12 Signs Your Dog Is Feeling Neglected (And How To Fix It)

It’s an undeniable truth: our lives get busy.

Amidst the whirlwind of work, family commitments, and daily routines, our loyal companions often await our return, hoping for a moment of connection.

But have you ever stopped to wonder if your dog feels left out?

Canines, much like humans, yearn for attention, love, and understanding.

Sometimes, they show subtle signs that they’re feeling overlooked in the chaos of our lives.

Recognizing these signs can be a game-changer for your relationship with your furry friend.

In this article, you will learn 12 signs your dog is feeling neglected, coupled with actionable steps on how to mend the gap and reignite the bond you share.

The Bond Between Humans And Dogs

Dogs have a rich history with humans, dating back to prehistoric times when they assisted us in hunting and guarding our settlements.

Our relationship is built on mutual trust and understanding.

A surprising fact for many is that dogs’ brains produce oxytocin, the same hormone associated with human bonding when they interact with us.

This incredible biological connection shows the depth of our emotional ties.

By recognizing their feelings, we ensure our shared bond remains unbroken.

The 12 Warning Signs And How To Fix Them

Increased Aggression Or Fearfulness

Dogs usually turn aggressive or fearful due to sudden environmental changes.

It could be a new pet, a new family member, or even moving houses.

A tip not many know: Playing soft classical music, especially harp, can calm a dog’s nerves, reducing aggression.

Maintaining a consistent routine and using pheromone sprays or diffusers can also help them adjust better.

Excessive Barking Or Whining

Consistent barking or whining is a dog’s cry for attention.

Did you know that barking dogs often respond to white noise machines or even the hum of a fan?

This masks outdoor noises that may trigger barking.

Also, consider interactive toys that keep their minds engaged, reducing their need to vocalize distress.

Destructive Behavior

A common misconception is that destructive behavior is a dog’s revenge.

In truth, it’s often a plea for mental or physical stimulation.

Introduce “food puzzle” toys, where dogs work to get a treat.

This challenges them mentally and keeps them occupied, curbing their need to chew on that new couch.

Overeating Or Under-Eating

Stress or neglect can cause a dog to overeat or lose appetite.

Dogs have feeding rhythms, just like us.

Serving their meals at fixed times and in puzzle feeders, which makes eating a fun game, can stabilize their feeding habits, making them look forward to mealtime.

Isolation Or Hiding

Seeing an exuberant dog turn into a recluse is worrisome.

What many owners might not know is that dogs have individual personalities; some are naturally introverted.

However, sudden isolation can indicate distress.

By setting up a comfy corner with their favorite toys and introducing them to calming scents like lavender, you can alleviate some of their anxieties.

Avoidance Or Flinching When Touched

This behavior often springs from a past traumatic experience.

When petting a dog, always ensure your hand approaches them from an angle they can see, not directly from above, to avoid startling them.

Slow, reassuring movements and pairing touch with positive rewards can help rebuild trust.

Hyperactivity Or Restlessness

A dog bouncing off the walls is likely trying to burn off pent-up energy.

Besides physical play, introducing scent games (hiding treats for them to find) can be both mentally stimulating and energy-consuming.

A pro tip: Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell, so using different scented treats makes the game even more engaging!

Excessive Licking Or Chewing On Themselves

While this might seem like a grooming habit, consistent licking can signify skin issues or anxiety.

An oatmeal bath, a remedy not widely known, can soothe itchy skin.

For anxiety-driven behavior, interactive toys or gentle massages can divert their attention.

Ignoring Commands They Once Knew

Have you ever wondered why your fur baby, who once heeled or sat at your command, suddenly acts as if they’ve never heard the word?

Just like humans, dogs can experience mental fatigue or distraction.

An interesting fact: the environment plays a major role.

A command learned indoors might not transfer immediately to a bustling park.

Revisiting training grounds, practicing commands in various settings, and using treats or toys as reinforcers can help refresh their memory.

Accidents Indoors

When a well-trained dog starts having accidents indoors, it can be baffling and frustrating.

Contrary to common beliefs, this isn’t always a sign of defiance or forgetfulness.

Changes in diet, infections, or even anxiety can cause this behavior.

Re-establishing a regular outdoor potty routine and monitoring their diet can help.

Also, never scold a dog post-accident; they likely won’t make the connection.

Instead, reward them for doing their business outside.

Depression Or Lethargy

Canine depression, though lesser known, is very real.

Loss of a companion, change in environment, or even seasonal shifts can lead to this.

Signs include loss of appetite, excessive sleeping, or disinterest in play.

Engaging them in new activities, introducing toys, or even dog-friendly music can help uplift their mood.

In persistent cases, a vet or canine therapist’s consultation is beneficial.

Constantly Seeking Attention

Have you ever had your dog constantly pawing or nudging you?

While cute, it can indicate an emotional void.

However, attention-seeking should be balanced.

Overindulgence can lead to over-dependence.

While it’s essential to address their emotional needs, teaching them to play independently or introducing puzzle toys can give them a constructive outlet.

Turning Things Around: From Neglect To Nurture

Our dogs mirror our energies.

Transforming neglect into nurture isn’t just about addressing their immediate signs but pivoting to a lifestyle that fosters mutual respect and understanding.

The Role Of Routine

Just as kids thrive on routine, so do dogs.

Consistency gives them a sense of security.

Scheduled feeding, playtime, and walks can make a world of difference.

An interesting tidbit: dogs have an internal clock.

Have you ever noticed them waiting by their food bowl or the door around walk time?

That’s their internal clock at work!

Leveraging this can ensure a harmonious routine.

Engaging Activities For Bonding

Beyond fetch or tug-of-war, activities like agility training or even simple scent games can be both stimulating and bonding.

Setting aside dedicated “us time,” be it a quiet cuddling session or a spirited play round, can bridge any emotional gaps.

Remember, it’s not about the quantity but the quality of time spent together.

At the heart of every wag, bark, or nuzzle is a simple plea: “See me. Understand me.”

Recognizing the signs of neglect is the first step.

But the journey is about evolving as dog parents, ensuring our canine companions feel valued every single day.

After all, in their short lives, we are their whole world.

Embracing this responsibility can lead to a fulfilling, joyous bond that stands the test of time.

Before You Go…

You now know the signs your dog is feeling neglacted.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Or watch this video:

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.