22 Ways to Take Care of a Dog or Puppy While You’re Busy Working
You’ve got a great job, a fun social life, supportive family and friends – but something is missing. You’ve always adored dogs and would love nothing more than to have your own fur baby to look after, so now you’re wondering, “Can I get a dog if I work all day?“. It seems unfair to bring a dependent dog into your home only to leave them at home alone while you’re busy at work all day.
Having a dog with a full-time job may not be right for everyone, but you can certainly make it work if you’re willing to think outside the box and try a few different strategies to make sure everyone’s needs are met. If you’ve got your heart set on rescuing or purchasing a new dog or puppy but you’re worried about your work commitments, read on for 22 ways to take care of a dog or puppy while you’re working.
Making Arrangements For Your Dog’s Care While You’re At Work
Choose Your Breed Carefully
If you already have a dog, this tip won’t apply to you. But if you’re contemplating rescuing a dog and you’re wondering, “Should I get a dog if I work all day?“, one of the best things you can do is to do your research on different dog breeds and choose a dog who is most likely to react well to being left alone for most of the day while you’re at work. Certain dog breeds tend to require more human interaction than others, making them more likely to deal with separation anxiety when left alone during the day. Other dog breeds are more independent and will handle hours of alone time in their stride. Do your research before you start looking at rescue dogs so you can keep some objectivity during your search.
Take Your Dog To Work
This tip won’t apply to everyone, but there are some circumstances where you may be able to take your dog to work with you. If you work outdoors, work in a family-friendly environment, or spend a lot of time driving your own car as part of your employment, you may be able to answer the question, “What should I do with my puppy when I go to work?” by simply bringing your dog or puppy along with you.
Work From Home
Increasingly more companies are becoming open to the idea of employees telecommuting one or more days per week. When approaching your boss to discuss potentially working from home, focus on the benefits the company will receive from the arrangement such as maximized efficiency, improved productivity, freeing up of office space, and reduced drain on company resources.
Exercise Before You Go
If you’re expecting your dog to rest quietly throughout the day while you’re at work, set them up for success by giving them a high-energy exercise session before you head off to work. Even if this means getting up half an hour earlier than you normally would, commit to devoting a good chunk of time with a high-energy play or a run – something in addition to their normal morning walk – to increase the chances that your dog will spend most of the day sleeping and relaxing.
Head Home For Lunch
If you’re worried about having a dog and working 9-5, see if you can arrange to come home during your lunch hour. Even if the commute there and back only leaves you a short amount of time at home, it will be enough to check in with your dog, let them out for a toilet break, refresh their food and water bowls, and have a quick play to help them burn off some steam before being left alone again after lunch. You may not have time to eat during this break, so you could try eating during the commute or while at your desk later in the day.
Sync Your Family’s Schedule
If you live with family, friends, or roommates, try to align your timetables to create a dog schedule for working owners. If possible, shift your lunch breaks or working hours around so that your dog is not left alone at home for long periods. If you work close to home, taking a later or earlier lunch than usual could mean that your dog’s day will be punctuated by several visits home by their human family members.
Make The Most Of Your Free Time
Remember how much fun you had welcoming your new puppy when they first joined your little family? If your work schedule means that you spend a lot of time away from your dog, you’ll get the enjoyment of a fun reunion every time you and your dog see each other again. You’ll find that you look forward to some relaxing time at home with your dog when you can finally enjoy spending quality time together again. If you spend long hours apart during the week, try to avoid leaving your dog alone in the evenings and on weekends. Make plans that include your dog, such as bringing them along with you when socializing, or having your groceries delivered to your house rather than spending half of your Saturday at a shopping center. Even better, take your dog with you to a dog-friendly farmers market and enjoy doing the shopping together.
