If you're asking yourself questions like: "what can I do?", "how can I tell if my dog is lonely" or "how can I combat loneliness for my pup?" then you've come to the right place. We've outlined all the signs and symptoms you should keep an eye out for, how to combat them, and what you can do to help fight loneliness for your pup.
Read on to find out more!
How To Tell if Your Dog is Lonely
First, your doggo will probably start to invest their time into destructive behaviors. Those shoes you love? Ruined. That couch you spent a bunch of money on? Torn to shreds. If you find yourself dreading coming home every day because you expect to return to a mess, it's likely your dog is lonely.
If they bark or howl excessively without being able to be calmed down, that's also a likely sign of loneliness. Think about it, they're crying out for you and your attention - a surefire sign of loneliness. They also might start behaving in ways they never have, like using the bathroom in the house. While it's always possible there's a medical issue involved in that, if you start to find your dog leaving presents around the house for you, they're likely trying to send you a signal that they don't want you to leave anymore.
Worse, they can have a limited appetite, refuse to eat, and have a lethargic energy level. If a pooch is overly-tired refuses to eat, this can mean he's stressed out by the thought of you leaving him alone again. This could be a specific sign of depression.
- vocal anxiety
- destructive behavior
- accidents in the house
- fatigue or weariness
- loss of appetite
Loneliness and Your Pooch
However, there are other studies that reflect on the loneliness dogs face when their people leave them alone. Historically, dogs will turn to destructive behaviors, reverting from their trained behaviors (like using the bathroom outdoors), and act out (by howling and barking) to get your attention and let you know they want you to stick around.
The Science Behind Being Lonely
Dogs are likely to be more anxious, bored, or stressed, as opposed to the actual human emotion of lonely, but it can cause them to behave in ways they normally wouldn't. It's important to remember that some dogs, just like people, are more prone to anxiety than other pooches. Every pup is different, and some will experience varying degrees and symptoms. For example, dogs who are very attached to their owners because of trauma like transitioning from a shelter to a home, or from past abuse, will have a harder time dealing with loneliness and might require a bit more TLC throughout the day.
According to IFL Science, your pup's stress levels increase when you leave, so, his heart rate, respiratory functions and hormones like cortisol go sky-rocketing. Typically though, the first 30 minutes of your absence is the hardest period of time for your pooch, with the majority of the time following being fairly calm.
How to Train Your Pup To Deal with Loneliness and What You Can Do to Help
Train your pup to get used to an exercise regimen that will tire him out right before you leave. That way, if your pup is exhausted, he'll spend less of his time focusing on you being gone, and more of his time napping to regain his energy. Additionally, it's important to train your dog to learn that you leaving is not a negative experience.
Make sure your pooch has plenty of toys, and has lots to stay busy with when you're gone. Bring out his favorite things - a blanket, a toy, a bed, and more -- and ensure he has access to them. Purchasing toys that you can fill with treats or food puzzles are also a good way to train your dog to stay occupied. This will distract him and also teach him that when you leave, he gets a treat for being good.
How to React if Your Dog is Lonely
Keep him occupied while you're gone
get your pup a siblinG
Socialize your pup
Leave the tv or radio on for him when you leave
Ask your vet for advice
Make time to see your pooch on breaks
Exercise your pup a bunch before you leave