lonely dog

Signs that your dog is very lonely

(Last Updated On: June 24, 2019)

Dogs are social beings. Just like humans, they need to be part of a community. They excel on companionship and love company, be it of people or other pets. They would rather not spend much time alone. Dogs are a very social animal in general and that is a large part of the reason they became domesticated. Additionally, being social beings is the reason they enjoy looking out the window at birds and other dogs. They crave their company. We frequently have to leave our dogs home alone for long periods of time and often don’t have the time or energy to spend with them because of our busy lifestyles. Although dogs who are happy and well-exercised adjust better to staying long hours on their own, and some dog owners usually adopt a second dog to provide company for the first one.

The signs of a lonely dog include;

1. Destructive behavior

If you frequently come home to a scene of destruction and that may include finding chewed up clothing, shoes, trash scattered all over your house, some food stolen from the counter tops. This is your dog is trying to send a direct message to you. Since dogs can’t communicate with words, they use destructive behaviors as a tool of communicating to you that they are lonely and bored. This is one of the indicative signs that your dog is lonely.

2. Excessive barking or howling

Your dog may sometimes vocalize their feelings. If you ever get home to find a note or receive a call from the neighbor or manager of your apartment in regards to noise from your dog barking and howling, you should realize that your dog has become lonely and he is calling out for attention. Your dog may vent its frustrations by barking excessively. This is another sure indication of loneliness.

3. Accidents inside the house

If your house-trained dog starts pooping in the house when you are not home, or the dog waits until you get in the shower to poop in the kitchen or living room, its every so often a sign they are feeling lonely. You should not growl at your dog as this will hurt their moods more. Although these accidents could be a sign of a medical issue, it is also said to be a common symptom of stress. But then if it happens only on the days your alarm goes off and you have to go to work, your dog is clearly telling you that he is lonely and doesn’t want to be left alone at home.

4. Reduced appetite or energy level

Your pet may not eat or drink if it’s feeling lonely. Your dog may also lose interest in the activities he usually likes, such as the long walks or having fun at the beach. If you notice that your dog’s energy levels are low and they are eating or playing less than usual, this is a clear sign that there’s something wrong. If physical ailments are ruled out, it’s time to check the possible stressors in your dog’s life. He might be depressed if he’s sad and lonely every time you leave to go to work.

5. Aggression

If your normally sweet dog is suddenly becoming aggressive and snappy, it’s important to understand the reason for your dog’s change in actions and behaviors. This could be a possible health issue but also it could be a symptom of loneliness. Ensure that the aggression is not the outcome of a medical issue. Before losing hope in your dog, try to spend some more time with them. You can also try working with a trainer to address the possible underlying separation anxiety.

6. Signs of Anxiety

Your pet may begin to act anxious if you leave it alone for long. If you suspect your usually well-adjusted dog is showing signs of anxiety, this might indicate that they lonely, sad or even depressed. This may include behaviors such as excessive licking especially their paws or are hiding and showing avoidance behavior. Your dog may also start to avoid you when you call and also might find for a den for himself where they feel the most comfortable. This den might be behind the couch, under the table, under a bed or even in more dangerous spots.  Moreover, a lonely dog may pace around the house as though they are looking to find someone to entertain them.

Ways Loneliness Harm Your Dog

  • Impaired Development – This can especially affect the puppies since young untrained dogs have plenty of energy. This is the key stage your dog needs most interaction with others and also training or he can develop unusual habits or behaviors which can change the course of their lives. Regrettably, very young dogs are regularly ineligible for daycare centers, either because they haven’t been spayed or aren’t fully vaccinated. And even so, you are risking your dog learning undesirable behaviors from other dogs that you don’t know.
  • Self-Injury –  Lonely dogs sometimes get caught up in excessive licking, scratching, tail-biting, or other behaviors that can cause harm when done repeatedly. You should often check your dog for any physical injury and also take note of any behaviors that may cause injuries. A lonely dog easily becomes destructive. They might chew on books, shoes, furniture, houseplants or other toxic substances. You should make sure your home is fully dog-proofed, or he must be confined to safe rooms. A relaxed dog won’t as much need to find trouble but a lonely dog will undoubtedly find trouble that may hurt or even kill them.
  • Weight Issues – Dogs have an ideal weight just like human beings. A lonely dog may have a reduced appetite which, combined with insufficient exercise, can possibly lead to major muscle loss and plenty of other health problems. Alternatively, they might become gluttonous and dissatisfied with the amount of food they’re fed. Get regular check-ups at the vet and also pay close attention to your dog’s overall physical health.