Pet parents love the company of their canine pals. It’s not unusual to see them bringing their pups along for vacations or trips to the mall. But sometimes, they’ll need to leave their dogs at home to go to work or run errands. This can be a challenge for people who live alone or when the entire family is out, as it would mean leaving their pet unsupervised while they’re away.
While many dogs aren’t bothered by being left alone, others can get bored, anxious and show signs of distress like scratching, howling or chewing on objects. In some cases, dogs can become very anxious to the point that they run away.
Fortunately, you can ensure your dog remains calm and safe while you’re away by making necessary preparations. Educating yourself with the do’s and don’ts of leaving your precious pup on their own allows you to make the experience less stressful for your dog and yourself. To learn more about it, read on.
Understand How Long You Can Leave Your Dog Home Alone
Dogs are social creatures. They need interaction and companionship for their well-being. Even the most well-adjusted canines can get distressed when left alone for too long, so you need to know exactly how much time is recommended. The acceptable period for leaving a dog by themselves can vary depending on the age and needs of your pet.
Puppies, for example, aren’t accustomed to being left alone and are prone to separation anxiety. They also require constant supervision to keep them from harm. So, make sure not to leave them alone at home for more than two hours.
On the other hand, adult dogs that are 18 months old and above may be more used to being home alone and can be left alone for four to six hours. Anything longer than that isn’t advisable. Adult dogs will also have learned to sleep while you’re away, so you may want to keep them more comfortable by giving them a soft customizable beer can dog toy they can snuggle and play with.
If you have senior dogs, the length of time you can leave them unattended will depend on factors like their health condition. They may need to take medication at specific times or go out to potty more frequently. Ideally, you can only leave elderly dogs for about two to six hours.
Consider Your Dog’s Potty Habits
A lot of doggie parents train their pets to only relieve themselves outdoors. If you plan to keep your dog indoors while you’re away, make sure to consider your dog’s potty habits and plan accordingly.
Generally, dogs need to pee between three to five times daily but this varies depending on your dog's age and health. For instance, a three-month-old pup can wait for three hours before urinating. Dogs who are a year old and above can hold their urge to pee for up to eight hours. Depending on their size and health, elderly dogs who are eight years old and older can hold it in for two to six hours.
These estimated times may differ from your pet’s actual needs and you mustn’t force your furry pal to hold their urine for too long. Doing so puts them at risk of urinary tract infection and developing stones or crystals in their bladder. Additionally, holding in their pee is uncomfortable and can lead to accidents inside the house. For their health and comfort, make sure to let your dog relieve themselves every four to six hours. If you need to be away from home longer, make sure a trusted friend or a dog sitter can take your pet out so they can go potty.
Give Your Dog Proper Exercise to Tire Them Out
Apart from potty habits, make sure your dog gets some exercise before leaving them alone at home. Regular exercise keeps them in top health and stimulates their mind. It also helps curb boredom, which can often cause destructive behaviors. Additionally, letting your dog engage in physical activities before leaving them home alone can tire them out so they’ll feel more relaxed and have an easier time falling asleep once you leave the house.
One exercise routine you and your precious pup can benefit from is a daily walk of 20 to 30 minutes to a nearby park or around your neighborhood. When going out for a walk, remember to use a sturdy leash that won’t break easily even if your dog pulls hard.
Train Your Dog to Be Comfortable Alone
A lot of pet parents worry about their dogs when leaving them home alone. To ease your worries, make sure to train your pup to be okay with spending time alone and to understand that you’ll return home. You can do this by pretending to get ready to leave. Put your shoes on and go to the front door. If you notice your pet becoming uneasy or panicking, simply ignore the behavior. Repeat the action at least three times a day so your dog gets used to it.
When you do leave the house and return, avoid giving your pup affection immediately even if you’re very excited to see them. This will help your dog understand that coming home is something normal and not a cause for excitement. When you arrive, command your pet to go to their doggie bed so they can settle down. Once they are calmer, you may pet your precious canine and show them how much you missed them.
It's not easy to leave your dog home alone. Like most pet parents, you’re probably concerned about their well-being while you’re away, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. To ensure your pet is safe and stays calm, make sure to take note of the tips mentioned above. By making the necessary preparations, you can head out and be confident about the well-being of your pup.