There are many factors you need to take into consideration when deciding whether to buy a dog. Is your house suitable? Will you adopt or buy from a trusted breeder? And do you have the time to look after a dog? Dogs are social animals and like to be around people, so it is vital they are not left alone for too long. Having a busy lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t own a dog; many people have hectic jobs and still care properly for their pet. There are lots of measures you can put in place to ensure your dog is happy and healthy, whilst not giving up any other aspect of your life to care for them.

Some dogs will not mind being left alone for an extended period of time, this is mainly in adult and elderly dogs. Dogs that are used to being left alone will be calm and mainly sleep whilst their owner is gone. But some dogs can struggle with being away from their owner, they will become stressed and anxious when left alone and this can cause a lot of problems for both the owner and the dog.

HOW LONG SHOULD YOU LEAVE YOUR DOG ALONE?

Although dogs like your company, they can be left alone for short periods of time. For puppies, it isn’t recommended to leave them by themselves for more than 2 hours a day. Puppies are learning and developing their behaviour at this age, being left alone for too long at this age can lead to separation anxiety and behavioural issues. Adult dogs can be left alone for 4 – 6 hours, but this depends on your dog and their personality and needs. Most dogs will sleep whilst you’re away and do not mind being separated from you, but some dogs will become stressed and upset if they are left alone for long periods of time.

HOW TO HELP YOUR DOG WHEN THEY ARE HOME ALONE

The best way to make sure your dog is happy and calm whilst you are away is to keep them occupied so they do not mind being alone. There are lots of aspects that can affect their happiness whilst alone, but there are lots of different ways to keep them entertained and make the separation less stressful!

Food and Water:

It is vital your dog has enough food and water, if your pet is being left alone for 6 hours, they will need a sufficient amount to keep them hydrated and full of energy. But too much food and water can also be a bad thing, as it will make your dog need to go to the toilet, and if there is nowhere for them to go, you may come home to a mess on the floor! PetKit’s Fresh Element Pet Food Dispenser is the perfect accessory for when you are away from your dog, it dispenses food throughout the day to give you piece of mind that your dog is not going hungry.

Dog Toys:

To make sure your dog has enough things to do you can provide them with toys to stimulate their brain. Puzzles or games can keep your dog occupied and happy whilst you are away, and it is a good way to ensure they do not become anxious whilst alone. Giving your dog certain toys when you leave can also make the time they spend alone enjoyable because they will look forward to being able to play with their toys.

Background Noise:

Leaving your TV on gives your dog background noise which can stop them becoming anxious, it can also give the impression there are other people in the house, so they don’t feel alone. Audio books and the radio are also great options, the sound of silence can be uncomfortable for your dog, these possibilities will help ease your dogs stress and stop them feeling lonely.

Exercise:

Walking your dog before you leave is a great way to calm your dog, they will be tired from the walk and will be happy sleeping. Other forms of exercise work too, anything that will tire your dog out will help make the time they spend alone easier.

Doggy Day-care:

Having someone to look after your dog whilst you are at work will provide them with a place to interact with other dogs and run around. This will massively reduce the risk of your dog developing separation anxiety because they will be happy and occupied. As well as this, you will know your dog is safe and being looked after, which will help you to stop worrying.

Treats:

Hiding treats around your house is a good way to keep your dog entertained as they will hunt for them throughout the day. Also, there are special toys that allow you to hide treats inside, this will keep your dog amused as they try to get the treats.

TRAINING YOUR DOG TO BE LEFT ALONE

If you have a puppy, this is the best time to train them to be alone. Their behaviour is learnt at this age, and if they are not properly trained, they can develop separation anxiety. The best way to train your puppy is to not constantly interact with them, this will teach them it is alright to be by themselves and reduce the risk of issues when they are left alone. Leaving your pet alone for 6 hours isn’t something that should be done straight away. This amount of time should be built up to, to ensure your pet is okay when left for long periods of time.

Whilst you are away, if your dog becomes anxious, they can develop habits such as scratching, chewing, barking and binge-eating. Separation anxiety can be a big issue for dogs, causing stress and health problems.

For dogs with this condition, the first few minutes they are left alone are extremely stressful, they will bark and pace, looking for their owner. The next few hours the dog will wait for the owner to come back, causing them a lot of worry. Other health issues can arise from this, it has been linked to being a factor causing unhappiness and depression.

The symptoms of separation anxiety can be hard to spot because they only occur when you are gone, and your dog is alone. Videoing your dog is a great way to check our dog is not showing any worrying symptoms, this can be done with the PetKit Mate Pet Monitoring Camera. The recommendations made above can help ease or stop the symptoms of separation anxiety, but the best method to deal with this issue is to visit your vet.