As much as we’d love to spend every day at home with our dogs, it’s inevitable that at some point they’ll have to stay home alone. So what should you do with your dog? Rather than coming home to a mess, let’s take a look at what you should know about leaving a dog home alone.
Knowing how long your dog is able to stay home alone is key to avoiding a mishap. The acceptable time frame will vary depending on the age of your dog. If you have a puppy, try to keep the amount of time around 2 hours. If left longer than this, some puppies will begin to develop separation anxiety. The good news is that adult dogs over the age of 18-months can be left alone for 6 to 8 hours per day. These dogs are used to you leaving, and they’ve learned to sleep while you’re gone. Elderly dogs are okay around the 4-hour mark, but this will depend on your individual dog and possible health issues.
Obviously, if you’re working a 12-hour shift, there’s nothing you can do to help a puppy at home. It may be in your best interest to find help with your dog. You have a few options, let’s take a look at them:
● Doggy Daycare - Many professionals choose to send their puppies to doggy daycare. This ensures the dog will have access to relieve itself as needed and gets plenty of attention. When a dog is left home alone all day he can become bored and begin to develop behavioral problems including barking and chewing.
● Hire a dog walker - There are many sites such as Care.com and Rover.com where you can find reputable dog walkers in your area. You can have the person stop by once or twice during your shift to check on your furry friend. This will help eliminate coming home to a messy house and a bored dog.
● Install a doggy door - If you have an area of your home that has hard floors and a door that offers outside access you may consider a doggy door for adult dogs. This will allow your dog access to the outdoors to “go potty”, and run around.
● Use your lunch break - For those of you who don’t live too far from work and get lunch breaks, this can be a great excuse to go home each day. Not only will you save money by eating lunch at home, but your pooch will appreciate the bathroom break in the middle of the day.
If you’ve ever owned a dog, then you know they can get into mischief. To ensure your dog’s safety it’s best to confine him to a certain area of your home that’s been “puppy-proofed”, or you may also choose to crate train. Either way, make sure all potential dangers have been addressed such as small items a dog could choke on, wires, and so on.
The best thing you can do is get into a routine. Before you leave you will want to make sure you take your dog on a nice long walk. You should then reward your dog with a treat as you put him into a crate or his designated area. Be sure to leave lots of toys for mental stimulation and consider leaving some noise such as the radio or TV. If you do what you can to make your leaving a pleasurable experience, the dog will learn to calm down and know what to expect.