Leaving your animals at home doesn’t have to be a guilt trip. Even though we want to smother our pets with love and give them all the kisses they deserve, some pet owners still need to work to bring home the bacon. Leaving a dog at home (for less than 8 hours) can be made possible by following some easy tips and tricks.
From CBD oil for pets to hardy treats to gradual adjustment, after this post, you’ll be an expert on leaving pets home alone and avoid coming home to scavenge garbage cans or bite marks on your sofa.
Image by Chewy on Unsplash
Leaving a Dog at Home Alone
Leaving dogs at home doesn’t have to be a heart-breaking event. While we know our furry friends would much rather have us home to cuddle and play with all day, that’s not always realistic. Sometimes you need to diffuse a blow between shareholders and directors, and dogs aren’t allowed. While dog-parent guilt is a real thing, this won’t do any good in preparing for leaving a dog at home while at work or running errands.
It’s important to know that if you leave your pup home alone without any precautions or training, there may be some consequences:
- Excessive Barking
- Hyper Greetings
- Destructive behaviour
- Escaping from home
Top Tips for Leaving a Dog Alone While at Work
To follow are the best tips and tricks to make the separation run as smoothly as possible.
1. Pet CBD Oil
Extensive research has shown that CBD can help manage separation anxiety and behavioral problems, amongst an array of other medical conditions. With cannabis now legal in South Africa, giving your pet a daily dose of pet-friendly CBD oil is a great way to help them remain calm while you’re out of the house.
2. Train Your Pet From the Start
All dogs need some degree of training before they can adapt to human life. Dogs are naturally pack animals and aren’t accustomed to being left alone for long periods. It’s best to start slow by leaving dogs home alone for just 5 minutes. Then you can gradually work your way up to a workday or however long they may be left alone. Check this video on how to train your dog to stay home alone.
Image by Eric Ward on Unsplash
3. Prevent Separation Anxiety
Don’t make a big deal about leaving your pet at home. Dogs can feed off human emotions. If you’re sad, they are more likely to act sad too. Just like if you show guilt when you’re leaving, they will start to feel anxious. It’s best to make coming home and going as uneventful as possible. It’s also important to wait for your dog to be completely calm before greeting them and showering them in kisses. (Even though it’s difficult!).
4. Keep Them Busy
Keeping your pets occupied with exciting toys keeps their minds active and off missing you. We recommend hardy treats or a Kong toy. You can fill these pet puzzles with tasty rewards and keep them occupied and mentally stimulated for hours!
5. Exercising Your Pet
Before you head out of the house, make sure your dog has had their daily exercise. Exercise tires out your pup as well as stimulating them mentally. And we all know a tired dog is a happy dog. If your pet is all exercised-out, they will have less energy to worry about you or cause mischief and destruction to your belongings.
Image by Anoir Chafik on Unsplash
Leaving a Puppy Home Alone
Leaving a puppy alone while at work is much different from leaving a fully-grown dog. The general rule of thumb is to not leave them longer than one hour for every month old they are. So, if your puppy is two months old, leaving them alone for a maximum of two hours is okay.
Ensure your puppy has access to clean water and that you aren’t skipping their meals while you’re out. Since puppies usually haven’t been potty trained yet, it’s also best to lay out training pads or some newspaper so you don’t come home to any nasty surprises.
The same as mature dogs home alone, be sure your puppy has toys to play with that will keep them occupied while you’re gone.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone
Can you leave a dog at home all day? Leaving your dog home alone while at work or out and about should last no more than 8 hours. That is if you’ve worked your way up to leaving them for that long at once.
If you’re planning a vacation to Italy or a trip to see the snow, it’s best to hire a pet-sitter or send your pet to a pet hotel. Never leave your pets alone when you go on vacation.
Breeds of Dogs that Can be Left Alone
Some dog breeds are just genetically wired to be okay by themselves for a while. But this by no means is a loophole to exceeding 8 hours or skipping all the necessary steps.
- Basset Hounds
- French Bulldog
- Shar Pei
Image by Tran Mau Tri Tam on Unsplash
Leaving a Cat at Home Alone
Cats are generally more independent than dogs and are better suited to being left alone while you’re at work or going about your daily business. However, they still should not be left alone for more than 8 hours at a time.
Cats can also get lonely, depressed and anxious, leading to destructive behaviour or even running away.
When leaving your cat home alone, you should make sure that they have access to enough food and clean water as well as a litter box (or an open window if they are trained to do their business outside).
Leaving Kittens Home Alone
Kittens under four months should not be left alone for longer than two hours. It’s essential to remember that at a young age, they’ve just been separated from their mother and siblings and need some time to adjust. Once they are over four months, you can leave them alone for about 5 hours at a time until they mature.
Image by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash
Final Thoughts on Leaving Dogs at Home While at Work
From leaving dogs home alone to how long can dogs be left alone, this post answers all the right questions and will leave you feeling confident and guilt-free about your new workday dog routine.
We also touched on the specifics with puppies, cats and kittens, giving you all-around knowledge to be the best pet owner out!