Addition of a dog in the family is a colossal joy according to some while others say it completes the family.
Even if you live alone, a pet can brighten up your days with their mere presence.
Just watching a happy dog’s face is a great mood lifter especially after a tiring and dull day.
They are our best friends, emotional support with many owners believing dogs are the cause of their happiness.
Recently there has been an increase in working people living alone adopting pets as their companions which has also led to leaving dogs alone at home.
While this is a good thing, there is a downside to this that can’t be overlooked.
Many office workers, who are also dog owners, have one big question in their minds that needs serious thought and consideration.
“Is leaving the dog at home while at work okay?” is the question, they face as many have 9-5 jobs.
While you go out and work long hours earning the daily bread, your dogs have to be at the home all alone.
Many people can’t take their dogs to work due to some office policy or other reasons and have to leave them alone.
It is a major concern of many owners, with many asking how long you can leave the dog alone.
We all know that dogs are social animals with a great need to be around their owners or other humans.
These loyal animals need their owners or family’s presence around them and you not being there is bad for them.
Leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time is the hardest thing a dog parent has to do with many being constantly worrying about their wellbeing through their workday.
They experience stress and anxiety during separation from loved ones even a momentarily one.
When there is no one home with them, they might sometimes even feel separation anxiety.
Many owners feel guilty about leaving dogs alone at home and worry about their safety and health.
It is advised to train the dog in staying alone at home before leaving them for long.
While there are some dog breeds that can be left alone for 8 hours or more, like Akita Inu, Basset Hound, most of the popular dog breeds can’t stand being alone for that long.
Training them in staying alone helps lessen their anxiety as they are assured of your coming back to them at the end of the day.
There are some other things you can do to minimize anxiety your dog experiences in your absence:
1. Leave Them Enough Food And Water:
It seems like common sense but it is very important that they don’t go hungry or thirsty at a stretch.
Leave them food and treats though not directly in their reach.
Invest in the toys and gadgets that can disperse treats and food at regular durations.
Also chewing toys can be filled with their favorite treats like frozen peanut butter, treats, a mixture of canned food and kibble.
Dogs will take time to eat it whole while they can later play with those toys.
Toys should break easily should be avoided otherwise they can break and swallow it.
Poisonous food should be locked away.
You can make a search game in which they have to find their treats all around the house.
It can provide them necessary mental stimulation and some physical activity.
Tip: Doggy proof your whole house as anything can be made a toy by them.
2. Keep Them Busy:
Your pooch gets bored staying alone at home as there is no activity and moment for a very long time.
It is important that you leave some sort of activity inducer so in boredom they don’t destroy the house.
Some owners leave their pets with some puzzle toys, plush dog toys, and chewable toys to entertain them for hours.
Tip: Recycle their toys as they get bored fast with toys.
Always leave new toys out for some days then take them out only after 2-3 weeks.
There is a TV channel for dogs that is solely for their entertainment and it’s a good idea to play it on for them.
Other than that, the animal-related channels also can keep them occupied for long.
Some owners leave their favorite music and TV shows playing so their pooches don’t feel all alone.
Leaving some of your regular clothes on the bed can also work as dogs can lie on them to relax and be assured of your presence.
Dog daycare is also a wonderful option where they interact and play with other dogs.
This leads them to develop canine social skills, nice manners and helps in their overall development.
In case you can’t afford it, a professional dog sitter is a good alternative.
They come to your home at allotted time schedules and take care of your dogs for around 20-30 minutes so they don’t spend the whole day in solitary.
Remember always do your homework before letting someone unknown take care of your precious friend.
Else ask your family member or a friend to stay with them whenever you leave the house.
Always try to reduce their lonely hours by giving them anything that engages their minds.
Remember a bored dog can quickly turn into a destructive dog.
Tip: It’s a good idea to search for activities that keep them occupied for long and try to teach them new games.
3. Tire Them Out:
It is a good idea to tire out your dog before you leave so they sleep most of their alone time.
Owners mostly take them out for a morning walk, run or a game of fetch, Frisbee before going to the office.
Dogs need, on an average, 12-14 hours of sleep in 24 hours.
If your pup is tired before you leave, they can catch some good quality sleep in your non-presence.
Feed them before leaving, for better sleeping experience.
Invest in a good quality dog bed and keep it in a comfortable place, away from distractions.
After coming back take them out for the second round of outside playing so they can release their pent-up energy.
Make sure your dog meets their daily exercise requirements for a better and longer active life.
Tip: Remember a tired dog sleeps better and even though they had a full night sleep, they will sleep well.
4. Make Them Comfortable:
Every dog deserves its own doggie spot inside or outside the house independent of distractions and your presence.
Their place should be comfortable, relaxing and soothing to them.
They can spend their alone time here, with their bed and toys to spend their time in peace.
To de-stress them about your absence make your absent time a fun time for them.
