4 Tips to Leave a Dog at Home While You’re at Work

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(Newswire.net — November 22, 2019) — If you’re a dog owner and you have a job that requires you to be away from home for eight to ten hours a day, you have to be strategic with how you leave your pup. With a few strategies and techniques, you can ensure they stay safe, healthy, and happy.

How Long is Too Long?

We’ve all left our dog alone at home for a few hours and thought little of it. But how long is too long? It’s an important question that unfortunately doesn’t have a concrete answer.

For starters, it’s never okay to leave a dog alone for 10 to 12 hours without access to three things: food, water, and the outdoors. Secondly, dogs need to relieve themselves, on average, every four to six hours. Thirdly, domesticated dogs need human interaction, otherwise they can become distressed and/or anxious. (There’s a difference between the two, though. Distress is a mild form of anxiety that most dogs will exhibit on a semi-regular basis, whereas anxiety is more severe and can lead to a canine version of a panic attack.)

“The distinction between ‘isolation’ and ‘separation’ is equally important,” Dr. Karen Shaw Becker writes. “Isolation distress means the dog doesn’t want to be left alone — any ol’ human will do for company, and sometimes even another dog will fill the bill. True separation distress or anxiety means the dog is hyper-bonded to one specific person, and continues to show stress behaviors if that person is absent, even if other humans or dogs are present.”

Every dog is different. Some are fine to leave alone for a five- or six-hour stretch. Others will need some human interaction every couple of hours. You know your dog better than anyone. Use your discretion and plan accordingly.

4 Tips for Leaving Your Dog at Home Alone

When you do have to leave your dog at home alone for an extended period of time, there are some things you can do to make things easier on your little furry friend. Here are some recommendations:

1. Invest in Automated Dispensers

Food and water come first. The simplest option is to buy automated dispensers that allow you to control when and how much food is released. As for water, it’s a good idea to fill the dispenser up with at least three-times the amount your dog typically consumes in a day. This ensures there will always be enough, even in an emergency where you’re gone longer than anticipated.

2. Provide Room to Roam

Crates are never a good long-term solution – even for smaller puppies. Your dog needs room to walk around. If you’re worried about him having free roam of the house, a laundry room or other contained area will suffice. (The best option is a laundry room with doggy door access to a fenced-in backyard.)

3. Purchase the Right Toys and Chews

Dogs, like humans, get bored when they’re left alone for extended periods of time. This boredom frequently leads to disruptive and mischievous behavior. You can counteract this by providing toys and chews.

“If your dog gets destructive when you are leaving them home alone, then offer the bully stick a while you are preparing to leave,” Homes Alive Pets suggests. “This will give them something to focus on while you go through your normal routine for departure. If you are not comfortable leaving the chew with your dog unsupervised, then it’s best to remove the chew before you leave the house.”

4. Hire a Dog Walker

Dog walkers aren’t very expensive and are well worth the few dollars a week that they command. Having a dog walker come by in the late morning or early afternoon helps ensure your dog gets some human interaction and exercise before you get off work.

Is Dog Ownership Right for You?

For people with demanding careers that require them to be away from home for 50 or 60 hours a week, it’s wise to think twice about dog ownership. Even if you love dogs, now may not be the proper season of your life for one. Don’t be selfish! Dogs deserve owners who are fully committed. If you can’t commit, it’s better wait until your schedule is more forgiving.