Many dog owners feel a tremendous amount of guilt when leaving their beloved pet dogs alone at home whilst at work. With more and more people working in a hybrid office/home set-up, pet dogs are becoming more accustomed to their owners being in the house during the day.
So how can you happily go to work and leave your dog at home without feeling guilty? Here at Boundary, we’re experts in pet-friendly alarm systems, so we have rounded up 5 top tips for leaving your dog at home while you’re at work.
Keep them occupied
It’s a good idea to distract your pet dog when you’re not there to spend time with them. You can do this by providing your dog with plenty of chew or interactive toys to keep them occupied. An interactive toy such as a shuffle mat to hide treats is a great way to keep your dog busy. You could also try hiding treats around the house for them to sniff out and find.
You can also keep them occupied with music. Classical music is great background noise for pets. It’s known to help settle their nerves from separation anxiety. There are also plenty of stimulating YouTube videos for dogs to watch, such as other dogs on a long walk or birds chirping in a tree.
If your pet enjoys people-watching (like most humans do), try leaving the curtains open so they can perch themselves on the ledge. They don’t have a concept of time the same way we do, so they could spend hours just watching the world go by outside.
Set a routine
Just like humans, a dog’s bladder control can only last so long. Depending on your dog’s breed, age, and water intake, the time will affect how often a dog needs to relieve itself. Puppies and older dogs will need to be let out more often than adult dogs.
Make sure you only leave the house for a length of time which you know is comfortable for your dog, and if possible, have someone else from your household come home during the day to let your dog out.
Make sure that you set a routine of letting your dog out for a toilet trip just before you leave for work and as soon as you get home.
Drain their energy
Undisturbed dogs could sleep for a whole day if circumstances allowed it. Try taking them on a long walk in the morning before work and even the night before. If you have time, make a big fuss of them and play with them inside the house. Do anything you can to drain their energy. Maybe consider hiring a dog walker; it will keep your dog active and break up their day.
Help them feel relaxed
To make your dog feel at ease, you should make them feel used to being left alone. Start by leaving the house for 5 minutes. Slowly increase their alone time, and give your dog so much love when you come home. Increasing your time away will help your dog understand that every time you leave, you always come back.
If you have a puppy, make sure your dog has a puppy pad or a designated loo area inside the house. Many dogs are crate trained; in that case, you want a big enough crate, so your dog doesn’t feel trapped. Provide your dog with a comfy bed. There are special anxiety beds that you can purchase for your little one if they’re especially sad by themselves.
If your dog is like velcro to you, try leaving something like a T-shirt or dressing gown that smells like you. Tuck this away into their little bed so they can curl up with it while you’re gone. Your scent will radiate safety and make the alone time bearable.
Create pet safe areas in your home
Most of the time, it’s not just furry friends that are anxious and worried, but us owners too. To have peace of mind, ensure that the areas of your home where you’ll leave your dog are pet safe.
Much like a child or toddler, you dont want your dog climbing onto areas they shouldnt or, or eating anything which could bring harm to them. By creating a safe environment for your pet at home you can leave your dog alone without the fear or anxiety that something bad could happen to your dog while you are away.
Things to look out for
Look out for destructive behaviour such as destroying furniture, excessive litter and constant barking. Bad behaviour could be a sign of behaviour problems. It can take weeks of training for puppies and adult dogs until they finally feel safe enough to be left alone. Behaviours like these aren’t to be ignored.
How long can a dog be left alone?
The amount of time you can leave a dog alone depends on the breed and age of your pet dog, but typically, you don’t want to leave a puppy alone for more than four hours. The two main reasons for this are to help manage their separation anxiety and ensure they have regular opportunities to relieve themselves.
Can I leave my dog overnight?
Leaving your dog alone overnight depends on if you have a trusted person nearby to check on them. Make sure to have a family member check in on them to provide a chance to go outside, top up their food and water, and give some much-needed fusses and attention.