Help Your Dog Stay Happy At Home
An Automated Food and Water Dispenser
If you’re wondering how to take care of your dog while at work, one of your primary thoughts will be how to ensure that your dog has appropriate access to food and water throughout the day. If your dog is used to several small meals throughout the day – or your puppy is known for tipping over or digging in their water bowl – an automated food and water dispenser will provide you with the peace of mind knowing that your dog will have access to food and water at predetermined times throughout the day.
Easy Access To The House And Backyard
It may make more sense to confine your dog to the backyard while you’re at work so you don’t have to worry about coming home to accidents on your floor. Unfortunately, the downside of keeping a dog outside when at work is that your dog could be caught outside in rain, hail, or snow, or become uncomfortably hot during the summer months. Consider installing a magnetic or electronic doggy-door to give your dog the option of spending time indoors or outdoors during the day.
An Indoor Potty
If your dog will be kept outside while you’re at work or will have access to both indoor and outdoor areas, you shouldn’t need to worry about accidents while you’re away. But if you’re planning on keeping a dog in an apartment while at work, you’ll need to put arrangements in place for your dog to relieve themselves during the day. While some dogs can safely last seven or eight hours without needing a potty break, this may not be a realistic expectation every day. There are plenty of indoor potty solutions that you can buy, or you can make your own using absorbent puppy pads and a strip of artificial turf.
Puzzles And Treat Toys
One of the trickiest aspects of raising a puppy while working is ensuring that your puppy is receiving all the mental stimulation they need to grow into intelligent, secure adult dogs. This is where puzzles and treat toys can play an enormous role in keeping your dog mentally stimulated and staving off boredom while you’re away.
There is an enormous variety of treat toys to choose from depending on your dog’s temperament. If they are a natural chewer, look for a treat toy that releases treats from active chewing. Snuffle mats are perfect for dogs who loved to forage as they will have to use their nose to find treats hidden beneath soft fake turf. Highly intelligent breeds can put their paws to work solving puzzles to find and release hidden treats.
If you’re wondering what to do with a dog while at work to keep them entertained, you could look into the range of automated toys available for dogs. If your dog loves to catch a ball, a ball throwing machine can give them hours of fun out in the backyard. Dogs that love to chase could find an electronic wobble ball plenty of fun, or even look for dog-friendly battery-operated robot toys.
A Mid-Day Dog Walker
If you don’t have a backyard or an indoor potty system, you may be wondering how long your dog can be left alone indoors without needing a toilet break. The last thing you want to come home to after a long day at work is a desperate dog or an unfortunate accident in the middle of the floor. Besides, we all know the importance of exercising your dog and that many dogs – especially puppies – simply aren’t suited to lying around indoors all day.
A dog walker could be the perfect solution – someone to visit your home in the middle of the day and take your dog for a good long walk. Not only will this break up your dog’s day and give them something to look forward to, but this will also allow them to relieve themselves outdoors, burn off some energy, and set them up for an afternoon of relaxing at home until you return in the evening.
An Animal Friend
It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways of leaving your dog at home while at work is to consider adopting another dog to keep your dog company. This is, of course, another enormous commitment and not one to be taken lightly, however, the rewards of friendship, fun, and companionship for your dog throughout the day can be enormous.
Surveillance And Safety Issues To Consider While Your Dog Is Home Alone
A Cosy And Safe Environment
If your dog or puppy will be left at home for any length of time while you’re at work, you’ll need to be certain that the environment is safe for your dog and cozy enough for them to feel comfortable and at ease. View your home from your dog’s point of view and identify any potential hazards. You’ll need to decide whether to give them the run of the house or to secure them in a smaller area. Some people find that leaving dog in bathroom while at work is a better solution from your dog’s point of view, even though it may seem like a dog would be happier with more room to move.
Deciding to leave your dog at home alone involves a similar series of steps to moving your dog to a new house. In both situations, it’s vitally important to ensure that your dog feels safe and comfortable. Click here for our ultimate guide to moving with a dog, and learn how to adjust your dog to a new home – or to staying at home alone for extended periods.
