Many of us who have dogs, get those painful guilt trips of leaving our dogs behind during our long working hours. You wonder if they are OK, worry if they have eaten the couch, pooped in the wrong areas, or what they’re up to while you are gone. Here are some tips you could use if you are a working dog parent that has to leave their dog home alone. All the points below are very doable, provided your dog is old enough and trained to be safely left alone. For very young puppies, we recommend you keep them in a comfortable, big crate.
- Have an early morning walk before you leave them. The longest you can (30 – 45 minutes). This way you drain their energy and have them relaxed and sleepy for most of the day. If it’s difficult to do this early in the morning, then perhaps in the evening as late as possible. Needless to say, if you can do it both in the morning and evening that’s the best option! Read more about rules of walking your dog
- Proof your home well. Make sure that sharp, breakable things are out of their reach, as well as medication or anything that could be harmful/poisonous to them. If you have coffee tables, empty them before you leave. If you have rooms you don’t want them to enter, close them up to make sure they won’t enter while you’re away. Empty all accessible waste bins. You don’t want to see a garbage party when you’re back. Keep all those tempting shoes away. Put them in one of your closed rooms, or perhaps lock them up in a closet or cabinet. If you don’t allow your dog to climb up your furniture, then have beds/couches covered up with some old towels or sheets, just in case. Sometimes they do get a little sneaky when we are away.
- Keep water available. They will probably get thirsty during the day
- Feed them a good breakfast before you leave. Preferably after the morning walks if you’ll go for that option. A nice big meal in the morning keeps you from worrying if you have to work late. You won’t worry about them getting hungry. Read here about common questions asked and answered on dog dry food
- Keep some toys available. Like children, dogs do get bored with the same toys after some time. What you can do is not keep all toys available all the time, so you can shuffle them everyday and keep them from getting bored. If your dog has separation anxiety, keep one of the toys in your dirty laundry hamper. The toy takes some of your smell, they will love that, and it will keep them feeling safe while you’re away.
- Keep a radio or TV on. On low volume of course. The sounds keep them entertained and safe. It will sooth them, rather than the boredom of total silence.
- Provide proper temperature and ventilation. Don’t leave them someplace that is too hot or too cold. Make sure the temperature is OK for them, and keep a window open for ventilation
- Keep allowed places for elimination accessible. If you have a certain spot for the dog to pee and poop at home (e.g. a garden or a yard) make sure they have access to it when you’re gone. You don’t want those yucky surprises when you’re back
- Protect your furniture from getting chewed on. If you have tables of chairs your dog loves biting on, then spray those with apple cider vinegar or chili sauce. That should keep them away. Read more on puppy teething and nipping phase
Did you know that some musicians actually have music composed especially for dogs with separation anxiety. Read more on how to deal with dog separation anxiety