January 13, 2020
5 Indicators That Your Dog May Be Lonely
Shop Team K9
Dogs are highly social pack animals and as a result they prefer to spend as much time as possible around other living beings. However, for most dog parents the 9-5 life hits us hard which doesn’t leave us with many options. As much time as we might want to spend with our furry friends, often times it just doesn’t end up being as much time as we’d like. Some of us might even see that heartbreaking, baleful look that the dog gives us as we’re walking out the door. Unfortunately, dogs can’t just come out and spill their feelings to us. So how will they relay this information in a way that we can understand? Well, your dog will make it pretty clear when they’re feeling down in the dumps. Here are 5 indicators to look out for if you suspect your dog may be lonely.
1. Your dog follows you around the house constantly
If your dog is feeling lonely, you may notice that they begin to follow you around more frequently in order to get some attention. While it’s not entirely unusual for dogs to want to stay close, if they’re stalking you from room to room in your house or whine whenever they can’t see you, then they are showing a sign of loneliness or separation anxiety. It’s very important to give your dog attention when you get the chance so they can stay on track. When you leave your dog alone, keep them occupied with toys and maybe even a food puzzle.
2. They aren’t as playful and excited as before
It is possible that lonely dogs can become so unhappy that they no longer want to engage with their owners, other people, or even other dogs. If your formerly energetic dog appears lazy, loneliness may be the culprit. In some cases, dogs may lack the social skills to be comfortable around other dogs due to a lack of consistent company from their owner. You can prevent this by making sure your dog is getting frequent playtime with other dogs and that you make an effort to play with them on a regular basis.
3. Lonely dogs might lick their fur more often out of anxiety
Not all the signs of loneliness in dogs are behavioral. Some signs can be physical. A lonely dog might begin to lick or bite at their own fur which can cause both hair loss and hair damage. Excessive licking can lead to ‘lick granulomas’ which are small circular sores that can develop into major skin lesions. This may require medical intervention and even surgery. If you notice any obsessive licking or lick granulomas on your dog, the best thing to do is to get them to the vet.
4. They’re sleeping more than normal throughout the day
If you notice that your dog is sleeping more during the day or having a harder time settling down in the evenings, they could be overly lonely or bored. It is possible for a sad dog to sleep a lot during the day because there are usually no distractions for them. This daytime sleeping can result in restlessness in the evenings or even waking up in the middle of the night. Although many dogs do require more sleep than humans to stay healthy, it is not normal for them to fulfill most of their daily quota during the day. One way to try and fix this is to keep them occupied during the day and tire them out as much as possible so they can get back on their normal sleeping schedule.
5. They become destructive or howl when left alone
Another good sign to tell if your dog is lonely is if they’re destructive or howling a lot when they’re left alone. Some dogs can become so scared when left alone that they might claw at the furniture or rip up the carpeting. In these cases, it’s likely that your dog is suffering from separation anxiety instead of pure loneliness. Be sure to talk to your vet on how you can help reduce this behavior.
The surest cure for your dog’s loneliness is to be with them frequently. But if you can’t be with them 24/7, here are some good ways to help prevent them from becoming too lonely:
- Put on the radio or background music while you’re away
- Get another dog (that will be friendly) who they can play with
- Take your dog with you when you go out for a run or with friends
- If you’re working, try to head home on lunch breaks if possible
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