As much as we would love to be with our dogs 24/7, that’s simply not possible. If you are used to going to work, it’s completely normal to feel guilty about leaving your dog home alone.
But how about when you go away on extended stays like vacations? Do your dogs miss you? Do they even remember you? We have the answers to all of this and more. The short answer is yes, your dog can miss you while you’re on vacation.
Can Dogs Miss Us?
Dogs are exceptional companions that are capable of formulating extremely intense relationships with their owners. If an owner dies, for example, it is very common for the dog to grieve for an extended period.
So, yes, while you’re away on vacation, your dog is capable of missing you. While they won’t understand exactly how long you have been gone or be able to anticipate the exact date you’re coming home, they will know you’re gone and want you to return.
But dogs don’t understand the concept of time. So, there’s no genuine idea of the timeline of your return. Think of it as a momentary sadness that will vanish as soon as you enter the door.
Factors That Can Affect Dogs Missing You
Puppies vs Older Dogs
There are pretty significant differences between puppies and older dogs. Puppies have not grown entirely accustomed to being around, nor have they solidified their bonds with people. So, while they might be sad and look for you, when you’re gone, they’re a lot more likely to try to have fun within their circumstances.
Older dogs, on the other hand, might be less likely to warm up to the situation and may wait longingly for you to return. They have grown accustomed to you being a part of their everyday lives, and they know something isn’t right with you gone.
Some dogs will take advantage of you being on vacation—and some will mourn your absence. It just depends on the dog’s overall personality.
Many workers who directly interact with shelter dogs can tell you firsthand how heartbreaking it is to watch a dog grieve owners—even dogs that have been removed from neglectful or abusive situations.
If you have a rescue dog or one with an unknown history, they might suffer from abandonment issues. All they know is that one day, their owner was there, and the next, they weren’t. If you leave them, especially in an unfamiliar place, they might worry that you’re never coming home.
Separation anxiety is a real thing. If you work at all throughout the day, you are likely very familiar with your dog’s particular behaviors while you’re away. Many people have to kennel their dogs to prevent them from having accidents or destroying property while they’re gone.
If you are leaving for a vacation, separation anxiety can trigger into overdrive, no matter who else they are around. Separation anxiety and missing their owners can cause anxious and destructive behaviors.
Signs a Dog Misses You
There are plenty of ways to tell your four-legged friend is really missing you. Here are a few.
If you’re away, and your dog keeps howling or barking, it could be a major sign that they miss you! So, if your parent or grandparent is texting and telling you that your dog is continuing to bark, this could be the underlying cause.
Staring at the Door/Window
Your dog might spend hours staring at the door or out the window. This could be a sign they’re anticipating your return. After all, it just doesn’t feel like home without you. If they are somewhere else, they might constantly watch for you to see when you are going to come rescue them.
To find you, your dog might start sniffing around to see if they can pick up your particular scent. Anytime they head out to use the bathroom, they may frantically smell the ground and search for your trail.
Reaction Upon Return
Nothing is a telltale sign like how they respond after you return. Do you think your dog misses you after a long day at work? Think about what it will be like to see them after a week!
Where to Leave Your Dogs
When you’re planning a trip away, it can be difficult to decide how to care for your pet. Who will come to let them out? Will you have to board them? Can you trust anyone you know to care for your pup? There are so many questions to answer!
Friends or Family
If you have an available friend or family member you trust—wonderful! Problem solved. They can care for your pet while you’re away, and they will likely already have a familiar relationship with them beforehand.
Your pet might miss you so much while you’re gone, but they will have a good time mixing things up with people they’re familiar with.
When no friends or family are available and you can’t find a good in-home sitter option, try a boarding service. These facilities take care of your pet for a fee—and they get to play with lots of other pups—health permitting.
They don’t get as much one-on-one play, but they certainly get a lot of stimulation!
Let Your Dog Tag Along
If you don’t want to leave your dog behind, can you take them along with you? You might at first think, no way! But there are plenty of hotels that now allow furry guests—not only with your supervision, but some allow pets to be left alone in rooms unattended, too, permitting they are well-behaved.
Check with the hotel for their specific pet policy before you go though, that way you know what to expect.
It probably came as no surprise to you that our dogs miss us. After all, you have likely been away from your pooch long enough for them to jump at your return. And don’t worry—our dogs remember us for years. So, there is virtually no chance your dog will forget who you are while you’re on holiday.