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Why Do Golden Retrievers Look Sad?

Why Do Golden Retrievers Look Sad?

Golden Retrievers are such happy and excited dogs, so it can be quite weird to see them with a sad look on their face. Golden Retrievers experience a range of emotions; unfortunately, sadness is one of them.

Your Golden can look sad for several reasons. It could be due to depression, poor health, lack of attention and love, unhealthy diet, mistreatment, or picking up the emotions of those around them. Dogs can also suffer from depression. It is important that paw-rents notice when their dog is looking down so they can help them and make them feel like their usual happy selves again.

Whatever the reason may be for a Golden Retriever’s sadness, it can easily be fixed if you pay attention to their diet, lifestyle, health, stress levels, and give them a whole lotta attention, love, and opportunities to socialize.

Golden Retrievers are an amazing dog breed and are naturally gentle, loving, and deeply connected to their loved ones. In this article, we will tell you how to spot their sadness, why they look sad, and how to restore their happy smiley face again. So, here is everything you need to know about why Golden Retrievers look sad, from the experts at


Reasons Why Your Golden Retriever Might Look Sad

So, why is your Golden Retriever sad? Your Golden Retriever may look sad for a number of reasons. They can be sensitive and take on a lot of other people’s emotions too. But the following are some of the most common reasons why the Golden Retriever breed may be sad:


It can be quite difficult to determine if a dog is depressed or not. But Golden Retrievers can suffer from a certain degree of clinical depression, just like us humans. It makes itself visible in various physical ways that can either be quite intense or subtle, depending on how severe it is.

If you can see that your Golden Retriever does not have much enthusiasm for the things that they love, like eating their favorite treats or playing with their favorite toy, there may be a problem. If this is the case, it would be a good idea to book an appointment with your vet.

A very common reason for depression in dogs is a lack of connection to their loved ones or pet parents. This feeling of depression can also be caused by separation anxiety. We’ll cover more about recognizing depression in the Golden Retriever breed later.

Health issues or sickness

Poor health or sickness will make anyone look like how they are currently feeling. If your Golden Retriever appears to be sad, it may be because they are feeling unwell. Other than showing their sadness, they may also display various other physical signs of illness that can give you a clear indication that they aren’t feeling well.

These signs include diarrhea, vomiting, red spots, hair loss, excessive sleeping, loss of enthusiasm, and a lack of appetite. These signs can be quite subtle, which makes it hard to tell if their sadness is related to their health. But either way, it is always best to book an appointment with your vet just to be sure.

Love and attention

Golden Retrievers are very connected to their friends and loved ones, so they can easily start to feel sad if they do not get enough love and attention to thrive. This tends to happen when their owner is away from the house, and this is related to separation anxiety. It also happens if the pet parent is too busy and the dog isn’t feeling very loved and appreciated.

It is very easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives, and you may give your dog water and food and take them outside, but if you don’t give them love and affection, they will quickly get very sad.

It is important that you take time out of your day to show your Golden Retriever some love and give them lots of attention. Not only will this make them super happy, but it will also help to boost your mood – win-win!

Quality time with your Golden Retriever is so important. Healthy connections and bonds with our four-legged friends improve everyone’s happiness and will turn your pup’s frown upside down.

You should also make sure that you groom your dog and keep them looking beautiful. They need this type of love from you. We can help you with everything from how to groom them, what the best brush is for a Golden Retriever, what products to use, and how to give them lots of attention in all aspects of their lives.

Socialization, outside time, exercise

All dogs, including Golden Retrievers, have some very specific needs. And sometimes, pet parents forget the things that go beyond shelter, water, and food.

Your Golden Retriever needs to have a lot of outside time: fresh air, new smells, and loads of different things to look at. This freedom to run around and play will bring them a lot of happiness, especially if they can socialize with other people and dogs.

Socialization is often overlooked, but Golden Retrievers are highly social dogs and thrive on spending time with others. A Golden Retriever will be happy in any social situation, whether it’s with their friend from the dog park, the neighbor’s dog or some new humans. If they do not get enough social time, they will start to feel sad and depressed.

Providing your dog with a well-rounded lifestyle will ensure that you have a happy and healthy pup. This means covering the basics like water, food, and shelter and also letting them have fun and socialize.

Perceptive nature

Golden Retrievers are known to be perceptive dogs, and they tend to pick up other people’s emotions quite easily. Most dogs do have this quality, but some are more so than others. If the pet parent of a Golden Retriever is feeling sad, the dog may pick up on their energy and start feeling the same way. Golden Retrievers feel very connected to their humans.

If the pet parent is sleeping a lot, constantly feeling down, and not enjoying their day-to-day life, it can make their Golden Retriever feel very sad as well.

Golden Retrievers bond with their humans very quickly, and they may not feel the same sadness that their human does, but they may start showing signs of that sadness in the way they look. As a pet parent, it is also important to take care of your own health, for you and your dog.

Abuse, neglect, or mistreatment

If you have adopted a Golden Retriever or gotten an older dog, they may come with a few problems from their unknown past. Their past can very easily be the reason for their sadness, and it might take a while for it to go away, depending on what their past situation was.

Many caregivers and foster families attempt to address the problems with their Golden Retriever before they let them go for adoption. In some cases, this sadness will persist and come with strange behaviors as well.

