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Six Signs That Your Pet Is Lonely (And What You Can Do About It)

How do you react when Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry, pets, and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

Dogs get lonely, too.  Learn how to help them cope.

Dogs get lonely, too. Learn how to help them cope.

Don't Let a Wagging Tail Fool You

Your dog won't necessarily show their feelings, so it isn't easy to tell if it's feeling lonely. The idea of your pet feeling alone may make you raise your eyebrows, but it happens. You'll want to know what signs to look for if your dog is lonely, and how you can offer them love and support.

A lonely dog at a park.

A lonely dog at a park.

Dogs Do Get Lonely

You might have your doubts if someone told you to take your dog out because it feels alone. Pets emote, sometimes in a big way.

Dogs are social creatures, and like humans, they need a community. They thrive on companionship and love the company of people and other pets.

That's the reason you'll notice your dog looking outside all the time. It enjoys looking out the window at birds and other dogs; it craves their company.

6 Signs That Your Dog Is Lonely

What tells you that your furry friend needs more attention than you've been giving them? Here are the ways they may vent their frustrations.

  1. You may come home to chewed slippers and wires. You'll be greeted by a dirty floor, and you'll find your sofa in a complete mess.
  2. Your pet may act anxious if you leave it alone for too long.
  3. Your pet may vent its frustrations by barking excessively.
  4. Your dog may also begin to avoid you when you call its name.
  5. It may lose interest in the activities it usually enjoys, such as long walks or fun at the beach.
  6. Your pet may begin to eat or drink less.
Help your lonely dog cope.

Help your lonely dog cope.

How to Help Your Pet Cope With Loneliness

If another family pet just passed away, yours might crave company. It may also spend a lot of time alone. How do you help it beat loneliness?

  • Let your dog look out the window. First of all, pets are highly visual. They love looking out the window at other animals, so give them the chance to do so. It helps pass the day quickly.
  • Keep your lonely dog occupied. Take steps to keep your little dog occupied. There is a host of games that will keep its mind working.
  • Put on some music. Youtube can come in handy. Loop your favorite playlists, and they'll become Fido's favorite, too. Put them on before you leave your home.
  • Get your dog a friend. Your pet's mood may improve if it has a new companion. Only get a new puppy because it will benefit it; don't get a new dog out of guilt. Take note that your pets should get along as well.
  • Socialize your dog. It's time to pause and reflect. Has your dog been getting out enough? Bring it to dog runs. If you haven't the time to do so, take her on daily walks.
  • If possible, go home during lunch. You can do this if you live near your workplace. Take your lunch breaks at home when you can. Your pet will appreciate your company.
  • Exercise with your dog. Jog with your dog. It'll start looking forward to the activity and forget about the times when you have to go to work.
  • Have a chat with your vet. If your pet's situation doesn't improve, have a chat with your vet. There may be a cognitive or behavioral issue that only a therapist can solve.
Find some activities for your lonely pup.

Find some activities for your lonely pup.

8 Fun Activities for Your Lonely Dog

There is a host of fun things that your pet can do if it's feeling lonely. Use a little ingenuity, and you'll have yourself a happy companion.

  • Participate in Agility Trials: Agility trials help to boost a dog's confidence. Going through hurdles, teeter-totters, and walking on balance beams will also keep it alert. Your pet will get a chance to release its energy. Agility training also raises its spirits.
  • Volunteer at the Hospital: Does your dog have a docile temperament? You might consider volunteering with your dog at hospitals. It will bring cheer to patients and become happier as well.
  • Go for a Hike: Take Fido on a hike. Hiking helps your dog release energy, and it has the added benefit of giving you some exercise, too. Remember to plan your hiking trip. Ask the authorities in the area where you're going if they accept pets. Find out how to apply basic first aid should it get injured.
  • Plan a Day Trip: Dogs love to stick their heads out of car windows. Of course, you should remember to keep it safe.
  • Visit a Dog Park: These are a haven for dogs. The advantage of taking your pet there is that it has a secure fence. Furthermore, your dog will also get to mix with other pets. Do remember to keep an eye on your pet because a big dog may bite it, albeit unintentionally.
  • Have a Dance Party: Does your pet love music? If your dog howls along with your favorite dance tune, let it do a jig. Take it by the paws and teach it the samba. It will love the chance to release its energy.
  • Learn About Flyball: If you've never heard of flyball, it's a relay race, done in teams of four dogs. The dogs have to catch a tennis ball released from a spring-loaded launcher. If your dog loves to chase balls, this sport is perfect for it.
  • Play Frisbee: Disc dogs are dogs that love to chase frisbees. Just replace the ball you usually use with a frisbee. Note that your dog will have to jump, so ask your vet if it can do this exercise.

What to Remember

Remember, it isn't difficult to manage a pet that is feeling lonely, but it does take effort. Take the time to care for your companion and show them some love.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


Finn from Barstow on July 30, 2018:

Some nice ideas here for caring for your pet. I miss having a dog and hope that one day soon I'll be able to have one again. I'll keep these ideas in mind.

Good topics you've covered in both your articles. Things I don't think a lot of people would think of.

Tamara Moore on October 28, 2017:

Excellent information!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on October 20, 2017:

Great hub, I don't have a dog but have a cat, she does lazy around all day, she only calls me when it is meal time

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on October 06, 2017:

Pets need time with us just us needing time with others. Sometimes we forget how much our pets need us. Their behaviors shows us and you shared a well-informed hub on this title.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 05, 2017:

Great article to understand the behaviour of a lonely pet dog! You have wonderful suggestions that would help people who own dogs or other pets. Nice pictures, very touching!

Thanks for sharing!

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on October 05, 2017:

Great review of the topic, Michelle! We've always had two dogs in our house for over 25 years. But this last spring, we lost our older girl to lymphoma. She left her little bro behind and we're definitely wondering if we should get another pal for him, even though it might not be the best because he's older now.

Our little guy has his spot by our big living room window so he can watch "The Neighbor Show." :) Plus, he's still getting his walks each day to keep in touch with his world. So he seems to be handling the loss better than I expected. But he is less energetic than he used to be.

Thanks for the insight!