Many dogs suffer greatly when they have to stay at home alone for a long time. Some even develop separation anxiety. Here are some signs that you can tell your dog is lonely.
As a classic pack animal, dogs are not naturally meant to be left alone for long periods of time. In the wild, being abandoned by its pack often meant the death of the abandoned dog. Although dogs know that people are not dogs, they still see their people as part of their own pack.
Many dogs that are frequently left alone for long periods of time suffer from stress and separation anxiety. How long a dog can be left alone sometimes depends on its nature. So that dogs can better endure the time they have to be left alone, they should learn how to be left alone step by step.
Some dogs just sleep through the absence of their owner, for others the loneliness is real torture. If the dog develops one or more of these 5 behavioral problems, its loneliness can be the trigger.
Attention: Health problems can also be the trigger for these behavioral problems. If the vet can rule out physical reasons, the problem is probably in the dog’s psyche.
This is how dogs show their separation anxiety
These classic behavioral issues can be a sign that the dog is feeling lonely and suffering from separation anxiety.
Persistent barking or howling
Dogs that feel lonely often bark, whine, and howl when they are home alone. This usually goes unnoticed by the owner until annoyed neighbors complain.
Tip: With a pet surveillance camera, you can also see how your dog is behaving at home when you are away.
If the dog develops into a real destroyer in your absence, this can be a sign that he suffers from being alone. Dogs will then resort to any means—especially things that aren’t normally allowed—like cleaning out the trash can, chewing on shoes, and tearing up pillows to get more attention.
If your normally housebroken dog suddenly leaves stinky messages in the house, it is imperative that you get to the bottom of the cause. In addition to physical problems, being unclean can also be a sign of severe mental stress (e.g. fear of loss). Instead of scolding the dog, the trigger for the uncleanliness must be found and eliminated.
Loss of appetite and drive
Dogs that feel lonely often suffer from a lack of appetite and listlessness. They spurn their food and are less active than before the crisis. Here, too, health reasons must be ruled out by a veterinarian.
If your otherwise very peaceful dog suddenly reacts aggressively, it may be that he suffers from loneliness and separation anxiety. Even docile dogs suffering from loneliness can suddenly snap at their owner.
Make it easier for the dog to be alone
Being alone is one of the things many dogs hate the most. It is not always possible to avoid the dog having to stay at home alone. Nevertheless, you can make the lonely hours more pleasant for him:
- Install a pet camera so you can watch the dog while you’re out and about. His behavior can be revealing.
- Provide the necessary exercise before the dog has to be left alone.
- Make the room where the dog is in your absence safe (no power cords, poisonous plants, garbage cans, etc.).
- Don’t throw a lengthy farewell ceremony before you leave the house.
- Leave your dog a toy to keep them busy (e.g. an intelligence toy with treats).
- A worn sweater with your smell in the basket has a calming effect on the dog.