Physically mistreating the dog, yelling at it, neglecting it, and various other negative behaviors are completely unacceptable. You could also contact the vet to find out what some favorable, healthy, and correct treatments are for your four-legged friend.

You also need to make sure that everyone else around your new pet treats them well.

Boredom and loneliness

Golden Retrievers will find themselves feeling bored if they are left home alone. Especially if they do not have a friend to play with, they then start sleeping their days away and playing at night.

A Golden Retriever would be better off with a friend or having someone around to interact with. If you find that your dog is getting sad because they are bored, consider introducing them to some new toys.

These toys can help keep your dog entertained and busy until you get home again. Otherwise, you could take your Golden Retriever for daily walks so that it can get outside and burn off some energy. Just be sure to give your dog a chance to exercise every day.

Separation anxiety

Golden Retrievers are prone to suffering from separation anxiety. This is when your dog feels anxious about staying home alone and is scared to be left behind.

A Golden Retriever suffering from separation anxiety can become aggressive towards people and other dogs, and this often makes them very difficult to control and handle. To help your dog suffering from separation anxiety, spend as much quality time with them as you can.

Praise them and give them loads of love and affection. Eventually, your Golden Retriever will get used to being alone, but this will take some time.

Take note of how often your dog experiences separation anxiety. You will need to give your dog more attention than you usually do at those times. This will teach him that he does not need to be scared of being on his own for long periods of time.


Golden Retriever Depression And Sadness

Golden Retrievers can feel grief and sadness, and with these strong emotions comes depression. Research has shown that dogs do feel emotions and can experience grief, loss, and sadness.

Dr. Gregory Berns has done a lot of research on dogs and their emotions. Not many scientists believe that dogs can experience all of these emotions, but Dr. Berns’ research says otherwise. He utilized non-invasive MRIs with a dog trainer to track all of the areas of the canine and human brains that activate when feeling certain emotions. He concluded that dogs experience very rich emotions and that they have vibrant interior lives.

How to spot dog depression

Knowing how to spot the signs and symptoms of depression is always a good start. This way, you can get your dog the help it needs as soon as possible.

The biggest thing that you should look out for is a change in your dog’s demeanor. Your dog will likely become very withdrawn and lethargic and lose interest in the activities that it previously enjoyed.

The symptoms of depression or sadness are the following:

  • Hiding or becoming very withdrawn
  • Sleeping a lot
  • Losing interest in things they find enjoyable
  • Lethargy
  • Losing interest in food and eating less
  • Taking on destructive behaviors like digging and chewing
  • Becoming clingy and seeking affection from their owners

You should also note that a number of medical conditions also cause a lot of the symptoms that have been mentioned on this list, so it is crucial that you take your dog to the vet for a check-up to rule out medical conditions and causes.

Chronic pain and dementia are often mistaken as depression in older dogs. However, if a dog is suffering from depression, the stress from all of that sadness can cause a few medical issues to arise, and it may even trigger existing ones.

Golden Retrievers are not lazy dogs, so any sudden changes in their activity levels can also signal depression.

How to help a depressed Golden Retriever

There are various things that you can do to help your dog who is suffering from depression. Other than taking care of their needs and giving them love, you should also:

Use positive training methods

When you train your Golden Retriever, use positive training methods. These are important, especially if you are adopting or fostering a Golden Retriever that has previously been traumatized, neglected, or abused.

You don’t want your dog to get scared, depressed, or sad due to incorrect training methods, as this will also lead to behavioral problems down the line.

vet check-ups

If your Golden Retriever has been suffering from prolonged depressive or sadness symptoms, then you should take them to the vet and get them examined. Chronic pain tends to mimic the common symptoms of depression, so vet examinations are imperative.

So the problem is, you may think that your dog is sad, while they are actually suffering from a medical condition that is very painful. Dogs hide their pain very well, so you might not even notice that they are in pain.

Friends and playtime

Golden Retrievers need friends for healthy socialization. Pet friends are very important, as playing with another dog can ease their loneliness and sadness.

If your dog has a fur friend, make sure that you arrange a time for them to hang out together. Otherwise, you could send your Golden Retriever to a doggy daycare where they can exercise, play, and socialize with lots of other dogs.

Failing that, you might want to get yourself another fur baby!



Do Golden Retrievers get depressed easily?

Golden Retrievers do tend to suffer from anxiety and depression, and they show this by displaying signs of aggression. They may also engage in various nervous behaviors like scratching the door or chewing furniture. This is why it is crucial to take care of your dog’s needs and engage them in activities that keep them happy and excited.

Are Golden Retrievers emotional?

Yes, they are. Goldens are very in tune with people’s emotions. They can read their owners well and often take on the emotions of others. They also provide their humans with a lot of comfort and act as an emotional support dog. The Golden Retriever breed is known for being very emotional.

How do you tell if my dog is happy with his life?

You know you have a happy dog when it tries very hard to obey your rules, falls asleep early from being so busy and playing the whole day, dances and wriggles around and eats well. If your dog displays normal behaviors and is healthy, then you know you have a happy companion.

What makes a dog truly happy?

When it comes to the Golden Retriever breed, or any breed for that matter, having a balanced diet, constant mental stimulation, fun, a social life, and loving owners will make a dog very happy.