How long can i leave my dog for?
Dynamics have shifted as more people return to the office after spending the past year working from home. With this change along with festivities coming up, your dog may need some time to adjust to being home alone.
By Emily Roach, Paws in Work guest blogger.
How long can I leave my dog?
Firstly, the age of your dog is a big factor. If you have a puppy rather than a full-grown dog, you’ll need to consider how long they can hold their bladder for. The younger the pup, the less time they are capable of spending on their own. The rule of thumb is that pups can be left alone for 1 hour per month of age, however, each puppy is different so it’s important to give them a good opportunity to go to the toilet straight before and after being left alone. Older dogs or dogs who are on certain medications may also have limited ability to hold their bladders.
It is recommended to not leave your dog for more than 4 hours at a time. This should be the limit; if you have a job that conflicts with this, it may be worth looking into someone to help look after your dog, so they aren’t frequently left alone.
Where should I leave my dog?
If you have a pup or dog that is crate trained, then it’s best to leave them in their crate so they have familiarity. Alternatively, you can set up a large pen in your home providing it is safe and secure, or even let them have run of the house if they are fully trusted! The bottom line is to leave them in a safe and cosy space at home which will make them feel comforted.
If you don’t feel happy with leaving your dog at home, you could leave them with a trusted friend or family member who your dog has established a bond with. Doggy day-care facilities are also great for keeping your dog entertained and busy with lots of friends throughout the day. Many daycare companies offer regular overnight boarding for those who frequently travel.
What does my dog need when left alone?
After establishing a safe space or place to leave your dog, you need to consider what they need. If your dog has a weak bladder due to their age or medical needs, it may not be beneficial to leave them with water accessible in their crate, so accidents are prevented. This depends on how long you are leaving the dog for of course.
Make sure your dog has somewhere cosy to sleep and some toys to play with to keep them entertained if they are not in the mood to sleep. Avoid leaving your dog or puppy with soft toys; you don’t want them to ingest any of the materials, especially whilst you’re not at home to stop them! Hard chew toys are the safest type to leave your pup or dog with. You could leave them with a Kong toy and accompany it with tasty treats or a paste which will help them associate being left alone with something positive.
How to help with separation anxiety.
Some breeds such as the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are more prone to separation anxiety as they are bred to be companion dogs. A lot of dogs who have been homed during the pandemic are also susceptible to separation anxiety as they have become accustomed to their owners being at home most of the time which isn’t realistic.
Here's what you can do to help your pup or dog with separation anxiety as you start to leave the house more:
- start by leaving them for short bursts of time, even if you go in the other room and gradually increase this
- make them a safe and cosy space to relax in
- give them plenty of praise upon your return to encourage them when they’re calm
- play soothing music in the background when leaving them for some comfort
- invest in a camera so you can monitor their behaviour whilst leaving them
- take them to other people’s houses or doggy day care to get them used to spending time away from you
- consider help from a dog behaviourist if symptoms of anxiety do not subside overtime
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