Is Your Dog Feeling Lonesome Tonight?


Do dogs get lonely? Just like us humans, loneliness is an affliction that even dogs cannot escape. Considering their incredible ability to showcase love, affection, protectiveness, and adoration, they can also feel loneliness, and at quite a deep level too.

In fact, some of the behaviors they display when they’re lonely are not very different from how humans act when we are alone and upset. 

In this article, we’ll take you through what it can look like when a dog feels lonely, so you can quickly identify it in your pet and address it!

Let’s go.

Why Do Dogs Get Lonely?

We all know that dogs are descendants of wolves. Just like wolves, they are pack animals who depend on others for socioemotional needs. 

Dogs are social animals and benefit from being in a family unit or a “pack.” Being in a unit like this helps them feel like they belong and have a purpose.

Extensive research has found that dogs experience emotions very similar to young human children. 

Dogs can feel and understand joy, sadness, fear, loneliness, and abandonment. They like to form strong social bonds with their humans or those around them. 

So if you’ve asked yourself, “do my dogs get lonely?”chances are that they’ve felt lonely from time to time.

They also have a distinct memory, bolstered by their acute sense of smell. Dogs can actually remember family members even after they return to them after a long, long time. They aren’t called “man’s best friend” for no reason!

Signs of a Lonely Dog

Here are some common identifiers to watch out for if you suspect your dog is feeling lonely. 

Unprecedented Hair Loss

Do dogs get lonely at home alone? Yes, and when dogs feel separation anxiety, they can start to shed or lose a lot of their hair and fur. This, sometimes, even happens when dogs are bored or scared. 

Loss of Appetite

Dogs can experience changes in their appetite when they are lonely or dejected. They might not want to eat enough food because the emotion can be overwhelming. Prepare something tasty and healthy for them to nibble on, like cooked cabbage.

Lashing Out

Lonely dogs, like some lonely humans, are not above throwing a fit. Expect destructive behavior like knocking over household items, damaging property, and barking excessively for no reason. 

Lonely dogs are also known to howl loudly or break furniture, shoes, and articles of clothing. This is simply to seek attention and say, “Hey! I’m still here!”

Sleeping Too Much

This one’s a no brainer. Sleep offers an escape or refuge from unpleasant feelings and helps distract from loneliness. Even though temporary, this serves as a coping mechanism for lonely dogs to handle the feeling of being alone. If you notice your dog is snoozing a lot more than usual, it could be lonely.

However, excess sleeping could also result from fatigue or other conditions, so keep your vet in the loop when you notice it happening.

Clingy Behaviour

The lonelier dogs feel, the more they want to be around their humans once they are home. If you’re an office goer, you know all too well how your dog receives you when you’re back home. They’re barking, jumping, and can’t contain their excitement. They will not want to leave your side until they’ve got a fair share of cuddles. 

Lick Granulomas 

Consider this as something of a nervous tick. Humans bite their nails when anxious or upset, and dogs tend to over-groom. They constantly keep licking their fur over and over if they’re feeling dejected or lonely.

“Lick granulomas are a common manifestation of boredom or anxiety in dogs, and present as small, circular sores that are often on the dog’s carpus or wrist”, says Dr. Caroline Wilde, a staff veterinarian at Trupanion.

Showing Apathy or Less Playful

Do dogs get lonely when left alone? Yes! And you can tell this is happening because they might seem more apathetic and less inclined to play with you or even their favorite toy. 

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