This is Why Your Dog Doesn’t Like to be Left Alone

August 13, 2019 at 9:00 AM by Nikki Wardle

Nikki Wardle

Lonely dog at home alone

Life gets crazy for everyone, and every day doesn’t go as planned. Sometimes you are forced to leave your pets alone for extended periods due to no fault of your own, and the consequences can be alarming for your pet’s health and your Armani shoes.

Below are some of the reasons your pet might be acting out while you are gone, and what you can do about it.

Separation Anxiety

Imagine if you’re at home and your spouse, partner, or parent leaves without saying a word. You don’t know when they will be back or even if they are coming back. This human is your primary source for love, activities, and more importantly, is your only source for food and water. On top of that, you have no concept of time. Stressed is most likely the best word to use to describe what your feeling. That is how millions of dogs feel when you leave for work and don’t come back for four, five, or more hours at a time.  

Lack of Stimulation Causes Boredom

If your dog is a high energy breed like a Labrador, Border Collie, or a Dalmatian, then getting bored will happen fairly quickly.  Most dogs, not just the high energy breeds, need an outlet to keep them busy during the day. If not, dogs will find something to do on their own and most likely, you’re not going to like what it is.

Behaviors your dog is likely to display if they are experiencing separation anxiety or boredom:

  • Digging
  • Barking or increased barking
  • Chewing on items that they shouldn’t be chewed on (think furniture, shoes, and even walls)
  • Running away
  • Additional urinating or defecating
  • Self-harm

Unexpected Emergencies

Just like toddlers and young children, dogs don’t know what they can and cannot play with. Pets are just as susceptible to poisoning, strangulation, and other household hazards as young humans are. If they get into a bad situation, dogs will often subject themselves to painful ways of escaping.

Options to leaving your dog at home

  • Doggy Daycare – Dog day camps are a great way to help socialize your dog and keep them active for a majority of the day.
  • Pet Sitter – Whether it’s a friend, neighbor, or pet-sitting service, getting a pet sitter during the day or part of the day will help your canine feel calm and get some quality snuggle and play time.
  • Pet Walking Service – There are several pet-walking sites and apps that you can download to your phone like Rover or Wags.  It’s so easy to schedule a dog-walker to come to your home and pick up your pooch for some much needed walking time.

Tips for helping your dog be more comfortable alone at home

  • Calming Pheromones - Adaptil™ makes several products for dogs are used to help them feel a sense of comfort and reassurance. It comes in a diffuser, spray or collar.
  • Pet Tunes – Pet Acoustics makes a variety of their Pet Tunes blue tooth speakers for dogs, cats, birds, and even horses. Certain types of music have been proven to help reduce stress, excessing barking, and separation anxiety.
  • Interactive Toys – Ball throwing toys, pet puzzles, and Kong toys are great ways for your dog to spend at least part of the day getting some mental or physical exercise.
  • Prescription Therapies - In extreme cases, talk to your veterinarian about a drug therapy that may be available for your pet.
  • Additional Exercise - Take your pup on a very long walk before you leave to make sure at least some of their energy is spent before you leave.

As good pet parents, we would love to take them (almost) everywhere we go, but most places are not pet-friendly and there are many times we have to leave Fido at home. We hope these tips help keep your dog from being lonely and stressed during those times when you are away.

Topics: Pet Boarding, Doggie Day Camp, Doggie Daycare

Nikki Wardle

Written by Nikki Wardle

Nikki is the marketing manager for IPH and has been writing for Intermountain Pet Hospital since 2014.