Are you searching for the signs that indicate your dog misses you when you are gone? You are in the right place.
Dogs are social animals that form strong bonds with their human families. Therefore, they experience stress and anxiety, especially when you are away.
Understanding these signs will help you take steps to make your dog more comfortable. This includes providing interactive toys, leaving an item of clothing with your scent, or setting up a comfortable space for them to relax.
Early identification and intervention will prevent the escalation of symptoms. In addition, it will make treatment more manageable.
Let us look at some of the signs you should look out for.
10 Signs Your Dog Misses You When You’re Gone
Here are some of the signs your dog misses you:
1) Whining or Howling as You Leave
One of the most apparent signs that your dog misses you is if they start to whine or howl as you’re heading out the door. This vocalization is a clear indicator of distress and anxiety in your absence. This is similar to a toddler crying when a parent leaves.
2) Following or Shadowing You
Dogs are excellent at reading human body language. Before you leave, they pick up cues that you are about to leave (like grabbing keys or putting on shoes). If your dog seems to follow you everywhere you go, it is a sign that they always miss you the moment you step out. They stick close, hoping their presence will make you change your mind about leaving.
3) Pacing or Restlessness
You might notice your dog pacing back and forth near the door after you leave. This restless behavior indicates that they are uneasy and anxious without you around.
Scratching at the door or digging near it are signs of distress. They may even sniff at the door, picking up the lingering scent you left behind. For your dog, the door is the last barrier between them and you, so they may attempt to “dig” their way through to reunite with you.
4) Hunger Strike
Loss of appetite can be attributed to your dog’s emotional stress when you’re gone. Eating requires a certain level of comfort and safety, which may be compromised in your absence. If you find a full food bowl untouched when you get back, this could be a sign that your absence had a significant impact. This could also mean your dog is sick. Therefore, we recommend consulting a vet if this becomes a serious issue.
5) Changes in Sleeping Patterns
Some dogs sleep more when their owners are gone as a coping mechanism. Conversely, others might sleep less due to anxiety. If there is a noticeable change in your dog’s sleeping pattern, it may be related to your absence.
6) Over-Excitement Upon Your Return
If your dog greets you with uncontainable joy, jumping, barking, or wagging their tail frantically, it’s a clear sign that they’ve missed you. This “greeting” is their way of expressing how important you are to them. Some dogs will greet you with a toy in their mouth, which is seen as a sign of affection.
8)Overly Clingy When You’re Back
Being overly clingy when you return is another sign that your dog experiences separation anxiety. Your dog may shadow you closely to ensure that you’re not going to leave again, representing a coping mechanism to mitigate their own stress levels.
9) Pooping or Peeing Indoors
For house-trained dogs, pooping or peeing indoors is a significant indicator of stress or anxiety caused by the owner’s absence. This shouldn’t be punished; instead, it should be seen as a sign of their emotional distress. Consider consulting a veterinarian or a canine behaviorist if this behavior persists.
10) Collecting Your Scent
Many dogs collect items that smell like their owners when they are not around. This could be anything from socks to pillows. Finding a stash of your belongings in their favorite resting spot is another sign that your dog misses you.
Coping Mechanisms for the Dog
1) Leaving an Item of Clothing
Dogs have an incredibly keen sense of smell. Your scent comforts your pet and helps alleviate loneliness or anxiety when you’re not around.
Leave clothes you’ve recently worn in your dog’s favorite resting spot. Make sure it’s something you won’t mind getting a little chewed up or dirty, like an old T-shirt. In addition, the clothing should not have buttons or other small parts that could be a choking hazard.
2) Puzzle Toys
Puzzle toys stimulate your dog’s brain, keeping them busy and occupied. This distraction will help reduce feelings of anxiety or boredom that they experience in your absence.
Before leaving, give your dog a puzzle toy filled with treats or kibble. You will find a variety of these at pet stores. I always recommend having puzzle toys with complex contraptions that dispense treats as your dog plays with them.
Always monitor your dog the first few times they play with a new toy to ensure they like it and it’s safe.
3) Pet Sitter or Dog Daycare
A pet sitter provides one-on-one attention that greatly eases your dog’s anxiety. Consider someone your dog is already familiar with.
In addition, dog daycare facilities offer a social environment where your dog will interact with other dogs. However, you should check the staff-to-dog ratio, cleanliness, and safety measures in place.
By now, I’m sure you know the different signs your dog misses you when you’re gone.
Once you understand how your dog reacts, design a training program to help them become more independent and less anxious. This could include gradual desensitization to your leaving or rewarding calm behavior.
In addition, you should implement coping mechanisms to ensure your dog is happy and well-adjusted until you return. I also recommend consulting a canine behavior expert to assist you.
I hope this post helped you know the signs indicating your dog misses you when you’re gone.