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Do Dogs Feel Abandoned When You Go on Vacation?

By Aviram K.
Published in Training & Behavior
December 21, 2021
5 min read
Do Dogs Feel Abandoned When You Go on Vacation?
✏️ This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.
🏥 The information in this article is not a substitute for professional help.

It’s finally happened: you’ve put in your request at your job for time off… and it’s approved!

Excited, you begin scouring the internet, researching for the vacation of your dreams. Your anticipation builds as you discover beautiful hotels, delicious-looking restaurants, and breathtaking sights.

As you type away, planning the details of your itinerary, your eyes drift to your pup. They’ve been watching all the action from the other side of the couch.

Oh no.

His big eyes seem to beg, “take me with you”…but you know this time, you just can’t.

Your guilt rises, and you wonder, “will he hate me?”

Some studies suggest dogs do miss you while you’re on vacation. However, it is unclear whether your dog thinks you are leaving them forever and whether your absences will negatively impact your relationship with them long-term. Luckily there are many ways to make your dog comfortable while you’re away.

In this article, I will explore if dogs miss you while you’re on vacation and will answer whether dogs think you are leaving them forever and if they’ll hate you for it.

Finally, I will wrap things up by providing you with useful tips to take care of your dog when you go on vacation.

Still feeling some anxiety as you prepare to leave your pup?

Allow me to put your mind at ease.

Join me below!

Table of Contents
01
Do Dogs Miss You When You Go on Vacation?
02
Do Dogs Think You Leave Forever?
03
Will Your Dog Hate You If You Leave Them for a Week or Two?
04
How to Take Care of Your Dog When You Go on Vacation
05
I Hope Now You Can Vacation with a Clear Conscious

Do Dogs Miss You When You Go on Vacation?

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It’s not entirely possible to know exactly what is going on in the mind of your furry friend. But there is research that suggests your dog does miss you when you’re away.

One study measured the reaction of dogs who were separated from their owners for 30 minutes, two hours, and four hours.

The results are fascinating.

Dogs who were reunited with their owners after longer periods reacted more dramatically than dogs who were separated for only 30 minutes.

Dogs who were away from their owners for a longer time displayed more attentiveness and were more excited overall.

This study didn’t measure the dog’s reactions to longer periods of separation that may occur in the case of a vacation. But the study did seem to show that the longer a dog was away from their owner, the more they missed them.

Do Dogs Think You Leave Forever?

When your dog gives you that desperate stare and whimpers as you leave the house, it can make you feel guilty. You may think, “oh no! They must be afraid that I’m abandoning them forever!”

But is that what’s really going through your pup’s head?

To answer the question, let’s explore what is believed to be true about how dogs experience time. Of course, dogs can’t read and comprehend a clock, but they have their own time concept.

For example, if you feed your dog dinner around 6pm each day, they’ve likely picked up on things that happen surrounding the experience.

Maybe they anticipate you opening the door when you get home. Or they usually eat as the sun goes down. Perhaps they’re used to hearing your favorite show in the background at mealtime.

The sights, sounds, and stimuli of your pet’s common activities can help them form a sense of time in their own way.

So, when you leave your pup, do they think about how long you may be gone? Do they worry you’ll leave them forever?

Although your dog’s reaction to your departure leads you to believe they’re fearing ultimate abandonment, this may not be the case.

Your dog could just associate you leaving with bad things: separation from you, feelings of boredom, and anxiety. All of these things are uncomfortable for your pup to experience. And they may remember the last time you left how badly they felt.

It’s plausible that your dog is merely reacting to all of the negative associations they have about you leaving. But they may not fear that you’re literally leaving them forever.

Will Your Dog Hate You If You Leave Them for a Week or Two?

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Hate is a harsh word! That aside, “leaving your dog alone for long periods of time” actually made it onto a list of 10 Things You’re Doing That Are Making Your Dog Secretly Hate You.

While your dog can’t consciously hate you the way a human might, leaving your dog for a long while may negatively impact your relationship.

I’m not talking about the odd day you may spend away from your dog due to work or the occasional vacation. As much as you hate being separated from your pup (and as much as they hate it!), this is normal. And reasonable.

What may damage your relationship with your dog is a longstanding separation pattern. If you are constantly and intentionally running away from your pup and pawning them off on others, your dog may feel this deep down.

If you are always pushing your pup away, they may not literally hate you. Still, they may feel uncomfortable and disconnected from you at a core level.

How to Take Care of Your Dog When You Go on Vacation

While your dog probably wishes they could be around you 24/7, that’s just not the reality of life.

Thankfully, there are many things you can do to make sure that your dog is properly taken care of when you go on vacation.

The following tips will help put your pet at ease and give you peace of mind as well:

First, Decide If You Can Take Your Dog with You

Consider whether your vacation is dog-friendly or not. Some vacations may be more fun with your pup there!

Somewhere with a lot of nature and open space to explore could make for a unique bonding experience. But a quick rushed trip to a crowded and hectic city may not be the ideal excursion to include your pup on.

So as tough as it may be, making the intentional decision to bring Fido or leave him at home is crucial.

Okay, He’s Staying Home. What Are My Options?

There are many. If your dog is sick or very demanding, boarding them with your vet may be ideal. But if your dog is healthy, it’s best not to leave him around other potentially sick dogs if you don’t have to.

Other options include boarding your dog at a kennel, with a sitter, or perhaps best of all, leaving them with a close family member or trusted friend.

Every dog and situation is different, so I suggest thoroughly researching the pros and cons of each option to decide what’s best for your pup.

If you’re still undecided, maybe run it by your vet as well!

Here are some other quick tips to consider when preparing to leave your pup:

  • Compile essential phone numbers, instructions, and supplies for your pup’s sitter
  • Crate train your pup in advance so they will be used to being crated while you’re gone
  • Make sure your dog is properly socialized and trained well before your trip. If you think it’s too late for that, you are mistaken.
  • Have your pup fully vaccinated and have all their medical information available for their caretaker

I Hope Now You Can Vacation with a Clear Conscious

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Few things in life are more beautiful than being entrusted to love on and nurture a furry friend.

But sometimes, it can feel like an immense responsibility. It’s easy to wonder if any little thing you’re doing could be bad or even traumatizing for your dog.

Because it’s not like they can just tell you!

Don’t get me wrong, your dog does miss you when you’re away. And the longer you’re gone, the more they probably miss you.

But they don’t hate you for leaving them. And following the tips in this article will help you make sure they are taken care of while you’re away and prepare you for a loving reunion when you return.

Bon Voyage!


Tags
Dog Behaviors
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