Why is My Golden Retriever So Sad? 7 Solutions That Really Work

Golden retrievers are enough to make anyone smile just by looking at their adorable face and cute moves, you will instantly fall in love with them.

It is recommended for most people who suffer from depression to adopt a golden retriever they may help, they are so happy and playful and they will shower you with love.

So what happens when the source of fun and happiness in the universe is sad? What do we do?

Why is my golden retriever so sad? There are few possible reasons such as depression, diet issues, not being active, their owner doesn’t pay attention to them, they are mistreated, or they are sick. If they are sick or depressed, you should take them to the vet.

It’s important to know what is making them sad so keep reading to know the symptoms of every reason and you can know what is happening with your dog by yourself.

7 Causes Your Golden Retriever Could Be Sad 

  1. Separation anxiety
  2. Depression
  3. Neglected
  4. Mistreated
  5. Wrong diet
  6. Exercise 
  7. Illness

Separation anxiety

When you leave your golden retriever all by themselves for a long time they will be sad, they can get so upset that they may try to escape or destroy some stuff that you own and it can cause them self-injury. 

Goldens don’t like being left alone, and you can learn how to leave goldens alone here, but even with the tips and practices mentioned there, it’s not recommended to leave goldens for more than 8 hours every day if they are well-trained and well-socialized because they can still develop undesired behaviors.


A sad-looking golden to illustrate why is my golden retriever so sad

 Yes, dogs do get depressed. It may not be the same clinical depressionw e get, but ff they are depressed, there’s no doubt that they will look sad.

So, why do goldens get depressed? Here are a few reasons

  • Change in the environment 

Changes in the environment, like moving to a new place can cause the dog to get depressed. They can miss their old place just like you, so they can be depressed for a while till they meet new people they like to play with or find a new favorite spot.

So they will make their peace with it and with time they will get better. It’s also worth noting that reminiscence about the old home can also make them try to escape, and you can learn more about why goldens run away here.

  • People they care about

If their owner or someone they care about is sick or depressed they will pick up on that and they will get sad and depressed too. Dogs are emotionally intelligent, so when we are not happy they will share the sadness with us.

If you feel that your dog is depressed because you are too, you should try to make them feel that everything is alright and spend more time with them. It will benefit both of you.

  • Griefing 

Just like us, dogs grieve; they will become depressed and sad when they lose someone they care about or their partner. You can support them by being around them and make them feel that you care, also you can play with them to distract them.

  • Fear

If they are scared they may not show it in the way you are expecting it and instead it may hit them in other ways and they end up looking sad or even depressed.

They will be trying not to appear scared because that might make them more vulnerable. 

So they just retreat from most activities to avoid any problems and to protect themselves.

  • Nothing

Sometimes they can just feel a little down for no reason, it’s going to be a little hard for you as you try to figure out what’s going on with them so it’s better if you take them to their vet and they can examine them and see if it’s something serious or will they get better by themselves.


Golden retrievers are like babies; they want consistent care and attention and if you neglect them they can get depressed and will become significantly less active than normal, which could be worrying for you.

For example, something as simple as you smelling like another dog or they see you playing with them, they can get jealous and start acting out, which sometimes can lead to separation anxiety. This can also happen if you welcome another dog at home.

To avoid all that from happening in the future, you should work more on socializing them and getting them comfortable with more situations.


If the dog was mistreated in the past they will be quieter and a little bit sad.

It could be that someone is mistreating them or playing too rough with them and you can notice if their behavior suddenly changes around these people, simply avoid leaving them around them for your dog’s mental health.

It could also be something completely random that is triggering the bad memories, such as a certain smell or sound. It could even be a a word that their abuser used to say or a simple action that triggers them.

Wrong diet

If there is an issue with their diet it could be the reason they look sad. For example, if they are fed too much, they are not being fed enough, or the diet isn’t right for them

It could be that someone gave them something bad for them like chocolate, grapes, raisins, or avocados.

If someone gave them one of these things, you should rush them to the vet immediately because it’s either toxic or their body can’t break them down which will lead to digestive issues.

You can learn all the foods golden retrievers shouldn’t eat here.


Golden retrievers are really active and they need to exercise every day, that’s why you need to take them walking or train them to run with you and it can be a shared activity that keeps you both healthy. You can learn how to run with your dog here.

If they do not exercise enough it will make them behave abnormally which will lead to them looking sad.


Sometimes when they are ill or something is making them uncomfortable, they will look down and sad.

If they start to look sad all of a sudden it will probably because they are ill and other signs will begin to appear on them. In this case, take them to the vet.

7 Solutions to make Your Golden Retriever Less Sad 

  1. Socialization
  2. Prescribed Medication
  3. Spending time with them
  4. Pet therapy
  5. The right diet
  6. Exercising
  7. The vet


Socialization is basically introducing your dog to the world and getting them comfortable with different people, animals, environments, and basically life.

There are puppy socialization classes you can take your dog to which can greatly help your pup become more comfortable and less afraid.

They train your dog how to act normally around other dogs to avoid any aggression your dog could show when they are around new dogs or when you play with another dog.

This training is also good for dogs who have separation anxiety. It’s recommended for aggressive dogs and any dog who bites. If you think goldens can’t be aggressive, you are in for a surprise – and not the good kind.

Take a minute to learn about golden retrievers aggression here.

Prescribed medication

If your golden retriever is depressed then the treatment depends on why they are depressed in the first place so if they are depressed because they are sick, take them to the vet.

They are grieving, trying to cheer them up and give them a lot of attention.

It could be because you guys moved from your home and they are in a new environment they will be scared but they won’t show it instead they will look sad and calm.

Show them that nothing has changed, play with them in the new backyard, and just make moving fun for them and give them treats whenever they are well behaving in the new place.

Sometimes the only way to handle their depression is a prescribed medication that only their vet can recommend.

Spending time with them

If they are sad because they feel neglected, then spend more time with them and do not leave them alone for a long time.

If you leave them alone for more than 6 hours they can go nuts and they may develop some unwanted behaviors like destructive chewing, biting, and barking.

Pet therapy

If you adopted them from a shelter they might have been mistreated in the past so they will be sad, overprotective, or even aggressive. You can take them to a pet therapy so they can train them to trust people and be less aggressive.

The right diet

If they are sad because of their diet you should consult their vet about what food is good for them and ask them about their diet and what not to eat, but if the problem with their diet is that it’s not enough or too much, feed them in moderation.


Like I have said before golden retrievers are really active and they need to work out every day, so if it’s been a while since you took them for a walk then it’s the perfect timing, take them for a walk, train them to run / workout with you, or any activity that they like. 

Related Questions

Do Golden Retrievers Get Sad? 

Yes, they do, golden retrievers can get sad and depressed just like us. Give them a few days if they do not get better by themselves then take them to the vet if they don’t because they might be physically ill, mentally ill, suffering from depression, or have separation anxiety.

Why is my golden retriever crying?

It’s common for golden retrievers to cry but there are some reasons that could make them cry like seeking attention, hunger, illness, depression, separation anxiety, excitement, boredom, or fear.  It’s not something to worry about, however, if they did it a lot,  you should consult their vet.


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

Recent Posts