How long can you leave your pet alone at home? - The Leader

Dear Tabby,

I'll be returning to work soon (after working from home for more than a year), and I'm worried about leaving my dog alone. I work long hours on occasion, and I don't want to leave her in the kennel all day, every day. When it comes to leaving a dog alone, how long is a decent length of time?

Going back to the office in Oak Forest

Dear Going back to the office,

What a wonderful pet owner you are to consider your dog's needs before returning to the office! I understand that this is a difficult adjustment for you, but there are methods to make the transfer back to the office easier on your pet.

While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to how long you should leave a pet alone, there are some general rules to follow.

Depends on age

Puppies demand more attention, so it's best not to leave one alone for too long. Because their bladders are smaller, they require more frequent bathroom breaks and food. So, if you have a puppy at home, make arrangements for yourself or someone else to come in a couple of times during the workday to allow the puppy out to go potty and offer them some playtime breaks. Also, keep in mind that a bored puppy can be destructive, so make arrangements to keep your dog and your valuables safe from chewing.

Consider crate

During a lengthy workweek, a dog housed in a crate would most likely demand a break to stretch her legs. An adult dog should spend no more than four hours in a crate, according to experts. While crates may appear restrictive and jail-like to us humans, for dogs who are (at their core) den animals, having a place to sleep and relax (such as a crate) can bring comfort—especially when the humans are gone.

Know your dog

Many dogs can be left alone all day (as long as they have access to the potty, food, and water), while others require more attention throughout the workday. The aim is to get to know your own dog's needs and do your best to meet them. Pet sitters are an excellent resource for giving you peace of mind and ensuring that your dog receives the attention she requires while you're at work. Doggie day care may be an excellent option for your dog if he or she requires a lot of attention and craves socialising.

Good luck with your return to work, and congrats for prioritising your dog's needs as one of your top back-to-work objectives. It may take a few tries to find the ideal option for you and your dog, but I'm confident that if you keep her best interests in mind, you'll find something that works well for both of you.

Do you have a question for Tabby? Email her at deartabbyquestions@gmail.com.


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