Treat them with good snacks that they can only have in your absence.
Make their place far away from distractions with sufficient light, air and ambiance.
It is advisable to train them using pee pads or canine litter boxes in which they can eliminate as they please.
Though place them in such an area where stink won’t spread inside the whole house.
Routine cleaning of them should be done so as to not invite bacterial and fungal growth in them.
Or you can hire the services of a dog sitter who can take them outside for a pee and potty breaks and a walk.
In the case of outside kennels, allow them to roam in the backyard, which should be safe for them.
To avoid outside intrusion install fences, either wooden or wire mesh, that should be hard to infiltrate.
Install dog doors so in case of rough weather or any unusual occurrence they can go in the safety of the house.
Make the backyard dog-friendly by providing them with shade, water, and enough play toys so they have a good time.
Tip: Train them in how to respond to unforeseen incidents to protect them from dognappers, wild animals, etc.
5. Adopt A Companion For Them:
The best suggestion for the lonely dogs is to adopt another furry friend that keeps them company.
They will keep each other busy and entertained for hours with your absence going unnoticed.
These social animals would love their furry companion better than the many toys they have.
It is advisable to only adopt another pet when your dog gets well with the other dogs and no problems can arise.
Check for the compatibility of their breed with other animals and then only make move to adopt it.
Two pets are always better than one lonely bored one awaiting your return in front of the door.
When there are two they feel less anxious and lonely in their owner’s absence.
Owners can slowly introduce them to each other and let them bond with each other on their own.
It is extra work to look after another pet but worth the effort for the happiness of your dog.
Tip: To house train the new pet, take help from your dog as they develop the order better this way.
6. Install A Dog Camera:
Utilize the technology for the best by keeping a watch on your dog from your office.
Dog cameras are the best way to see what your dog does when home alone.
They are many available in the market with two-way video call options, motion capturing and other attractive features.
There is a wide range of pet cameras in the market, most of them fairly priced to suit everyone’s budget.
They are also sometimes equipped with treat dispensing mechanisms, either timed or according to the owner’s wishes.
Most detect motion happening inside the house and send updates directly to the mobile app.
Many of these devices automatically capture images and add to a sense of security for the pets.
Owners can talk to their dogs and calm them down whenever they are anxious like during thunderstorms, fireworks and such.
Most of the pet cams also come with night detection in case owners are gone overnight.
Real-time notifications and automatic saving of videos and photos are some added bonuses that they also offer.
Buy the one most compatible with you and your dog and be assured of their safety.
Tip: It is good to let someone reliable and lives close, to know about your pets and arrangements so they can act fast in case of emergency.
7. Make Your Absence Normal Event:
Don’t treat your comings and goings of the house as a big event in your dog’s day.
Your dog learns from your behavior and acts accordingly in that situation.
This is a type of training you give to your dog to deal with your non-availability.
Canine Behavior Specialists and Vets suggest leaving them at short intervals and slightly increasing the time periods of your absence.
Dogs pick up your signs of going out very fast and as the owner; it’s your responsibility to reduce their separation anxiety.
One way is by giving them false going out signs, like picking keys, wearing coats and staying back at home.
When your dog sees that you’re not leaving they are assured and they learn to not associate those activities with your absence.
Assuring them you’ll be back and everything is safe is the most important thing for them.
While going out don’t delay or extend your goodbyes as dogs associate it with their lonely time in the house.
After coming back home don’t give them warm greetings until they have calmed down to their normal state.
When they see the owners are calm and act normal they themselves see it as a daily occurrence so they don’t panic.
Leaving a puppy alone while at work is harder as they don’t understand the alone time at home with many being confused and sad during that period.
As they grow up like that, they might develop low canine social skills and a bad case of Separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety in dogs is the anxiety, which arises due to being left behind by their owners, permanently or temporarily.
Its signs are:
– continuous whining, barking, and howling after or before your departure
– chewing or destroying household items in your absence
– pacing inside the house and trying to escape through doors or windows
– urinating and defecating inside the house though house trained
– Coprophagia i.e. eating of excrement
These signs are only seen when people they are attached to aren’t near them.
There are many separation anxiety solutions, treatments, medicines available nowadays for this is a serious concern for all.
We have explored everything about this problem in another blog. Read about it here.
There are some things owners can do for their dogs when they are left alone at home.
These will only reduce the stress and anxiety on them but nothing is better for them than the company of their owner and family.
Try to spend as much time as possible with your dogs as you have a limited time together that should be enjoyed to the fullest.
If you spend your weekdays sitting in an office, your dog also spends that much time without your company.
On weekends devote your time to your dog by taking them out hiking, a long game in the dog park or relaxing in a dog spa.
You can also schedule their vet and groomer’s appointments on weekends.
This is all from our side about leaving the dog alone at home.
If you have anything to add, leave a comment below.
Happy Petting To You!