“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” – John Grogan
Leaving your dog home alone for the first time can be stressful and challenging for you and your pet. But luckily, there are many solutions for leaving your dog at home you can resort to when the need arises. Here are 10 simple tips for leaving your dog home alone without stress and guilt.
1. Designate a Safe Space for Your Dog
Leaving a dog alone at home can lay the guilt for many pet parents. But creating a designated space where your dog can relax, stretch, and feel safe and comfortable can alleviate some of that guilt. It will also ease the process for your dog and help it feel less lonely and anxious while you’re away at work, meeting friends, or running errands.
Some dogs consider their crates or beds as their safe space. Meanwhile, other dogs prefer having the run of the house while their owners are away for the day.
Whether you keep your dog in a crate or not, check your dog’s space and the house for hazards like thread, electrical cords, and other areas where it may get stuck.
2. Exercise Your Dog Before Leaving
By now, you may know that a tired dog is a happy dog. If your dog is well-exercised and tired, it is more likely to sleep soundly throughout the day. This makes it less likely to get into trouble and display unwanted behaviors like chewing, scratching, jumping, digging, soiling, barking, or howling that may stem from separation anxiety.
Go on a long walk with your dog or play a rousing game of fetch before you leave it alone at home. Adequate mental and physical activity is essential for your pet—and you, too—to stay healthy and happy.
3. Leave Enough Food and Water for Your Dog
Keep enough food for your dog in its food bowl. You can leave healthy snacks like raw or cooked cabbage https://upperpawside.com/can-dogs-eat-cabbage/ and other fruits and veggies that it enjoys and are good for it.
Also, keep sufficient water for your pet to drink while you’re out. Water is important to keep your dog hydrated and healthy, irrespective of whether it’s hot or cool outside.
Are you worried you’ll be away for too long and your pet will drink excessive water and need to pee? Ask a neighbor or friend to pitch in or hire a pet sitter to take it outdoors at regular intervals.
4. Provide Your Dog With Entertainment
What to do with a dog while at work? Ensure you give your dog enough treats, toys, and puzzles to keep it busy and entertained.
Fill a kong with treats or leave your dog a food puzzle that will reward it with a treat when it solves the puzzle. You can also give food toys to your dog that will allow it to play and enjoy a treat at the same time.
5. Keep Chewable Items Out of Reach
While leaving toys for your dog to play with is great, keep all other chewable items like books, shoes, and trash out of its reach. This will prevent your dog from chewing your possessions and strewing trash around the house.
Also, don’t leave around toxic houseplants, household cleaners, medicines, batteries, cords, coins, and plastic bags. These are poisonous for your dog and may cause choking, seizures, or even death.
Keep unhealthy snacks and other dangerous foods in places where your pet can’t reach them. This will prevent it from feeling tempted to munch them when you’re out of the house.
Some foods to avoid for dogs include coffee, chocolate, grapes, raisins, hops, alcohol, candy, chewing gum, cooked bones, fat trimmings, cat food, macadamia nuts, onions, and chives.
6. Regulate the Room Temperature
Regardless of the time of year, regulate the temperature in your house when you’re leaving a dog home alone to keep it comfortable.
If it’s summer, your dog can’t move to a cooler spot on its own for relief from the heat. Similarly, it cannot move to a warmer location when it’s home alone in the winter.
Your dog’s coat type, size, weight, and age determine the ideal room temperature for it.
A temperature-controlled room will help your dog stay comfortable when you’re away. So, keep the air conditioning or a fan on in the warmer months and the heat on in the winter to ensure your dog stays cozy and comfortable.
7. Turn on Some Calming Music
Calming music or other background noise can help your dog stay calm and relaxed while you’re out.
Dogs in stressful situations may benefit from listening to classical, reggae, and soft rock music.
Leaving on the television or radio or using an app for background noise will distract your pet and reduce stress. Background noise can also drown out disturbing outdoor noises such as dogs barking, lawn mowing, car noise, and so on.
Luckily, there are many television and radio stations and music apps you can turn to for some calming music that will keep your dog company.
8. Make Your Dog Understand That Being Home Alone Isn’t Bad
If you bring home a new pup or dog and need to leave it for hours alone at home, you need to train it to stay alone without feeling too anxious or stressed. You need to make it understand that being home alone isn’t bad or dangerous.
Providing your dog with something to do while you’re away can help. But also work with your pet on its separation anxiety issues by initially leaving it home alone for short periods. You can then leave it for slightly longer until it realizes that you’ll be back, although you’re leaving, and it can have a good time meanwhile.
Also, avoid making a big fuss about leaving. If you feel stressed about leaving your pet alone and you kiss, hug, and coddle it before leaving, it will pick up your anxiety. This will stress it out further. Also, it will then associate your departure with an event that induces anxiety and start experiencing separation anxiety.
9. Arrange for Your Pet to Go on a Mid-Day Walk
One of the best solutions for leaving your dog at home is to arrange for it to have a walk in the middle of the day or at regular intervals.
Even if it is old enough to control its bladder all day, a short walk and a little company will keep house soiling and loneliness at bay. A walk will also ensure your dog gets some much-needed exercise.
You can ask your friend or neighbor to do that if they can, or hire a daytime dog walker for the job.
10. Don’t Leave Your Pet Alone for Too Long
Is it OK to leave my dog at home while I work? Also, is it OK to leave a dog in the house all day?
Yes, most dogs can stay at home alone for hours together, although there are a few exceptions to the rule. But if you know you’re going to be out for too many hours, it’s best to hire a dog walker or a pet sitter.
Can dogs be left alone for 8 hours? Yes, but don’t leave your dog alone for more than eight to 10 hours to avoid accidents in the house.
Dogs with small bladders find it difficult to control their bladders for even eight hours. So, keep that in mind if your dog has bladder control issues.
Is it ok to leave a dog at home overnight? Yes, most dogs are not nocturnal creatures and can stay alone during the night. But if your dog frequently pees at night, you should then avoid leaving it alone at night.
How long can a dog stay home alone? The amount of time a dog can stay home alone varies from dog to dog. So, factor in your dog’s health status, personality, and age and accordingly decide its limits on being home alone.
Pups are not accustomed to staying home alone. So they are more likely to experience separation anxiety. They also have small bladders, so you must take them outdoors every two hours to go to the bathroom.
Adult dogs are often used to staying home alone. So, you can leave them home alone for more extended periods.
When leaving senior dogs alone at home, consider their health conditions and lifestyle needs. They may also need to pee more than younger dogs. So, factor in these aspects and determine how long you can leave your older dog alone.
Can I Leave My Dog at Home?
Is it cruel to leave a dog at home? Well, dogs can feel lonely as they are pack creatures. But, sometimes, you can’t avoid leaving your fur baby home alone even if it’s hard for both of you.
So, is it ok to leave dogs home alone then? Yes, but make sure you adopt our solutions for leaving your dog at home safely and comfortably. Planning and preparing well for your dog to stay at home alone will make sure it is fine when you’re away.
Once you return home, you can pamper and shower it with love and spend quality time together!