My French Bulldog Looks Sad – Why?

My French Bulldog Looks Sad

Dogs are like people in more ways than people seem to give them credit. Like people, dogs can experience several emotions. We see these in how they interact through their body language. Dogs can be happy, sad, fearful, and angry.

Like humans, they can also experience mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. If your Frenchie friend is suddenly acting listless or even sad, and it seems to last for an extended period, you might be worried there is a problem. Frenchies, like all dogs, can act sad for several reasons.

Sadness can be a normal emotion, such as after your dog has lost a companion, had an upheaval in routine, or lost an owner. Sometimes, a change in the environment, like moving or bringing home a new baby, can cause it. Sometimes, your dog might be sad because you scolded him.

With that information in mind, you might be wondering how you can tell if your dog is just sad or if he may suffer from depression. You may be wondering what you can do to help or when it’s time to seek a professional, and if so, you are in the right spot.

How Do You Know if Your French Bulldog is Sad?

If you’ve ever looked at your furry pal and thought, “Wow! My French bulldog looks sad,” you are not alone. Sadness is common for the causes mentioned above.

Just like people, your dog is bound to be sad sometimes. Generally speaking, sadness is pretty easy to identify, even in Frenchies that already naturally look sad with their droopier faces. But at some point, that sadness can even become depression that requires some treatment.

Signs Your Frenchie is Sad

Sadness in Frenchies is much like sadness in most other dogs. By looking at your dog’s body language, you should be able to tell what’s going on in their mind as well. While dogs don’t cry, as you learn to understand doggy body language, you will be able to see right through it. The most common signs your Frenchie may be sad include:

Whining or whimperingSeeming lethargic
Not engaging with things they normally enjoyRefusing to eat
Squinting eyeAlterations to sleep patterns or behaviors

When Sadness Becomes Depression In Dogs

It’s normal for dogs to show signs of sadness, but typically, it is fleeting. Temporary sadness is to be expected from time to time. After all, aren’t you sometimes sad? However, sadness is not the same as depression. When your dog is depressed, the sadness does not disappear. Depression is rare in dogs, but it does occur sometimes.

Depressed dogs are those which appear to be sad for much longer than you would expect. They may not participate in their favorite activities at all or completely reject food. Depression is pervasive, meaning it lasts far longer than general sadness, and you can’t just coax your dog out of it with a treat or a walk.

What’s Depression in Dogs?

Like in humans, depression in dogs can seriously impact their wellbeing and behavior that may require further treatment. Just like people, dogs can be medicated with antidepressants.

Why is My French Bulldog Depressed?

You might wonder what dogs have to be depressed about. After all, they get fun, food, shelter, and built-in companions with their owners. However, even the most pampered of pooches can find themselves depressed, and that doesn’t reflect upon you, the owner, at all.

Grief: The most common reason for depression in dogs is grief. It could be in the form of losing a companion, such as another dog, a special toy, or even a human member of the household who has moved out of the house or passed away.
Environmental Changes: Changes in the environment can lead to depression as well. For example, if you move to a new location after living somewhere most of your dog’s life, they may become depressed as a result. Most dogs might experience anxiety about being in a new environment, but when that doesn’t clear up within a few days, it may be a sign of depression.
Seasonal Changes: Have you ever heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)? If you’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, you may not have. It refers to the seasonal depression people face in areas with very little sunlight in the winter. Your dog is sensitive, and sometimes, dogs can go through depression as the seasons change.
Trauma: Finally, trauma can lead to depression. Whether that’s being attacked by a human or animal, having something bad happen, or otherwise being harmed or witnessing harm, your dog may be brought down by trauma, just like people are.

Signs of Depression In My Frenchie

If your dog is depressed, four primary signs will last longer than just a couple of days. These are:

Sleeping moreHiding
Licking pawsLosing interest in fun activities
Destructive behaviorsDigging through the ground, walls, or furniture
Losing interest in eatingAggression

Is My French Bulldog Bored?

Sometimes, people mistake their dog’s boredom, which is much more common, for depression or sadness. Just like you, your dog may get bored if there’s nothing to do to keep it busy. In the wild, animals have to hunt to survive. They are quite active. While our domesticated pals aren’t usually quite as energetic as their ancestors, they still need to exercise.

Your Frenchie is already relatively low-energy in adulthood but still needs something to keep them busy. Generally, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog. A bored dog, on the other hand, can be incredibly destructive. If you notice signs of boredom, you will need to do something to keep your Frenchie busy.

The most common sign is destructive behaviors, such as knocking over the trash or chewing through your furniture. They are looking for something to keep themselves stimulated, so they destroy whatever they can. Your dog needs an appropriate outlet for energy to prevent such destructive behavior.

Can Other Factors Make My French Bulldog Sad?

You might be wondering if there are other reasons that your dog may be sad. Of course, there may be! Dogs are complex creatures, much like people are. Your dog could be sad for any number of reasons, including you denying your Frenchie’s desires. Some common causes include:

Wanting to play when you can’tRefusing to share something with your dog
Are you leaving the houseHaving to come inside
Separation anxietyIllness or injury

Your French Bulldog could be sad for many reasons, and that’s okay, as long as it isn’t creating a long-term detriment. However, if you are concerned about your dog’s wellbeing, getting a professional opinion can’t hurt. If your dog is just sad and you are unconcerned, there are things you can do to help at home without seeking help from a vet.

What Can I Do to Help My French Bulldogs Sadness

If you’re worried, seeing a vet is the best first step. This can help you confirm that there are no underlying causes for the behaviors you see. If you notice that your dog is depressed, one of the best things you can do is start getting a schedule set in stone.

Ensure that you actively schedule the same things simultaneously each day, so your dog gets that predictability. When life is predictable, there is less to be depressed about because your dog knows what to expect at any point in time.

You can also add some fun spontaneity to let your Frenchie enjoy himself. Go on an extra-long walk together. Get a Puppuccino. Go to the park. Even getting a new treat or toy can be good fun and raise spirits. Getting outside time is a great way to help your dog feel good. And remember, if your dog is sad or depressed, you need to be patient. Your dog needs that time to grieve and process to feel better.

And, don’t forget a little extra loving when you can to cheer up your Frenchie!

When Should I Take Them to the Vet?

If you notice that your Frenchie shows signs of depression for longer than a few days, getting a quick checkup from the vet is recommended. This is because several common depression symptoms also overlap with symptoms for a dog that may require medical treatment.

Not eating, lack of energy, and sleep disturbances could indicate several other problems, and you will want them to confirm that your Frenchie is healthy.


Your Frenchie already has a sad-looking face. But, sometimes, there is genuine sadness and when that happens, try not to sweat it. Most Frenchies come out of their funk just fine with a bit of time. And, if your dog is one of the few diagnosed with depression, treatment is available. Your vet will be able to advise you accordingly to get that pep back in your Frenchie’s step!

Why Is My French Bulldog So Scared? How To Fix.

Marshall Newton

Marshall Newton stands as an authoritative figure in the world of dog care and training, enriched by over 40 years of hands-on experience. His lifelong journey with dogs has seen him own over 20 canines from a diverse range of breeds, making him a versatile expert in the field. Marshall's expertise doesn't stop at general dog care; he's also a specialist when it comes to French Bulldogs. As the founder of "Little French Dog," Marshall provides invaluable advice and resources for both new and seasoned Frenchie owners. Whether it's understanding breed-specific traits or discovering new care tips, Marshall is the go-to resource in the Frenchie community. Interested in learning more? Feel free to connect with Marshall on LinkedIn for a deeper dive into his professional background and a wealth of canine insights.

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