Life as a dog owner is often depicted as nothing but wonderful. It’s just you and your four-legged pal, enjoying the best friendship that most of us will ever have. You envision long walks together, playing sessions so intense they leave you both feeling physically exhausted, and many a night curled up together on the sofa. But we as pet owners ask many questions about dogs.
While the above scenarios do indeed come true when you own a dog, there is no denying that there are some elements of dog ownership that can be tough. Many dog owners find themselves struggling with emotional demands of caring for their four-legged friend. One of the worst ways this manifests is when dog owners find themselves asking (seemingly rhetorical) questions about dogs.
5 Troubling Questions About Dogs
The good news
All of the questions that we’re going to discuss are absolutely normal– which may surprise you if you’ve struggled with them in silence. As wonderful as dog ownership can be, it’s inevitable that when you open your life up to another creature, there will be a few challenges along the way. So if you have ever exasperatedly asked yourself any of these questions, please do be reassured that they are completely normal.
It may also help you to know that many of these questions absolutely do have answers. They’re not quite as rhetorical as you may have thought. So, let’s dive into why these questions cross your mind, and what the actual answers are…
1) “Does my dog love me?”
If you go to Google “does my dog”, then “love me” comes up as an autocomplete, so it’s clearly an issue that many dog owners find themselves struggling with. This is one of the most common questions about dogs people ask.
It is only natural that dog owners, who devote so much time and affection to their dogs, want to feel that that emotional investment is returned. Dogs cannot articulate how they feel about us, which can leave some grounds for confusion and even concern.
Well, the good news is that yes, your dog loves you, particularly if they display any of the following behaviors:
- Wanting to sit near you — or even on you! — frequently. Dogs only seek physical attention from people they genuinely care for and see as part of their family.
- Your dog is excited to see you. For example, when you come home from work, they react as if they have just been given the most exciting gift in the world (which, to them, they have!)
- Making eye contact with you, and holding that contact. Dogs will only directly meet the eyes of people they genuinely care for. So if your dog is more than happy to meet your eyes, then you can certain that you’ve found a place in their heart.
- Mimics you, particularly with yawning. If you yawn and your dog follows suit, they’re doing so deliberately. It’s seen as a sign of bonding and mutual trust.
Some dogs are very overt in their affections; others are more reserved. Dogs are no different from humans in this regard. Sharing your life with your dog creates a unique bond of trust. And nothing is more important than trust when it comes to love.
2) “Why does my dog keep trying to escape?”
This is another of the common questions about dogs and is usually followed by something along the lines of: “does my dog hate living here?”
Firstly, please rest assured– your dog does not escape from your garden because they hate living with you. Dogs are naturally adventurous creatures. They want to explore the world around them, chase down critters, and fully indulge themselves in play. Dogs also don’t have the greatest capacity for reasoning. They don’t see a trip outside as anything to be concerned about. Nor does it occur to them that they won’t be able to find their way home.
If your dog is constantly escaping your garden, then try not to feel hurt or see their outside trips as any stain on your dog-parenting abilities. Instead, focus on the things you can do to stop such a worrying turn of events from occurring. You could proof your garden using invisible fencing. This will ensure there are no easily-opened gates in an effort to keep your pooch where they are meant to be.
It’s also worth noting that a dog who is exercised frequently will feel less inclined to head off exploring the world. Half an hour of intense exercise per day should be enough to tire your dog out. It will ensure that they don’t feel the need to go and run off pent up energy by taking a jaunt for themselves outside!
3) “Is my dog sick?”
Having to ask yourself this third of the most common questions about dogs is incredibly troubling. The main reason dog owners have to consider this issue is that, frequently, you can’t be sure that your dog is ill. They don’t quite seem like themselves. It’s something you can’t quite put your finger on. So you find yourself monitoring them and trying to decide if there’s something more going on than meets the eye.
As a general rule, if you find yourself asking this question for more than three days in a row, a trip to the vets might be the best idea. Like all animals except humans, dogs tend to attempt to conceal pain and illness, so the outward signs they are displaying may not be particularly overt. If you feel that something just isn’t right, then trust your instinct and your bond with your dog. Then take them to see the vet.
It’s more than likely that all is well. But given how dogs cannot communicate any feelings of ill health, sometimes it’s better to be safe than sorry. If your vet checks your dog over and sees no signs of concern, then you’re safe to conclude that they’re just having a few subdued days– and you’ll likely find they bounce back to their usual self quickly.
4) “Is my dog lonely?”
A huge number of dog owners worry about their dog during the day, when they are often left alone at home. So you’re not alone if you’ve found yourself asking this question.
In truth, it is a worthwhile question to ask. Dogs can, and do, get lonely, which can lead to other health concerns like depression. During those long hours when you’re outside of the house, your dog may well experience loneliness and struggle to know how to handle your absence.
If you so chose, you could answer this question definitively and set up a camera to monitor your dog when you’re away from the house. If they exhibit worrying signs — such as pacing or restless howling — then there is a strong chance that loneliness is to blame. However, this would only confirm something that you are already suspecting. There isn’t much else to be gained from this exercise.
Do you wonder if your dog is lonely? It’s better to skip the diagnostics and go straight to measures that can help to reduce loneliness. There are many different ways to do this. You might have to experiment with the method that works best for your dog. If your dog is a social and outgoing type, they will likely enjoy a doggy daycare or be walked by a dog walker while you’re at work. If they are more introverted, they are likely to be just as happy with the TV on and access to the garden via a dog flap.
Don’t feel alone in this department. Asking if your dog is lonely is yet another of the common questions about dogs.
5) “Is my dog well nourished?”
It’s fair to say that the subject of canine nutrition is a controversial one. Some people insist that a raw diet is by far the best choice. Others say that raw diets lack in vitamins and essential nutrients. As a result, you can find yourself wondering if your dog is really getting what they need from their food. Feeling like you have failed them as an owner for not being able to absolutely know the answer.
Realistically, your dog is doing just fine with the nutrition that you are providing. The only time you truly need to worry is if your dog is showing signs of ill health. This should be inspected and nutrient deficiencies investigated as a potential cause. However, if your dog is full of the joys of life, then you really don’t need to be concerned. Be it pet food or a raw diet, dogs are resilient creatures that can handle a variety of diets. It’s almost impossible that your choice of food will be doing them a disservice.
If you’re really not sure what the right nutritional choice is, then you might want to consider switching their diet around on occasion. For example, you could feed a raw diet for a week, then a standard food diet the next week. This ensures they don’t miss out on any essential nutrients and, in effect, are able to get the best of both worlds.
Having read through the above — and implemented any of the applicable suggested steps — hopefully, your mind will be able to rest easy, safe in the knowledge that all is well with your beloved four-legged friend. Dog owners ask many common questions about dogs. It isn’t because we are not smart enough to know the answers. It is simply because we love our dogs. We want them to be healthy and happy too.