Why Does My Bernese Mountain Dog Look Sad? Signs, Causes, and How to Help 

If you notice signs of sadness in your Bernese Mountain Dog, it is important to understand the possible causes and explore solutions to improve it’s well being.

This article aims to provide insights into various reasons why your Bernese Mountain Dog might be feeling down and practical ways to make them happy.

Why does my Bernese Mountain Dog look sad?

A Bernese Mountain Dog can become sad or depressed due to various reasons. Some common causes of Bernese Mountain Dog sadness include illness, injury, boredom, the need for attention, an inadequate diet, mistreatment, or the departure of a family member or another pet.

Why Does My Bernese Mountain Dog Look Sad

How to tell if your Bernese Mountain Dog is sad

Determining whether your Bernese Mountain Dog is genuinely sad or simply appears to be sad can be achieved by observing specific indicators. Below are ways to assess their emotional state:

Reduced activity levels

A notable decrease in your Bernese Mountain Dog’s activity levels may signify sadness. However, it could also be a sign of illness, injury, or ingestion of inappropriate substances.

Decreased appetite

If your Bernese Mountain Dog experiences a sudden decline in appetite without any apparent illness, it could indicate sadness. However, factors like extreme weather conditions or reduced exercise might also contribute to decreased eating habits.

Avoidance behavior

If your Bernese Mountain Dog starts actively avoiding your presence, it could indicate sadness or depression. However, it’s essential to consider whether the avoidance stems from fear, particularly if there has been aggressive behavior towards it in the past.

Compulsive behaviors

The sudden emergence of compulsive behaviors, such as excessive self-licking, could indicate sadness or significant stressors affecting your Bernese Mountain Dog’s well-being.

Altered sleep patterns

If your Bernese Mountain Dog abruptly changes its sleep routine or starts sleeping excessively, it may indicate sadness. However, it’s crucial to consider the possibility of illness, especially if it shows signs of fatigue while awake.

Reasons Why a Bernese Mountain Dog gets sad

There can be several reasons why a Bernese Mountain Dog gets sad. Understanding the underlying causes of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness can be seen from various factors. These causes include:


If your Bernese Mountain Dog has been showing signs of sadness recently, illness may be an underlying cause. 

Similar to how humans may experience feelings of sadness when they are unwell, particularly if their condition involves pain, this can lead to sadness in Bernese Mountain Dogs.

When movement becomes painful, a Bernese Mountain Dog may lose their playful nature. They may experience nausea, loss of appetite, hormonal imbalances, or reduced energy levels due to their illness.

This is particularly true if the change in behavior occurs suddenly and is accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue or vomiting.

Related: Bernese Mountain Dog crying: Reasons why and how to help


When a Bernese Mountain Dog sustains injuries, it’s ability to engage in activities may become restricted or they may avoid activities completely. 

The pain experienced following an injury can reduce a Bernese Mountain Dog’s usual level of happiness.


A Bernese Mountain Dog can experience boredom if not provided with adequate stimulation, which may lead to sadness. Your dog has a need for mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Bernese Mountain Dogs require physical activity appropriate for their age to keep them physically fit and mentally stimulated.

Inadequate exercise can lead to behavioral problems and potentially contribute to your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness.

Ideally, adult Bernese Mountain Dogs should engage in at least an hour of exercise per day.

If your Bernese Mountain Dog falls short of this recommendation, ensure its health is confirmed by a veterinarian and make efforts to fulfill their exercise needs.

Attention seeking

It is possible that your Bernese Mountain Dog craves more attention. This is particularly true if their sadness coincides with reduced attention from you or longer working hours on your part.

To address this, consider incorporating training, exercise, and playtime throughout the day to provide the desired attention.


Dogs, like humans, are susceptible to depression, which could explain your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness. 

This possibility is true if the sadness coincides with an event that may have triggered depression, such as the loss of an owner or a fellow pet, or prolonged periods of solitude.

In such cases, gradual improvement is likely, especially with increased attention and exercise.

Reinforcing positive behavior and refraining from rewarding signs of sadness can also aid in the healing process.

 If the condition persists for several months, a veterinarian’s evaluation is recommended to determine whether your Bernese Mountain Dog is depressed and the underlying reasons.

Inadequate diet

The source of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness could lie in its diet. Insufficient or excessive feeding, inadequate nutrients, or the consumption of inappropriate foods might be contributing factors.

Consulting your veterinarian during your next visit to evaluate the adequacy of its diet is advisable. 

Past mistreatment

It is plausible that your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness comes  from previous mistreatment or ongoing mistreatment by someone. 

This is if the change in behavior occurred suddenly or if they show a noticeable shift in demeanor around a specific individual.

If you recently adopted your Bernese Mountain Dog from a shelter, it is also possible that mistreatment has contributed to its sadness. In such cases, gradual improvement can be expected. 

However, providing ample exercise, positive reinforcement, and training is essential to facilitate their recovery.

See Also: Why is my Bernese Mountain Dog afraid of everything? (Explained)

How to help a sad Bernese Mountain Dog

To alleviate your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness, you have several options at your disposal. Combining these strategies can prove effective in improving their emotional well-being.

There are a few ways to help a sad Bernese Mountain Dog feel happier:

Consult your veterinarian

There can be several reasons why a Bernese Mountain Dog can be sad. However, if your Bernese Mountain Dog is not behaving normally, is refusing to eat, is less active than before, appears to be in pain, or if you’re unable to determine the cause of your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness, take them to the veterinarian for a full checkup to rule out potential underlying health conditions that could be causing these behavioral changes. 

If your veterinarian gives your Bernese Mountain Dog a clean bill of health, then other factors such as boredom, could be the underlying cause of the issues, which will also be determined by your veterinarian.

Ensure a proper diet

As previously mentioned, evaluating and adjusting your Bernese Mountain Dog’s diet is crucial. Refer to your veterinarian’s guidance for appropriate feeding guidelines, ensuring your dog receives the necessary nutrients. 

Offer ample attention

Frequent interaction throughout the day in the form of training, exercise, and playtime is beneficial. 

Providing your Bernese Mountain Dog with attention and engagement helps to foster a positive emotional state.

Provide regular exercise

As highlighted earlier, ensuring your Bernese Mountain Dog receives adequate daily exercise is vital. If you’re unable to walk them yourself consistently, consider hiring a dog walker to fulfill its exercise requirements.

Key Takeaway

It is important to recognize that dogs, like humans, can experience sadness and a range of emotions. While dogs are generally known for their joyful and loyal nature, various factors can contribute to their sadness.

Identifying the signs of sadness in your dog is important so as to provide a nurturing and supportive environment for them. 

Additionally, seeking professional help from a veterinarian or animal behaviorist can provide valuable guidance in understanding and addressing your Bernese Mountain Dog’s sadness.