14 Things That Emotionally Hurt Your Dog

Do you know that your behavior towards your dog can hurt their feelings?

If a bond is not built up and nurtured from the outset, it’s easy for pet owners to harm their furry friend’s emotional well-being.

From poor vocal cues or body language to an unbalanced diet, these things can damage your relationship with your pup.

In this article, we share 14 things that emotionally hurt your dog and what you should do to keep them happy and healthy instead. 

Being Forced Into A Situation, They’re Uncomfortable With 

white black little dog laying on the ground looking sad

Forcing your dog into a situation they’re not comfortable with may seem like the best option in the short term, but it can have long-term consequences for their emotional well-being.

Despite our best intentions, your dog’s body language and behavior can reflect their distress and reluctance to remain in an intimidating or unfamiliar atmosphere.

Withholding threats and reprimanding bad behavior may seem like a suitable way to show disapproval, but instead, consider providing more training and guidance to help them learn how to cope better with such moments of distress.

Taking steps to understand what is causing your dog’s discomfort while gently encouraging them as they adjust will create a stronger bond between you and your pup, leading to more pleasant future experiences.

Seeing Other Dogs Get Hurt Or Killed 

When a beloved family dog gets hurt or killed, it is heartbreaking for the whole family.

This distress can be even greater for the other dogs in the household. 

Dogs have the same capacity for emotional attachment and understanding of tragedy as humans, so when one of their kind is hurt or killed, it greatly affects them.

Seeing another dog suffer may cause your dog to become overly protective of others, resulting in distrustful behavior towards unfamiliar animals.

It’s important to recognize that your pup may be dealing with some emotional trauma after such an experience and give them plenty of love and reassurance during this difficult time.

Having Their Toys Taken Away 

white brown dog in snow with a toy in his mouth

Every pup loves its toys and takes comfort in having them close by. 

Taking a beloved toy away from a dog can disrupt its emotional stability and social behavior, even if it is done with the best intentions.

As pack animals, our pup friends have an innate need to feel like they are part of something greater than themselves.

Squashing their creative playtime and connection with familiar objects hurts this instinctual desire for belonging.

To ensure your furry friend feels safe in her environment and prevent damage to the pup-owner bond, pet parents must avoid taking away their pup’s toys without properly considering the situation first.

Being Ignored

Ignoring your dog can have serious emotional impacts on the animal. 

Our dogs rely heavily on us to meet their most basic needs, and when these are not met, they will become needy and dependent, just like a child.

Dogs that are ignored tend to develop anxiety disorders or destructive behaviors.

They can also become withdrawn and refuse to interact with family members or friends.

Often this behavior is seen as bad, but it is merely a cry for attention from an otherwise neglected pet.

When cared for properly and loved, a dog’s emotional well-being will improve greatly, allowing them to develop into secure and social companions, the type of companion that all pet owners want their animals to be.

Having Their Food Or Water Bowl Taken Away 

white brown dog sitting in front of a full food bowl

Of course, as humans, we often forget just how much a simple action can have a major impact on our four-legged friends.

When it comes to food and water bowls, this could be the case.

Taking away your dog’s bowl can cause immense emotional hardship and even anxiety in some cases.

This could include symptoms like aggression or depression, both of which are serious consequences that are worth considering when choosing whether or not to remove their food or water bowl.

Therefore, it is essential that you consider the emotional state of your pup before doing so.

Lack Of Attention From Their Owners 

Though it might not be intentional, owners can suffer emotionally when they don’t give their dogs enough attention.

Dogs are social animals and require the same loving care that humans need to truly thrive,

This includes love and companionship with shared activities like walks in the park.

That will provide your dog with mental stimulation and physical exercise, which is essential to their health.

A lack of attention can lead them to become increasingly anxious and stressed as a result of not feeling connected with their owner, which could manifest in behaviors like biting or barking excessively.

Though many think showering their pet with love and affection is all they need – it’s important to remember the importance of time spent together just enjoying each other’s company.

Living In A Dirty Environment 

multi colored dog laying and sleeping on the side

Your dog relies on you as an owner to provide them with an environment suited to their specific needs.

This includes basic upkeep of the living environment, including regular cleaning or general maintenance of the house.

When not considered, this unhygienic living environment may cause distress and anxiety amongst your pet, especially if your pup is accustomed to a more comfortable home life.

