Life happens. Even the most devoted pet parent can get bogged down with running the kids to after-school activities, stressing out about work and spending way too much time tapping on smartphones. And when the stresses of life take over, sometimes the family dog is the one who suffers the most. So ask yourself: Is my dog getting enough attention? How much attention do dogs need, anyway?
Watch out for these six warnings that may signal your dog isn’t getting enough attention.
Your Dog Sleeps All the Time
Dogs need mental stimulation and exercise to live a long, healthy life. The adage that we do not stop playing because we grow old, but we grow old because we stop playing holds true with our canine counterparts. If Rover spends most of the day snoozing, it might mean your dog needs more attention. Set aside time every day for a special training session or some indoor playtime to boost their energy and strengthen your bond.
Your Dog Shows Signs of Depression
Yes, even dogs can get the blues. Are you addicted to a cell phone, tablet or computer? Does that addiction mean less time for playing, walks or tummy rubs for your dog? Some dog depression symptoms include a disinterest in food or play, destructive behavior, no longer greeting you at the door and suddenly having household accidents. Get outside, go somewhere, and spend some device-free quality time with your dog to brighten your dog’s spirits.
Your Dog Starts Misbehaving
Sometimes a dog who is having emotional stress or feeling depressed will urinate and/or defecate in the house. If your dog suddenly starts having these symptoms, seek veterinary help to rule out any underlying medical condition. Bored dogs might also occupy themselves by chewing on furniture, digging in the garbage can or barking incessantly. If your dog suddenly shows signs of bad behavior, they likely need some attention.
Your Dog Has Put on Weight
Even though they might want you to think otherwise, the way to a dog’s heart is definitely not through their stomach. Dogs are not able to freely use the refrigerator or dial a pizza delivery service. If your dog is overweight, it is a definitely a “you caused it” issue. Giving your dog extra dog treats should never be a substitute for spending quality time together. Monitoring your dog’s daily calorie intake is an essential part of being a good pet parent, so spend time making sure your pooch is getting the nutrition they need.
Your Dog’s Nails Are Extra Long
If your dog’s nails could give Wolverine a run for his money, you definitely aren’t providing proper care to your pup. A dog who walks often—especially on sidewalks—has nails that file naturally. And trimming your dog’s nails should be part of a regular grooming regimen. If your dog’s paws look more like claws, you’ve probably been slacking on your pet parenting duties.
Your Dog Won’t Eat
If a dog stops eating, it’s a red flag that no pet parent should ignore. While a visit to the vet is essential in this instance to rule out physical problems, dogs that stop eating may be exhibiting emotional distress as well. Depression in dogs can lead to reduced appetite and signal that your dog is looking for more love in their life. Make a dinner date a few times a week with your dog and vow to spend an hour or so after your both done eating to catch up, relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Carol Bryant is a marketing and social media manager. She runs the blog Fidose of Reality.