Perhaps you went on vacation, and your dog accompanied you on the trip. You had a great time, but your dog is acting strange since you got back. Perhaps you left your dog at a kennel or sitter when you went on vacation. Now they seem mad or hurt. What’s going on?
Why is my dog acting weird after vacation?
There are several reasons why your dog may act weird after vacation, regardless of whether you took them with you or not. You may notice it takes you a week or two to get back into your regular routine, so it shouldn’t be a surprise your pooch will struggle with it as well.
Some of these reasons will apply regardless of wether your dog went on vacation with you. Others will apply if you left your precious pooch behind.
Upset At Being Left
Your dog may be upset if you left them behind when you went on vacation. Dogs don’t understand how long you will be gone. They may worry that you’ve abandoned them, and will never return.
If your dog isn’t used to you leaving, this can be harder for them to deal with. The way they experience this is very similar to a small child, who can get very upset at being left with a sitter.
Perhaps your pooch had a great time while you were on vacation. They may have went with you, or had lots of activity with a kennel or sitter. In this case, they may simply be tired when they get home.
You probably experience the same thing yourself. Do you notice you feel exhausted after vacation? It’s often called a vacation hangover, and occurs because there’s a lot of activity you aren’t accustomed to.
If your dog seems exhausted when they get home, they probably are.
Change in Routine
Dogs are creatures of routine. Some dogs deal with changes to their routine fairly well, but others can become upset or anxious when their daily activities are disrupted.
Your dog is used to being in the same place, sleeping in the same bed, and eating at the same time. This all changes when you go on vacation.
It’s natural for them to need some time to adjust once they get back home.
Signs of anxiety include pacing, panting, clinginess, barking, whining, and destructive behavior. If your pooch shows these symptoms, they aren’t trying to punish you for your vacation.
They are simply upset that their routine has been disturbed.
If your dog doesn’t greet you with over the top enthusiasm when you get home from vacation, you may think something is wrong. However, it may be because you did something right.
In this case, the problem isn’t your dog acting strange. They are acting normal, but you weren’t expecting them to act normal, so it seems strange.
If you’ve been working with your dog to be ok when you are gone, they’ve probably gotten the message. You can rest easy knowing that they will be fine the next time you want to take a trip.
Bad Sitter or Kennel Experience
If you left your pooch with a kennel or a sitter, this may be why they are acting strange. In this case, it’s not you leaving that was problematic. Instead, they had a bad experience because of the kennel or sitter.
A good sitter or kennel should take good care of your furry family member. This includes walks and other forms of interaction. If they were left alone or in a crate for a long period of time, it’s normal for them to be upset when you return.
There is a possibility that your dog is getting sick. They may have been exposed to bacteria or viruses while you were on vacation. The stress on their bodies may also trigger an underlying condition.
Do dogs get mad at you after vacation?
Yes, it’s possible for your dog to get mad at you after vacation. Dogs don’t experience emotions in the same way we do. However, they do have the capacity to feel negative emotions.
A study conducted in 2019 concluded that dogs do indeed feel negative emotions when someone hurts them. So, if you left your dog behind, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to be mad at you.
This should be temporary, with your dog settling and becoming their old selves after they’ve properly expressed their disapproval.
Do dogs think you abandon them when you go on vacation?
Yes, it’s possible for your dog to feel abandoned when you go on vacation. There are some situations that makes this more likely to occur.
Newly Adopted or Young
If your dog is a recent addition to your family, they may think you aren’t coming back for them. They are still building a relationship with you, and may not feel like a secure member of your pack yet.
Just like people, dogs can have abandonment issues. If your pooch was abandoned in the past, they will likely have a hard time if you leave them alone.
Just like us, they infer things about their current situation based on the past. In their own way, they think “My last owner left and didn’t return. This owner left, so they won’t return either”.
This can be highly traumatic for your pooch.
Never Been Left Alone
If your dog hasn’t been left alone before, going on vacation without them can cause them to think you won’t come back. They have no frame of reference, because you’ve never left them behind and returned.
What to do if my dog is acting weird after vacation?
There are some things you can do if your dog is acting weird after vacation. These steps should get them back to normal soon.
Maintain Their Routine
When you return, go back to their regular routine as quickly as possible. This will help them feel secure, and know what to expect.
Give your pooch some time, and some space if they need it. If they are upset with you, they may need a few days to work through their feelings. Don’t pressure them to interact if they aren’t ready.
Allow them to get plenty of rest as well.
Giving your dog time and space is important, but be sure that you are reaching out as well. Offer to interact with them, without forcing them to do so.
It may be helpful to treat them as you did when you first brought them home. Focus on building your relationship, one moment at a time.
Create a Positive Experience
It’s a great idea to give your dog a positive experience. Give them a few days to settle into being back at home. You’ll need a few days to rest as well.
Then, plan something fun. This can be as simple as a walk or a new toy. This can help pull them out of any negative feelings, and reaffirm your bond.
Get a Checkup
If your pooch is still acting strange after a week, it’s a good idea to visit the vet. Lethargy and loss of appetite can be caused by lots of illnesses and conditions, so it’s a great idea to rule these things out.
Your vet may also have some suggestions for how to get your pooch to feeling like themselves again.