintain eye contact with you, and he may even alter his behavior so much that he got aggressive and annoyed easily.

Body language

Your dog is probably giving you sign of letting you know that he is not happy. You just need to understand the signs.

Unhappy Dog
  • Whining
  • Cowering
  • Chewing
  • Howling
  • Scratching
  • Ears drop
  • Weakness

Other signs.

You might experience a change in his behavior. Like, 

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive Licking
  • Avoidance
  • No interest in playing or running around
  • Hiding or cowering
  • Sleep cycle Interruptions

Historical causes of depression.

They are as many ways of a dog depression as there are of humans. And often, the reasons are alike. Pups can be depressed over a tragic event. Like being separated from mother and siblings, loss of an animal friend or the death of an owner. They can also be less happy when they receive less attention. Like when you get married and have kids, you are more likely to give less attention to your dog than you used to and this could push your dog into depression. 

These are common causes of an unhappy dog. They can also adopt the grief and depression around them. If you are depressed or any family member then it is most likely that your dog will adopt your attitude and depression.

The science of doggy depression.

It is hard to determine how a dog’s brain works precisely. Is their depression just like ours? Do they deal with the same thought processes as we do? It is hard to differentiate. It is uncertain. 

However, like people, they definitely experience mood swings and behavior changes. It can be complicated with dogs. Even people, it is impossible to have a test that identifies the exact condition. Medical doctors can only take notes, determine behavior and tell the patients about the possible ways to help themselves. It is even more complicated with dogs because they are unable to verbalize how they are feeling.

Unhappy Dog

How to react if your dog is depressed

  • Talk with your vet
  • Find activities to engage your dog
  • Give your dog more attention at the right times
  • Spend more time with your dog
  • Teach your dog new tricks and engage his brain
  • Talk to your vet about medicine or new routines for your pup
  • Consider a companion animal
  • Keep your dog active and attentive


A dog can be an unhappy dog and depressed dog for the same reason a human could be. Mostly, we push our dogs into depression. We keep them in isolation from other animals and tend to ignore them a lot being busy with our routines. A dog is an animal which loves to be in a pact. They love to live in families. Puppies are separated from their mothers and siblings pushing them into depression. Dogs might be a small part of our life, but we are the world for them. Mostly, people ignore the dog psychological factors in his happiness. 

We as dog keepers need to learn that there are psychology and physical factors that keep a dog happy and healthy. Often, a dog being a pact animal, get depression because of us being depressed. How can you be happy if your best friend is not happy? That is what dogs live on.