While you may feel guilty for leaving your furry best friend at home alone, it’s often unavoidable. Certain places are simply off-limits for our dogs, such as our workplace, doctor’s office, or the gym. Sometimes, we have somebody who can be there for our dog when we’re not, like a relative or friend. However, in many cases, this is simply not possible.
Fortunately, there are various steps we can take before leaving. These can ensure a safe and stress-free environment for your pup while you are away. By taking the necessary steps, you can ensure that your dog will be safe, comfortable, and happy while you are away.
Here are five important steps to consider before leaving your dog at home.
#1 Crates Can Be Comfortable
Many dog owners worry about putting their dog in a crate, due to fear of it being ‘cruel’ or ‘restricting’. However a crate is an excellent option to ensure the dog feels safe and secure.
Dogs are descendants of wolves, and like their wild ancestors, they crave a cosy den to call their own. A crate provides just that – a safe and secure space for your furry friend to relax and unwind.
Think of it like your bedroom. You have your own bed, favourite pillow, and maybe even a stuffed animal or two. It’s a place where you feel comfortable, and your dog feels the same way about their crate. It’s their own little sanctuary where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the world and take a much-needed nap.
But it’s not just about the physical space. Crates also give your dog a sense of routine and predictability. When they know what to expect, they feel more relaxed and less anxious. Plus, it keeps them out of trouble when you’re not home.
Make sure the crate is size is appropriate, so they have enough room to move around comfortably.
Before leaving your pup, create a routine for him or her in the kennel with positive reinforcement. Doing this helps to create familiarity for your pet and will also help to reduce separation anxiety if they are used to being around people all day.
Don’t forget to provide plenty of soft bedding material, such as blankets or towels, to keep them warm and cosy.
#2 Leave Plenty of Food and Water, As Well As a Favorite Toy or Two
You should always leave plenty of food and water when leaving your pup alone. Choose healthy food that your dog likes and is appropriate for its age and size. Additionally, fill up a water bowl with fresh and clean water so your pup stays hydrated during the day.
In addition to food and water, it can be helpful to leave one or two of their favorite toys behind. This can give some comfort while they await your return, in addition to providing mental stimulation if they become bored or anxious.
Another helpful tactic is providing some distraction while you are away, such as playing soothing music or turning on the television. Additionally, consider leaving a piece of your clothing or an item with your scent on it near their bedding or crate so they can feel more connected to you, even when you’re away from home.
Note that it’s essential not to leave items your dog may have accidentally mistaken for food and eaten in the past. However, if this unfortunate event unfolds, here is some helpful advice from Aisling O’Keeffe, an independent Veterinarian, on how to react.
#3 Exercise Your Dog Before You Leave for The Day
Make sure that you exercise your dog before you leave for the day. Helpful activities include walking, running, swimming, playing fetch, and agility. Even if it’s just a 10-minute walk around the block or in the park, this can provide mental stimulation and physical activity that will help keep your pup content while you’re away.
Exercise also allows your pet to interact with other animals and people, which helps build strong bonds and friendships that help maintain emotional health.
#4 Bring Your Dog Inside If It’s Cold Outside or Raining
Avoid leaving your dogs outside alone when it’s cold or raining, especially if they are not used to those weather conditions or have shown discomfort when exposed in the past.
Doing this is essential to prevent health complications like hypothermia, which is especially dangerous for puppies and senior dogs, for which core body temperature may be more vulnerable to drops in temperature. The additional moisture can also cause their fur to become matted, making them susceptible to skin irritations. Moreover, if thunderstorms are in the forecast, it’s best to bring them inside so they will not be startled by loud noises.
#5 Toilet Before You Leave
Before leaving your dog at home, it is important to ensure that they have been taken outside for the toilet. This will help to reduce undesirable issues while you are away and also helps to keep your home clean and odour-free.
It is also helpful to give them positive reinforcement and rewards after they go potty. This can help reinforce the behaviour and build good habits while making the experience fun for your pup.
Allow them some extra time to explore during their walks, as this can help stimulate their minds and keep them from getting bored while you’re away.
What Tips Do You Have?
It’s also important to keep in mind that, depending on the length of your absence, you also have the option of taking your pup to doggy day-care, dog walker or hiring a pet sitter to come in and take care of their needs while you’re gone. Both options can provide fun activities and socialisation opportunities for your pup in a safe environment and avoid the complications and worries of leaving your dog alone at home.
What tips do you have for leaving your dog at home? Share them in the comments below.