How to Spot Loneliness in Pets

Bored and lonely cat.

Dogs and cats have unique personalities and behaviors that can be hard for us humans to dissect. Just like humans, our animals can feel a range of emotions, and not all of them are positive. Since we only want the best for our pets, the idea that a dog or cat might potentially be lonely is anxiety-inducing. Your friends at Berkeley Veterinary Center are here to help you determine if your pet is lonely and what to do about it if they are:

Excessively Clingy Behavior

If your dog or cat follows you like your own shadow, it could be an indication that he or she is feeling lonely. While many animals show their love by occasionally staying close, a lonely pet will take it to extreme levels. If you have a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom buddy, it could be a sign that your pet is in need of some companionship.

Noticeable Behavioral Changes

Any big change in your cat or dog’s personality might be the result of loneliness. If your pet used to be ecstatic about playtime and now lies listlessly as you try to play fetch, loneliness could be the culprit. Sometimes lonely dogs or cats might exhibit destructive behavior like chewing up the furniture or incessant howling. Others lose their appetites. Whenever you notice significant changes in your pet’s behavior, you should schedule a wellness visit to make sure a health issue isn’t to blame.

Patches of Missing Hair

Both dogs and cats can turn to excessive licking if they are feeling lonely. If you notice patches of missing hair on your dog or cat (specifically around the kitty’s tummy), you should call your Bayville veterinarian. Dogs are especially susceptible to lesions that could become serious without the proper attention.

Treating Loneliness in Pets

If your schedule keeps you away from the house for long periods of time, it is important to give your pets focused attention when you are at home. You can also try:

  • Engaging toys like puzzles or Kongs can keep your pet distracted until you can get back home
  • Leaving an article of clothing that smells like you in your pet’s kennel 
  • Scheduling a few long walks in the morning or the evening
  • Hiring a pet sitter to come to check on him during the day
  • Enrolling your pup in doggie daycare
  • Bringing a new pet home (just make sure the new animal is a good fit for everyone in your house)

Berkeley Veterinary Center is a fear-free certified, AAHA-accredited practice committed to providing top-tier veterinary care in Bayville and the surrounding areas. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, please call (732) 269-3600.

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