Dogs are a very social animal in general and that is a large part of the reason they became domesticated. Although dogs sleep a large part of the day they enjoy the company of people and other animals whenever possible. A dog that is not receiving an adequate amount of social interaction can become bored, frustrated, lonely, and even depressed.
With our busy lifestyles, we often have to leave our dogs home alone for extended periods of time and often don’t have the time or energy to spend with them.
Dogs like humans can feel alone if they spend a certain amount of time without someone else’s company. It is a very common problem that arises thanks to modern life that humans have today.
Undoubtedly, our dog will not like the idea of spending several hours of the day in complete solitude, a situation that will lead to a depressive picture by not being able to spend time with us. But do not despair, for this situation you can find simple solutions in creative ways.
Lonely Dog Symptoms
How can you tell if your dog is suffering and feeling lonely? Here are some of the symptoms and signs to look for
If you find yourself returning home to a scene of destruction and mess it is a good sign that your dog is bored and lonely while you are out. This can include chewed shoes, furniture, and other household items torn up. Or they have gone in the trash bin and its contents are strewn all over the place.
If your normally well toilet trained dog starts going toilet in the home when you are not home it is often a sign that they are lonely. Eliminate if this behavior may have a medical reason and don’t growl at your dog as this will hurt their feelings even more.
Nuisance barking and howling
If your neighbors are complaining that your dog has been barking and howling all day while you were out, it is a sure sign that your dog is lonely and frustrated. Your dog is clearly calling out for attention from anybody or is listening.
Low energy levels and no appetite
If your dog’s energy levels seem down and they are not eating as much as normal it can be a sign that they are sad and lonely. Once again, eliminate any health issues that be the cause. Read “Will a dog starve themselves: to learn more.
If your normally friendly dog is becoming snappy or aggressive it also may be a sign that they are unhappy and lonely. Ensure that this aggression is not the result of a medical issue.
Signs of Anxiety
If your normally well-adjusted dog is showing signs of anxiety it may indicate that they are sad and lonely, even depressed. This may include behaviors such as a loss of interest in playing, excessive licking especially the paws or are showing avoidance behavior and hiding.
Lonely Dog Solutions
If your dog is showing lonely dog symptoms as outlined above it is quite likely that they are spending a lot of time home alone or you are too busy to spend as much time with them as they would want. Here are possible lonely dog solutions you could give a go.
Provide adequate exercise
The amount of exercise a dog needs can vary from breed to breed or even between individual dogs. It is often a good idea to give your dog the opportunity to burn off some energy if they are going to be home alone for a period of time. For a guide to how much exercise your particular dog needs read this article.
If your dog is alone inside the house all day, allow them access to a window where they can see the outside world. Dogs are very visual animals and like to see what is going on. Obviously, you don’t want them barking all day at everything they see out the window, so a view into the backyard is probably a better idea.
Toys to keep them occupied
Mental stimulation is crucial for dogs to challenge their minds and prevent them from becoming bored. In addition, mental exercise can use as much energy and tire your dog just as much as physical exercise. Provide them with a range of different toys and give them a new toy every now and again. This will be like meeting a new friend.
Interactive puzzle toys are one of the best ways to challenge your dog’s mind and provide mental enrichment. This is especially true if you have a highly intelligent breed. To learn more about puzzle toys for dogs read this article.
Self Playing Toys
There are many toys available for dogs that are designed to be self-entertaining. Some of these toys are designed to be used outside in the yard but many can be used inside also. To learn more about Self Playing dog toys read this article
Dog Toys that Move
There are many dog toys that move, shake, vibrate, and make noises. Dogs love this type of toy as it stimulates their natural prey and chase instinct. To learn more about dog toys that move on their own read this article.
Chewing is a natural instinctive behavior for dogs and has many benefits including keeping them occupied and aiding with their dental health. Chewing is also a very relaxing and calming activity for your dog. Many dogs hold tension in their jaw. It also releases endorphins to their brain giving them that relaxed happy feeling. to learn more about the benefits of chew toys for dogs read this article
Digging is also a natural instinctive behavior for dogs and a great way to occupy them. However, you probably don’t want your dog digging up your garden or even your carpet. You can’t train an instinctive behavior out of a dog but you can redirect that behavior. Provide them with toys that cater to this natural instinct. Read Dog toys for Diggers to learn more
Automatic Ball Launchers
Dogs love a good game of fetch. With an automatic ball launcher, they can play fetch by themselves to their heart’s content. To learn more about automatic ball launchers read this article.
Provide background sound
Try leaving on the television or radio for your dog when you are not home. You can even get meditative calming music for dogs. See details here on Amazon
Play with other dogs
Arrange the opportunity for your dog to spend time with other dogs. If you don’t know of any other dogs they could play with you may want to consider doggie daycare. Doggie daycare is not suitable for all dogs and not all dogs are suitable for doggie daycare. Read “Is Doggie Daycare good for dogs” to learn if this would be an option for you.
Have someone visit them during the day
If your dog is home alone all day try to pop home for a quick visit at lunchtime or have a friend or neighbor spend some time with them. There are also pet minding services who can provide this service for you if you don’t have anyone you can call on to do this.
Treat Dispensing Dog Cameras
A treat-dispensing dog camera is a gadget that allows you to see what your dog is doing, to talk to them, and even give them a treat. These can be operated from your smartphone and many include extra features like notifying you if your dog is barking. It is like spending time with your dog even when you are not there. See Best pet camera for dogs to learn more
Get another dog
Consider getting your lonely dog a friend. This is a serious decision and you need to be sure that it is the right solution for both you and your dog. If you have a lonely or bored dog that is getting up to no good, a second dog may actually make the situation worst. Read “Getting a second dog quiz” to help with this decision. You may also like “Are dogs happier in pairs“.
Summary – Lonely dog symptoms and solutions
If your dog is lonely or has anxiety their behavior and mood will show this. Try to increase their exercise, both physical and mental, and provide ways to help to occupy them. For more ways to entertain a dog home alone see here. Ultimately, they are wanting more company and companionship so try to spend more quality time with them. I hope you have found these suggested lonely dog solutions helpful.