Do dogs get lonely?

Do dogs get lonely?

7 December 2022

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 6 June 2023

The short answer is yes. One of the emotions dogs can feel is loneliness. As you may know, dogs are pack animals and social creatures, and for this reason, they don’t like spending too much time alone.

Miniature Dachsund, Rupi, laying on a white blanket, ears flat, looking sad

Don’t worry though, the good news is that most dogs can be left alone for short periods of time. Unless they have separation anxiety, they will generally be ok for about four hours at a time, depending on their age and needs. When we talk about their loneliness, it is a long term issue and not something that occurs after a few hours. Taking them on walks, spending quality time with them or if they have another dog in the household can prevent them from feeling lonely.

Signs of loneliness in your dog include:

  1. Becoming more clingy and needy
  2. Unsettled behaviour or being destructive
  3. Lethargy or lack of interest in playing
  4. Decreased appetite

If you think your dog is showing signs of loneliness, you may want to speak to your vet about solutions and to see if there are any other underlying issues. This is especially important if you are already keeping them occupied and socialising them.

Here are a few simple things you can implement today to help your dog feel less lonely:

  1. Put on some music
  2. Give them a spot to look out the window
  3. Take your lunch break with them
  4. Leave them with a stimulating, fun game
  5. Find a borrower for your dog to keep them company throughout the day and give them extra love and walks

Leaving your dog alone is already hard, seeing those puppy-dog eyes as you go out the door really tugs at your heartstrings! Don’t worry more about them after finding out they can feel loneliness though. Just keep an eye on their health and happiness and make sure to give them some extra love today. If they are showing signs of loneliness, remember it can be fixed and they will be ok!

This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon.  Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.

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