Can Dogs Sense When You’re Sad?

Dogs have a sixth sense that is finely tuned to human emotions. They often change their behavior once they notice a change in yours. This has caused many people to wonder if dogs can understand how their humans feel.

Can Dogs Sense When You’re Sad?

Anecdotal studies have shown that dogs can recognize human emotions. Dogs are pretty intuitive and can notice even the slightest changes in their owner’s behavior. However, while your dog can tell that you’re sad, he doesn’t really understand what you’re feeling.

We love our canine friends, and they love us too! Therefore, once your dog sees you down, he will try to comfort you. Dogs show empathy in many different ways, such as touching their owners more often or licking the tears on their faces.

Do Dogs Know When You Are Sad?

Dogs can recognize different human emotions. Many people that the mind of adult dogs is similar to that of human toddlers. Their emotional intelligence, mental abilities, and vocabulary are almost the same.

Dogs can respond to their human emotions without understanding what those emotions are. Although they don’t understand your feelings, they know you are down and will be there to comfort you.

A team of researchers from the University of London published a study in the Animal Cognition journal. In that study, they observed dogs see how they react to someone humming and crying. They held their research in dog homes, and the dogs were curious about the humming.

Do Dogs Know When You Are Sad?

Signs Your Dog Knows You Are Unhappy

There are lots of people suffering from mental issues like anxiety and depression. In general, the feelings of every human experience sadness from time to time. Our canine friends can help us feel better irrespective of the reason for our mood.

You must have encountered situations in which dogs help their owners when they are in need. Dogs can only do this because they recognize human emotions. Here are some signs that show your dog knows when you are sad:

They may start behaving in a way that shows they are uncomfortable. Such behaviors may include crying and whimpering, or pacing.

Your dog may start acting submissive and approach you with a bowed head and tucked tail. In this case, he’s not only trying to be submissive, but he’s also showing empathy.

When your dog sees you crying, he may lick your face to wipe your tears and kiss you in the process. This way, he is showing love and empathy towards you. If your dog sees that you are sad, he will become sad too.

Your dog’s appetite and sleep schedule might change. Over the years, dogs have evolved with us and can tell when we feel certain emotions. They can even mirror some of those emotions in different ways.

Like sad humans, sad dogs will sleep at odd hours. Due to loss of appetite, we tend to change our eating schedule when we are sad. Dogs can also mirror that behavior. They may also change their daily routine by stopping certain things they usually do.

Some dogs may lick their paws regularly and become destructive when they are unhappy. So, if you catch your dog tearing up your shoes or his toys, it’s probably due to sadness or discomfort.

How A Dog Can Show Empathy

Dogs are different, and the way they show empathy varies in many different ways. Here are a few ways your canine friend shows you they care:

Giving their Owner Space

When some dogs notice that their owner is sad, they tend to give him or her some space. They won’t come close to their owner until they notice a mood change. That’s when they will be convinced that their owner is ready for their company.

Touching Their Owner

Instead of staying away from you when you’re sad, many dogs will draw closer. They will try to comfort you by placing an outstretched paw or their heads on your lap. Some dogs may even lick your hand to show empathy.

Distraction Method

Your dog may try to cheer you up by distracting you. They can do this in different ways, such as encouraging you to take them outside (fancy a walk? – it’s a great way of getting some head space at any time) or throwing a ball at your feet. Just the way you would try to take your kid’s mind off an unpleasant item, your dog will try to do the same for you.

How To React To Your Dog Knowing You Are Sad

It’s important to know how to react in the presence of your dog when you are sad. Dogs are adorable, but they cannot cure serious mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. It’s best to visit a therapist, psychiatrist, or friend when facing mental health problems.

Whatever you do, make sure you get the help you need. In addition, it might be best to adopt your puppy from programs or shelters. You will come across numerous agencies dealing with emotional support and service animals.

When it comes to payment, you can get a great deal with your insurance. Shelter dogs can be excellent for emotional support. They can easily empathize with you when you are sad because they have gone through some struggles themselves.

Your reason for adopting a dog should not only be to help your sadness. While some dogs can help with your sadness, you should also know that they need attention too. If they don’t get much of it, they may become sad.

You do not want a sad dog! So, you must ensure that you can provide all the attention and care a dog needs before adopting one.


Dogs can be very clever. They can recognize different emotions in their humans. You may even notice that their behavior changes when you feel emotions like sadness.

Although dogs don’t understand what you’re feeling, they know that you’re down. Your dog may try to cheer you up in many ways – placing his head on your lap or staying away from you until you feel better.

Either way, keep in mind that your dog needs attention as much as you do, even when you’re sad.