If you had your way, you would probably stay home with your dog all day long. Unfortunately, duty calls and it sometimes becomes necessary to leave your dog at home alone. Not only can leaving your dog behind make you sad, but it can make your dog sad as well.
Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety which can cause them to become extremely stressed – some dogs even hurt themselves as they engage in destructive behavior. If you want to make sure that your dog is safe when you can’t be home with him, there are some simple things you can do to keep him calm and busy until you return. Keep reading to find out what they are!
Related Post: 5 Steps to Train Your Puppy to Be Home Alone
1. Provide Interactive Toys
Interactive dog toys come in all shapes and sizes but they are all designed to do one thing – to keep your dog active and engaged. Some interactive toys consist of bones or balls that you can stuff with your dog’s favorite treat and others take the shape of game boards that challenge your dog’s cognitive abilities.
Interactive toys help to distract your dog while you leave the house which this helps to reduce separation anxiety. If he knows he'll get a special treat or toy when you go, it makes your stepping out the door more tolerable. If your dog is prone to barking when you leave, it helps keep those mournful noises to a minimum. Interactive toys also ensure that your dog will be kept busy during your absence so he has less opportunity to get into trouble. Do your research first to find durable and safe toys according to your dog's size, activity level and play style.
2. Go for a Walk Before You Leave
In many cases, dogs become destructive out of boredom or from lack of exercise. One of the best ways to prevent your dog from becoming destructive while he’s home alone is to take him for a nice long walk before you leave. If you can tire your dog out a little bit before you leave home, he’ll spend most of the time you are gone resting.
Plus, getting your pooch out before you go will also ensure he's able to relieve himself before being alone for any amount of time. After all, it's never fun to come home to an unexpected surprise of the yellow or brown variety.
3. Monitor Your Dog with a Pet Camera
Even when you can’t be home to comfort your dog, you can still be there for him using a pet camera like Furbo Dog Camera. Not only does this camera allow you to check in on your dog, but you can actually interact with him as if you were home. Furbo Dog Camera allows you to access live streaming video of your dog simply by opening up the smartphone app and activating the camera. Not only can you view live footage of your dog, but you can capture photo or video to share with friends and family.
With a two-way audio feature, an interactive pet camera allows you to speak to your dog and you can even hear what he barks back. You can even toss him treats with the tap of a button! Furbo is the next best thing to being at home with your pup.
Related Post: 5 Reasons Every Dog Needs a Furbo Dog Camera
4. Hire a Pet Sitter
If you plan to be gone for more than a couple of hours, you might want to consider hiring a pet sitter to check in on your dog. Pet sitters provide a wide range of services from simple check-ins and feedings to daily walks and training sessions. When you have to be away from home for the entire day, having a pet sitter stop in halfway through the day can ease your dog’s anxiety, and a midday walk can help to keep him from becoming bored and destructive.
Also, if there's an emergency that arises, a pet sitter can be there to inform you of any issues or problems. If you can't afford a pet sitter or dog walker, then it may be a good idea to find a reliable neighbor who doesn't mind checking on your dog now and then.
Related Post: How to Find a Good Dog Sitter? - 5 Things to Consider
5. Crating Your Dog (or Not?)
Many dog owners crate their dogs while they are home alone to prevent them from getting into trouble. Many dogs take to crating quite easily, and when used in conjunction with positive reinforcement, they often come to love their crate. Dogs have a natural instinct to be in a den, and the crate can become just that for them. When used for an appropriate amount of time, it can prevent destructive behavior, help teach bladder and bowel control and encourage them to settle down and relax while you're away.
If your dog doesn't take to crate training, you may feel bad about crating him up. In these instances, there are some other things you can do. Providing your dog with some interactive toys can help to keep him busy and you can monitor him with a pet camera to make sure he is safe. If you prefer not to crate your dog, you might still want to think about using dog pens and gates to confine him to a certain area, so he doesn’t have as many chances to get into trouble.
6. Puppy Proof Your Home
Your home may seem safe when you're around to supervise, but once you're out the door, there is all kinds of mischief your dog can get into. The best thing for you to do is puppy proof your home. Here are some simple things you can do to ensure your dog's safety:
- Whether its dog food or human food, keep it safely stored away. You can keep your puppy chow in a sealed container, and your people food should be up in the cupboard or pantry where your dog can't reach it.
- Trash should be kept in a lidded container or under the sink.
- Take the same precautions you would with a toddler — cover electrical outlets, pick up small items that could be choking hazards and put electrical cords put away so they can't be chewed. You can also put puppy gates in places where you don't want your dog to go.
- Make sure all doors that lead outside are closed and secure, so your pooch doesn't wander off.
- Ensure your household plants aren't toxic to dogs.
- Keep cleaning products and medications well away from your pup's reach.
7. Keep Things Comfortable For Your Four-Legged Friend
Before you head out, make sure your home is a comfortable environment. Does your dog have ample water and food? When animals are hungry or thirsty, it tends to make them more anxious. Plus, a lack of water can lead to dehydration.
Also ensure the thermostat is set to a comfortable temperature, especially in extreme weather like hot summers and cold winters. After all, you want to be sure your dog can live and play without getting overheated. Another way to make sure your pet is comfortable is by investing in a cozy dog bed that will give him a relaxing place to retreat to when you're not at home.
One more quick tip — don't leave your dog outside when you're not at home. Even in a fenced in enclosure, inclement weather and hot temperatures could endanger your pup. Plus, strangers passing by could mess with your dog and agitate or anger your furbaby. It's better to ensure your home is a dog-friendly environment when you're gone rather than leave his safety to chance by keeping him outside alone.
It is unfortunate but true that your dog can’t follow you everywhere — sometimes you simply have to leave him at home. Just because you are leaving your dog, however, doesn’t mean that you have to leave him completely alone. A few interactive toys can help to keep him busy while a pet camera allows you to check in and soothe your dog if he gets upset. By following the tips above you can ensure that your dog stays safe and happy at home, even when you aren’t there.
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