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Do Dogs Know When You Are Sad?
Dog BehaviorDog Facts

Do Dogs Know When You Are Sad?

Dogs have a special emotional connection with their owners. If you’re a pet parent, you may have seen this bond in beautiful pictures and videos on social media. In this guide, we seek to answer the question, “Do dogs know when you’re sad?” 

Dogs aren’t just loyal to their owners, they are also intelligent. As playful and goofy as dogs are, they can also sense when their owners are sad.

Research shows that dogs have the sensory capacity to detect physical and emotional changes in humans. Through a combination of sight, smell, and hearing, dogs can tell the differences in emotions in humans. What’s even more fascinating, is that they can tell this even before their owners recognize what’s going on with them.

Scientists have attributed this ability to a dog’s outstanding sensory capability. Dogs use their hyperactive sensitive noses and senses to determine the feelings of the people around them. According to the research, a dog’s brain is like that of a human toddler in terms of intelligence. So much so that like toddlers, they can sense feelings even when they don’t fully understand those feelings. 

Can Dogs Sense Sadness? 

The answer is yes. The majority of dog owners will tell you that their dogs were there for them when they were sad, the same way people would have been for them. With their intuitive ability to detect emotions, dogs will show sympathy and empathy to their owners.

How a Dog Can Show Empathy

Dogs will show empathy in different ways including:

Cuddling With You

Although dogs are affectionate by nature, when they sense that you need some comfort, they will cuddle with you. As they cuddle with you, they will put their paws or head on you. This is their way of saying, “I’m here with you.”

Giving Their Owner Space

While some dogs get closer and cuddle with their owners to show empathy, others respond oppositely. Some dog’s way of showing empathy is by giving their owners space. This doesn’t mean that your dog doesn’t care. On the contrary, they are being respectful. They will give their owners space to process their emotions.

Distracting Method

When our loved ones are sad or depressed, we try to distract them to get their minds off. We will take them out, try to do some fun activities, or even play. Dogs aren’t different. 

When your furry companion notices that you’re sad, they will try to cheer you up by distracting you. Your dog may drop a ball at your feet, or bring their favorite toy to get you to play. If your dogs love the outdoors, they will try to get you outside. Also, other dogs will show goofy behavior like rolling on the floor and having zoomies.

Best Dog Breeds for Depressed People

Do dogs know when you’re sick? Absolutely. 

Some people will choose dogs over humans without any hesitation. Understandably so. Dogs are affectionate and loyal, and they come with no drama. 

While all dogs are affectionate by nature, particular breeds are best for people with depression. These breeds include:

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular dogs for depressed people. Don’t let their size fool you. They are gentle dogs, friendly, and live to please their owners. Also, they’re intelligent and intuitive to their owner’s needs and emotions.

Also, they are playful and energetic. This will encourage their owners to engage in physical activities. With a Labrador Retriever, there’s never a dull moment.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers aren’t just cute but have a distinctly calm, friendly, and even-tempered nature. This is the perfect combination for someone with depression. They are also family dogs, well-behaved, and intelligent. 

As the name suggests, Golden Retrievers can retrieve things. When you need them to fetch something for you when you’re unable to, just give a command and they will bring it to you. On the days you’re at your lowest, they will gladly cuddle with you.

The only downside with Golden Retrievers is that they shed a lot. But that’s a small price to pay for comfort, love, and affection.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

If you prefer a small dog, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is your dog. They compensate for their small size with a big heart. They are skilled at detecting human emotions. Their sweet demeanor and love for cuddles make them the perfect choice for people with depression.

To keep them healthy, they need regular exercise. As their owners engage them in exercise, the results are mutual. The physical exercises will do good to their owner’s mental health as well. 


Poodles are a good choice for people with depression because they cherish people. They have a friendly demeanor and love spending time with their humans. They come in three sizes, Standard, Toy, and Miniature. Whichever size you pick, they will connect with you.

The good news is that Poodles don’t shed. However, they need regular cleaning.

Cocker Spaniel

Cocker Spaniels are known for creating emotional bonds with their owners. Although all dogs have a connection with their owners, Cocker Spaniels are just special. They give unconditional support, love, and comfort. Which is exactly what people with depression need.


Dogs form special and unique connections with their owners. Thanks to their hyperactive sensitivity, they can detect the emotional feelings of their owners. We believe that our guide has given you insight into the question, “Do dogs know when you’re sad?”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do dogs know when you are pregnant?

Yes. Because of their sharp sense of smell, dogs notice the change in odor and scents that come with pregnancy.

Do dogs know when you’re hurt or ill?

Yes. Dogs can tell from their owner’s facial expressions whether they’re hurt or ill. 

How to get a therapy dog?

You can get a therapy dog from a professional trainer, or a trusted breeder, or you can adopt one.