How to tell if your dog is really sick, or just sad.

avrilox26 asks: I’ve got 2 dogs, an Alaskan Malamute (3 years old) and a half breed one (1 year old), both females. My youngest dog was hit by a car 3 weeks ago; he was lucky, because he just broke his leg (even this is sad too). Before this accident, both my dogs were friends, and they are still, but my youngest dog can’t play now, because he had surgery. The problem is that my biggest dog is not eating much, just a little, and I’m starting to be worried… I think that she’s sad, but why? I’m playing with her, I’m staying with her, I’m feeding her, I’m going out with her (which makes her happy while we’re out). I’m trying to make time and stay with her as much as I can! I just wanted to ask you first and not go to the vet for this, because she’s active and otherwise seems fine. The food that we’re taking her is not the same everyday, so I don’t think this is because of the food. And she doesn’t have anyone else to miss… And she stays near her food, careful to not let the other dog take it, but then she just doesn’t eat it. Is this because of the accident? And how can I make her be happy?

Hi Avrilox 26 –


Thanks.  This is a great question.  And I can give you a “possible” answer.  But of course, I’m not a veterinarian, and am not able to even see your dog.


The truth is that it’s possible that your older dog is simply responding to your younger dog’s injury.  Dogs are (if I do say so myself) absolutely amazing at this.  Handsome once had hernia surgery, and for the entire time of his healing, I slept by him 22 hours a day, and usually lay against the wound.  Dogs are very empathetic (which means we feel what others are feeling), and we will “take on” the symptoms of those closest to us.  So it’s extremely likely that your older dog could lose his appetite because of the younger dog’s injury.


However, I really want to stress – it’s also possible that this is only a coincidence.  That your older dog is ill and that only just happens to be at the same time as the younger dog’s injury.  So I’d say, if this eating problem has gone on more than a few days, I’d recommend taking him to the vet, just to be looked at.  Hopefully nothing’s wrong (he’s just a very loving animal!), but just in case, you want to be sure.


Good Luck!  And I’m so happy your younger one survived the car accident!  Those are Scary!


Your Friend,



About the Author

Leave a Reply 2 comments

Avrilox26 - May 13, 2011 Reply

Thank you so much for your advice!I realy appreciate that you’re making time to answear me 🙂
She’s now better,but still has some moments when she doesn’t wants to eat…
Fortunally,tomorrow I’ll go with my little dog at vet to take out his rod from his leg,I hope that both will be Okay 🙂

Whishing you the best,

    Shirelle - May 13, 2011 Reply

    Oh that’s great news! Maybe you can take the other dog with you too, so the vet can give a quick look, just to be safe! All my best!!

Leave a Reply: