Do Dogs Get Lonely When Left Alone?
It is not always possible to be with our canine friends all the time, so there may be occasions when you need to leave your pet alone. If this is the case, you might be wondering if your fur baby gets lonely when left alone.
Dogs Do Get Lonely
Dogs do feel loneliness, and some feel it more than others. In fact, some dogs suffer a condition known as separation anxiety, where they become extremely stressed when left alone. Many dogs who went to new homes during the Covid-19 pandemic, for example, are now struggling with separation anxiety as life returns to normal and their human parents are returning to work.
But even dogs that do not have separation anxiety can experience feelings of loneliness. The good news is that most can be left alone for a few hours at a time without finding the experience too overwhelming.
How to Spot the Signs of Loneliness in Your Dog
If you have noticed a change in behavior after you have left your dog alone for a while, it could be that he was feeling lonely while you were gone. He might be more clingy or needy than usual, and this could mean that he is following you more than he normally does.
If your dog does not want to play as much as normal, it could be a result of loneliness. Lethargy and a lack of interest in playing is a sign that your dog is suffering from inconsistent companionship.
Dogs that are lonely might also become destructive when alone. If you come home to find that the furniture has been chewed or your pet has been urinating or defecating despite being house trained, it could be a sign that he has been feeling out of sorts while you were away.
How to Prevent Your Dog Feeling Lonely When Alone
It might not be possible to be with your dog 24-hours a day. If you must leave him alone, there are things that you can do to make this time easier for him to cope with. The good folk at Voyager Harness say that popping on a dog harness and taking him for a walk or a run-around with a ball before you go out can tire him out and he may spend most of the time you are away having a much-needed rest.
You can also make sure that your dog is not lonely while he is awake by providing him with stimulating toys or putting on some music. There are various playlists designed for dogs on apps such as Spotify or Amazon Music that you can play in the background to relieve stress. Classical music is particularly soothing for dogs, and it helps them to feel calm.
Some dogs will feel calmer if they can look out of the window while they are alone. It allows them to see what is going on outside. However, window watching can be problematic in some dogs, particularly if they see people with other dogs walking by. They might start barking and lunging at the window; this is because many dogs feel compelled to alert their humans to what is going on outside.
If your dog is still exhibiting signs of loneliness when left alone for periods of time, it might be worth looking for a doggy daycare, especially if being left alone is a regular occurrence. For example, if your dog must be left every day while you go to work, try to find someone to keep him company, or send him to a daycare center where he will not be alone.