Thus, it’s important to regularly clean up after your pup and ensure that their environment remains conducive to their overall happiness.

It’s key that avid pet owners understand that they must actively provide a clean home for their pets to ensure they stay emotionally healthy.

Not Being Able To Run Around And Play Freely

Not being able to play freely is emotionally draining for dogs.

Like us, they enjoy having some freedom to move and explore their environment.

Dogs use running and playing to relieve stress and get rid of pent-up energy, so when they can’t do it, it limits their ability to de-stress and be happy.

Furthermore, not getting enough mental stimulation can affect a dog’s mood too.

So encouraging regular playtime for your pup helps physically and mentally.

That can also help strengthen the bond you share with them, as physical activity brings humans closer together too!

Being On A Car Ride That Is Too Long Or Stressful 

grey white dog in car looking out of the window

Car rides can be great fun for everyone, but don’t forget that they can also become a stressful and intimidating experience for your dog.

Long journeys by car can prove to be emotionally draining for your pet companion, as well as physically exhausting.

Not only does the loud noise of traffic and other environmental sounds have the potential to frighten your dog, but external stimulation from stopping frequently or lengthy wait times in traffic can also desensitize them over time.

By understanding these points and following basic safety protocols, such as securing your pet with a comfortable harness in the back seat before taking off, you will ensure an easier and overall more enjoyable ride for both you and your pup.

Not Getting Enough Exercise

Pet owners should note that not providing enough exercise for their canine companion can wreak havoc not only on your pup’s physical and emotional health.

Lack of exercise affects them in several ways – from weakening their immune systems to causing depression and anxiety.

Polls show that regular exercise may help improve the bond between pet and owner.

Fido or Fifi needs to get at least 30 minutes of vigorous activity daily.

Games such as hide-and-seek, fetch, or frisbee can stimulate plenty of stimulation.

Ultimately, dog owners must remember that giving our beloved four-legged friends enough physical activity is imperative to maintain good overall health and happiness.

Being Left Alone For Long Periods 

white brown little dog looking out of the window at home

Dogs are social animals and crave companionship, so leaving them alone for long periods can hurt their emotional well-being.

Dogs need to interact with people, other pets, and the environment regularly to stay mentally stimulated and healthy.

If they are isolated from these vital sources of stimulation for too long, depression or anxiety can set in quickly.

Signs of stress may include reduced activity, unresponsiveness, and sleeplessness, so dog owners need to pay close attention to their pet’s behavior.

Whenever possible, try to spend quality time with your pup each day, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time.

It will make all the difference in helping them stay happy and content.

Not Being Able To Go Outside 

Not being able to go outside can have an emotional toll on your dog. 

Fresh air, smells, and socializing with other animals are all things that our canines need to stay emotionally stable.

Without these activities, dogs will become anxious or bored, which can result in destructive behavior or a loss of appetite.

Keeping your pup mentally and emotionally healthy includes providing ample opportunities for exercise and outdoor exploration, so if you’re unable to take them outside at times, be sure to give them lots of love and attention indoors.

After all, our four-legged friends need us just as much as we need them!

Being Yelled At Or Punished Harshly 

brown big dog laying on a couch

It is important to remember that dogs have feelings too.

Unfortunately, your dog can suffer from emotional distress when yelled at or punished harshly.

According to research, dogs display increased levels of stress hormones in response to consistent verbal outbursts or physical punishments.

An experience like this can cause a dog to become more anxious and fearful, thus negatively impacting its behavioral development and overall quality of life.

If a dog misbehaves, it is better to use positive reinforcement instead of shouting at them or correcting them in an overly strict way.

Reward systems like treats and toys coupled with mute signals, such as hand gestures or body postures, are much more effective in helping your furry friend learn how to behave better.

Not Having A Loving Home

Dogs rely heavily on their owners for both physical and mental nourishment.

Without it, they may become depressed and lethargic.

They need companionship and an appropriate environment that understands and supports their needs, such as daily exercise, social interaction, and healthy feeding habits.

If these needs are not met, your dog’s well-being could suffer significantly in the long run – behavior changes due to stress or anxiety could surface at any time.

Provide a warm and caring home setting that takes into account their individual needs and abilities; even small efforts can make all the difference in the quality of life of your beloved pooch!

Before You Go…

You now know the things that emotionally hurt your dog.

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

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.