Pets, Travel

Knowhow: leaving a dog at home alone – what to do

leaving a dog at home alone

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This concise guide strategies for leaving a dog at home alone while you are away, while making sure they are still happy and healthy

When you’re thinking about leaving your dog at home because you have to be away for work or while on holiday, all kinds of questions come up. The dog needs someone to feed them, play with them, take them out, and ensure they are safe, healthy and happy. Obviously, leaving them at home alone with no one ever coming by is not an option. Would they be best off with a professional sitter, a neighbor, a friend, or a relative? Will they experience separation anxiety? What can you do to train them to cope with you not being there?

This article attempts to answer these and other pertinent questions about leaving a dog at home alone . If you’re so worried about them that you can’t focus on your work or relax on your holiday, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose of taking the trip! Also read: How to groom dogs at home: guide for the most popular breeds

Leaving a dog at home alone: what concerns owners?

Results of a survey showed that almost 40% of the dog owners questioned ended up not going on holiday because they were afraid their dogs would feel lonely if leaving a dog at home alone. Two of every five owners decided to drive to their destination because the dog wouldn’t be admitted on the plane. Many owners even confessed there were no pet friendly hotels in their destination of choice, so they hid the dog in their luggage to get them in.  

Leaving a dog at home alone depends on the length of the trip

How long will you be gone for? Your dog will probably be OK at home if you’re only traveling for a few days. There will be a minimal risk of separation anxiety. It’s likely you’re not with your dog the whole day anyway. Ask a friend to check in once in a while and to give them food and water when leaving a dog at home alone. Of course, they need to be taken out for walks too. Make sure you find someone who is responsible and will do everything they promised to do for your dog.  

If you can’t find anyone and you’re not inclined to pay a sitter, you could purchase an automatic food and water dispenser. Your dog will appreciate a treat or a chew toy to occupy them when you’re not around. 

To make sure the dog stays happy, provide as many comfort items as possible. Their bed must be easily accessible. Leave a lot of toys out as well when leaving a dog at home alone.  

It’s a bit different for longer trips, such as six days or more. If you’ll be away that long, someone needs to come and give them not only water and food but also attention. They will need company, unlike cats. If possible, you could leave them at a nearby pet hotel. The choice is yours. 

Choosing a dog sitter  

If a pet hotel isn’t an option for whatever reason when leaving a dog at home alone, here’s the golden rule for choosing a care provider – familiarity pays off. In other words, your dog will warm up to someone they already know more quickly. Ideally, this person should stay in your place while you’re gone. Your dog might even be used to them. 

Hire a sitter if you can’t get a person you know to come in. Ask for a license and what their experience with that breed is. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – dog moms and dads need peace of mind about their child just like parents of human children. 

Preparing for your absence when leaving a dog at home alone    

The pet sitter, friend, or neighbor who’ll be stopping by your place or staying there needs to be set up for success. You must equip them with all that they need to take care of the dog. Maybe you’ll want to leave some doors locked to keep your dog from accessing those rooms. Supply enough food and stock up on medication that might be needed when leaving a dog at home alone. 

Leave anything the carer will need in a place that’s easy to reach. Things like doggy bags, treats, collars, leashes, harnesses, extra food, and medication need to be easy to access. Equip the home with doggy pads, stain removers, air fresheners, and other cleaning materials. Make sure your dog has been vaccinated as required. Check if the tags are current and if the registration is valid. 

If you can find a good pet hotel to take them to, the staff will take care of all of this and everything else for you. The best hotels are comfortable, safe, and luxurious. 

Take the time to get your dog used to being alone

Time is of the essence in teaching your dog to stay home alone and relax. Start getting your dog used to it as early as possible. If your dog comes into your household as a puppy, start training right away. Ideally, you should take two to four weeks of vacation to be at homme when you first get a dog, especially if they are a puppy- your new puppy won’t be able to handle it if he moves in on Friday and you go back to work on Monday.

If you can’t take that much time, ask someone who can take care of the new roommate during the time. The first training units can be to briefly leave the dog alone in the room and close the room door. If this works fine, you can put on your jacket and shoes and leave the apartment for a few seconds. If you come right back, your dog has barely had time to develop stress. Repeat this over and over and slowly extend the times until you can take a little walk. Observe how the dog is doing and be relaxed and calm about it.

Come and go calmly

When leaving the house, it is helpful to avoid big farewells and to act naturally. Same when you get home. The easiest thing to do is to ignore your dog. Take your shoes off and put away your purchases – and only then say hello to him. This is how you signal to the dog: this is a completely normal situation, nothing dramatic is happening. With a verbose farewell or a big hello, on the other hand, mark points that tell the dog: Something is going on.

If your dog is extremely excited when you come back, it is more a feeling of fear and relief that you will be back – rather than pure joy. If, on the other hand, your dog just raises his head when you return, it means he hasn’t been concerned in the previous hours – because he trusts you will come back.