We know that when you’re at work or out running errands you’re thinking about your dog. You wonder if they are safe. You worry about whether they are bored and you assume they are lonely. What’s a pet parent to do? You can’t always stay home. You certainly can’t take your dog with you everywhere you go (remember, NEVER leave a dog in a car)!
What’s a pet parent to do? We have some suggestions and have come up with five ways to “fix” your dog’s home-alone loneliness and relieve some of his separation anxiety.
Tire him out. Every pet parent knows that a tired dog is a happy, and probably less-destructive dog, right? If you know you’re going to be out and about and that your beloved fur baby will be home alone, get up earlier or plan your day so you can take him for a long, exhilarating run or game of fetch in the backyard. If the weather isn’t cooperating you can find a way to play some rousing, fun games in the house. This activity serves more than one purpose.
- You’re tiring your pup out
- You’re having a great bonding time with him
When your dog is tired, he may sleep the day away, won’t be as lonely and might not suffer as much from separation anxiety.
Entertain her. You can’t be there to play fetch or scratch her belly, but you can make certain she is not in an empty, silent house. Turn on DOGTV. Whether your dog lies on the couch and watches with rapt attention or if she is in her crate and benefits from her occasional glimpses at the programs, she is being entertained and kept company. You can sign up for a FREE 14-day trial to see if the programming is something your dog will enjoy.
Remember, dogs don’t binge-watch television the way humans do. Nor do they need to watch all of the programming in order to benefit. The background sounds are soothing and will keep your dog company when you can’t be there.
Food toys. Dogs need to be both mentally and physically stimulated. Food puzzle toys and dog snuffle mats are ideal ways to do this while you’re not at home. Fill the puzzle toy with treats or kibble and let your dog play with it and be rewarded every time he “solves” the puzzle and receives a treat.
When you’re leaving your dog home with a toy or treat, it’s best to only use that treat when you’re away. If he has the toy every day, it won’t seem “special” and he may become bored with it and not be motivated to play with it while he’s home alone.
Line up a dog walker or pet sitter. Your dog may need human interaction and may need exercise in the middle of the day. If that’s the case, hire a pet sitter or dog walker. You can do a Google search for dog walkers or pet sitters in your area or you may have a friend or family member who will want to come and spend time with your pup. If you’re bringing a dog walker or pet sitter into your house, make sure you do a meet-and-greet prior to just handing over the keys to the house. You need to assure yourself that the dog walker is a good fit for you and your dog.
Mike Linville, Founder of PetSitter365 says, “When choosing a dog walker or pet sitter – don’t assume all sitters are created equal. Ask for referrals from family, friends or your local vet. Ask for references, do a ‘meet and greet.” Above all – listen to your gut. If it doesn’t feel like a great fit – find someone who is. Your pets deserve it.”
Use calming aids. If your dog is prone to high anxiety and stress you may want to incorporate the methods above, but also use some calming aids. Ask your veterinarian whether your dog is anxious or stressed and whether she needs medication to address her anxiety. If she is not that anxious that you want to use medical intervention, you can use pet calming pheromone sprays or collars. There are calming aids in the form of chews that your dog may benefit from, too.
Your dog will appreciate the care you’re taking to alleviate his fears and anxiety while he’s home alone. He may not know what you’re doing, but he will know that he will be all right until you are back home with him, rubbing his belly, kissing his nose and spending quality time with him.
What have you found to be effective when your dog is home alone to keep him from destroying your house and from being stressed? We would love to hear your best tips! Drop us a comment!