A Quick Neighbourly Check-In
If you have a friendly relationship with a neighbor, ask if they’d be willing to pop over to your house once a day to check on your dog or even let them out into the backyard for a quick toilet trip. This type of arrangement can be particularly important in extreme weather conditions, and you may want to prep your neighbor to look for signs of heat-related illness in your dog.
Even if you don’t ask a neighbor to come to your house, you can always ask them to let you know if your dog is engaging in any nuisance barking while you’re away. If this negative behavior continues you may need to look into hiring a dog walker or arranging some out-of-home care for your dog while you’re working.
Check-In And Give A Treat From Work
One of the downsides of taking care of a puppy while working full time is that you can’t provide the ongoing love and reassurance that you normally would give your dog, particularly while they’re still a puppy. Luckily, technology has stepped in to provide ways for you to communicate with your dog and even release treats for good behavior. Look for a treat dispensing pet camera that will allow you to communicate with your dog via video camera and dispense treats with the click of a button. Some treat-dispensing units can be set up to release treats at certain times, while others need to be activated by you. Imagine being at work, chatting to your dog on a video camera, asking them to sit, and then clicking a button to release a treat when they do the right thing.
One of the main problems of leaving dog home alone while at work is that your imagination may well run wild as you think of all the things your dog could be up to while you’re away. If your dog will have the run of the house and backyard while you’re at work, a series of nanny cams will help you keep an eye on what your dog is up to. Nanny cams will help you find out if your dog is engaging in any nuisance barking or destructive behavior so you can nip the problem in the bud before you start getting complaints from your neighbors.
Out Of Home Care For Your Dog While You’re At Work
Dog Sitting By A Family Member or Friend
If you have a family member or friend who is retired or working or studying from home you may have the answer to the problem of what to do with puppy when at work all day. Approach your friend or family member and ask if they would be willing to let your dog stay in their backyard or keep them company in the house while you’re at work. An older relative, for example, may be happy to have the companionship during the day, especially if they know it’s saving you from leaving a puppy alone while at work.
Many family members won’t want to accept payment, so see if you can find another way to say thank you. Doing odd jobs around the house for an older relative or offering to babysit your friend’s children could make this a perfect arrangement.
A Reciprocal Playdate
If you’re lucky enough to have a neighbor also struggling with owning a dog and working full time, try to set up a reciprocal playdate arrangement if your dogs get along well together. Work out a schedule where some days the neighbors’ dog stays at your house while other days you take your dog to the neighbor’s house. Your dogs will benefit from having a friend to play with during the day, and you and your neighbor can have the peace of mind in knowing that you’re not alone in your situation.
If your dog is highly social or you’re concerned about the safety of your home environment, a daycare situation could be the perfect solution while you’re at work. A professional doggy daycare will only take dogs that are fully vaccinated and have a good temperament when around other dogs. While a more expensive option than many of the others in this list, daycare gives you full peace of mind knowing that your dog is being looked after by trained professionals and is spending time socializing with other dogs while they can’t be with you.
Sometimes your job will be more than just a 9-to-5 commitment. On those occasions when you need to be away overnight or for longer periods, consider a boarding arrangement for your dog or puppy. By entrusting a reputable boarding kennel with the care of your dog, you can feel 100 percent certain that your precious pet is safe and cared for. Before sending your dog to a boarding kennel for the first time, read these 6 key points to consider for overnight care.
Being a pet parent is not dissimilar to being a parent to a human child – most parents are fueled by a never-ending supply of guilt. Studies have shown that the vast majority of pet parents feel overwhelming guilt every time they leave their dog or puppy at home while they go out. Try to cut yourself a little slack and remember that – in the right environment – dogs are perfectly happy to spend some time alone during the day. Your dog may cry or whine when you leave, but they will soon settle down and play or rest once they realize you’ve gone.
By putting some of the above practices into place you set your dog up for success and give yourself the freedom to enjoy the best of both worlds: a fulfilling and rewarding full-time job and a devoted fur baby to come home to in the evenings.