13 Warning Signs Of An Unhappy Dog

As pet lovers and parents, it is essential that a pet dog is happy and satisfied with the lifestyle and environment that he lives. Since dogs cannot express in words and emotions as humans, it is necessary to keep a check on their activities.

Any anomaly can be the reason for some underlying illness or disease. However, at times it is noticeable that pets who are otherwise quite fun and jolly suddenly are not interested in any fun or entertainment activities. Attention to such behavior is a must.

How to understand that the pet dog is unhappy?

Alike, human dogs too may have a sudden emotional rush. There can be many reasons for a dog to be unhappy. If not paid attention, the unhappiness can soon turn to sadness and depression. They will try to express it with their activities. These signs can let the human parent identify and treat them as quickly as possible.

13 Alarming Signs Of An Unhappy Dog

A dog who although cannot speak like humans can express their grief in the form of activity changes. These changes in activity are the warning symptoms of an unhappy dog. A few of such signs are:

1. Always hungry:

A dog usually wants to eat now and then even after serving them with a healthy and balanced meal. They seem to remain hungry all the time. However, there can be instances where the canines may not do the same out of fun or trying to get attention.

Even after eating a happy meal with favorite dishes in it, they still might want to have more. Likewise, out of love, you may serve him again. But when he keeps craving for more food, your furry friend may be in distress. Eating may make them find comfort.

2. Weight gain:

Overeating when not paid attention to, may transform into an increase in weight. The pet who has always been fit and in shape may suddenly become obese. Massive dogs do not like to indulge in activities. Look out for signs when there is a constant increase of weight in them.

Unhappy Dog

3. Loss of appetite:

The pet dog who always remains hungry and desires to eat very often, there can be underlying reasons when he stops doing so. A loss of appetite for a day or two is exceptional, but when this continues for a longer duration, might be a sign of unhappiness.

4. Weight loss:

Whenever there is a gradual loss of weight in your pet dog, check for some hidden illness. However, if there are no health issues, a loss of body weight due to not eating can be a symptom of mental distress.

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5. Lethargy:

A fun and excited dog when unaware tend to not indulge in any sort of activities. They may be just lying in their space for hours which otherwise would not sit in a place. This sudden loss of energy and enthusiasm is a symptom of melancholy that needs addressing.

6. Loss of passion:

A passionate canine may show symptoms of being in grief when unexpectedly damages interest in his favorite activities. Dogs love being outdoors.

Most of them love to play with their human parents. However, when in depression, they may not want to indulge in any sort of liveliness or their choice of sport.

7. Extensive Licking:

A mentally grief-stricken dog will continuously lick or chew their paw. Extensive self-licking is a way of soothing themselves. 

8. Self-restraint:

Happy canines are very fond of their parents arriving back home from work. They look forward to meeting them after a long day. But, a low-spirited one will avoid doing so and restrain themselves from loving someone else. He will prefer hiding or stay in their area and not like to involve in any sort of happiness.

9. Change of attitude:

A dispirited dog will become aggressive and violent in due course of time. The mood will keep changing over time. At one instant, it will calm, and the next moment may start acting crazy.

10. Self-hurting:

Out of despondence, a pet dog will start hurting himself in every possible way. The very first sign of self-destruction is scratching his own body vigorously, which may sometimes even start bleeding. It is an alarming symptom of depression.

11. Weeping:

A depressed dog will not want to delight himself. Continuous crying is a sign of unhappiness that may soon turn to depression if not taken care. 

12. Destructive chewing:

When a remorseful canine starts to chew everything in its way, it is known as destructive chewing. He will damage all the valuable household items and tear off the furnishings and carpets. When the pet refuses to cool down and cannot control the damage, it is essential to seek help.

13. Endless barking:

The only way of speaking or expressing the emotions of a canine is by barking. However, when barking seems everlasting and uninterrupted, it is a symptom of psychological issue.

The reasoning for degrading mental health in dogs

When there is a visible change among your pet and no signs of illness or other health issues, it can be a cause of sadness and melancholia. It soon turns to depression, just like humans. Such as:

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Loss of another life:

Dogs are quite emotional and attached to their human parents. The sudden death of a family member makes them remorseful. When they are not able to accept the fact that their loved ones are no longer coming back, they become unhappy. The loss may not be of a parent exclusively. It can also be the death of a puppy or mate. 

Change of habitat:

Dogs usually take their own time to adapt to a suitable environment after adoption. But during that pause, if not able to cope up with the changing climate or habitat, a sense of unhappiness inculcates in them.

Addition of a child:

The birth of a new family member or acquisition of another life in his existing family may make him feel side-lined. When there is a shift of attention by his human family, which was previously exclusive for him, may make him possessive. This possessiveness can transform into depression in no time.

New pet:

Other than the addition of a new human, the inclusion of another pet can also make them feel unattended. Since the new member will receive more engrossment, the pet dog may start feeling left out. Inability to confront and express may make them unhappy and remorseful.


A newly adopted dog takes time to adjust to the new environment. The new space is vastly different from the previous one. A change of plan and daily activities may lower their enthusiasm and take a toll on their mental peace.

Damage of body part:

Serious accidents or health issues may lead to the loss of a body part. Inability to continue his daily fun-filled activities makes the canine feel sad and grief-stricken.

Conquering Depression

After the identification of the reason for the behavioral change in your furry friends, it is vital to support them physically as well as emotionally. Just like humans need backing and guidance during tough times.

Similarly, pet dogs too feel the need for assistance and help during gloomy days. A simple aid of accompaniment can do wonders. Let us have a look at a few such remedies or solutions that will help the pet dogs to overcome their sadness.

Make yourself available for a longer duration to accompany him in his schedule.

Although dogs cannot express themselves in words, they understand when humans speak to them emotionally. A pep-talk and encouragement make them feel belonged and not avoided.

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For defeating depression, a distraction from daily activities can also help. Like a stroll in the park, making new friends etc. can be of some help in case of loss of a dear one.

On shifting to a new place or family, it is necessary to train them immediately. It will not give them time to feel sad for their previous habitat and will soon be able to adapt to the new environment.

Even after the addition of a child or a new pet, do not ignore the existing pet. Make them feel involved and loved, so they do not feel left out. Giving them ample time and involving themselves in their routine activities will help them overcome depression and will also motivate them to befriend the new member.

Depression has mainly been seen in pet dogs with the loss of a body part, especially the loss of a leg. This makes them unable to perform his activities. If possible, a prosthetic limb can help them return to their original form of fun and enthusiasm once they accustom.

In other cases, when prosthetic support is not possible, instead of making them feel not to be able to do their activities by themselves, specialized training for the same can help.

Since dogs are not complicated, it is easier to help them feel wanted. An increase in cuddling time can support fighting depression. A sense of relaxation around them and encouraging feedback will help them gain their confidence.

In case of loss of a companion, introduce them to new friends. To feel the void, one may also get another playmate or partner.

When the general home remedies do not work, and the sadness and depression persist, it is advisable to seek help from veterinarians. Specialized dog trainers can also help to provide the necessary groundwork required to fight depression.

As pet lovers and parents, there is nothing remorseful to see your faithful friend in a dismal condition. To cheer him up, support, and cuddle him, so that he can fight his mental issues and come back to his usual form of high energy and enthusiasm.

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