It can be hard for new pet parents to leave their dogs alone at home for the first time. This is why one of the most common dog health questions we get is how to keep your pet safe when it’s home alone.
A huge part of keeping your dog safe when leaving it unattended is keeping it happy and free from anxiety. Anxious dogs may try and escape or try to cope with the anxiety by chewing on furniture, wires, shoes, and other household items. This is a dangerous habit as a lot of items in our homes are toxic to dogs. A bored dog, on the other hand, can go on a foraging mission and topple dustbins.
To keep your pet safe when it’s home alone, it’s important to keep it calm and engaged. The following 9 tips should help you achieve that.
Hire a Local Pet Sitter
If you want complete peace of mind, then hiring a professional pet sitter is the best option. Hiring a sitter is definitely a better idea than pet boarding because dogs tend to stay relaxed when they are in a familiar space. Professional pet sitters spend time with your dog to make them feel comfortable and keep them engaged and out of trouble when you are not around.
Consider Installing a Pet Camera
Most modern pet cameras are app enabled, which allows you to quickly check what your dog is doing via the camera’s mobile app. If you think your dog is doing something that can be dangerous, you can call up a neighbour or rush back home. Installing a pet camera may also be a good idea to check if your dog is behaving well around the pet sitter. Just be sure to inform the sitter that you have a camera on.
When you are not around, you cannot give your dog access to the entire house. Seal off the kitchen, basement, garage, and guest bedrooms. It’s also important to keep any hazardous materials locked away and the dustbin lids closed with a weight on top. Apart from setting physical barriers, train your dog not to go inside the kitchen or any place that may be dangerous.
Place Dog Beds in Different Locations
If your pet is like most dogs, it would probably sleep all day long and take breaks from those naps for eating or changing position. Most dogs don’t like to sleep in one position all day long. They instead wander around the house sleeping in different places at different times. For instance, if you come back home at a specific time, you would likely find your pet sleeping somewhere near the door. Take that into account and place dog beds in different locations. Throw in a toy on each bed so your dog has a reason to move about.
Take Your Dog for a Walk Before You Leave
Dogs need to be walked twice every day and each walking session needs to be at least 15 minutes long. Schedule a walk before you leave the home and get your pet nice and tired. This will encourage your dog to sleep and relax instead of making a fuss when you are about to leave.
Hide Toys All Around the House
One of the ways to utilize your dog’s foraging nature to your advantage is by hiding toys around the house. This will keep the dog engaged and ensure its foraging instincts do not end up causing any damage.
Contact a Veterinarian or a Dog Behaviorist to Minimize Separation Anxiety
Separation anxiety can often lead to undesirable behavior and can cause your pet to react unpredictably. It’s unsafe to leave a dog that’s suffering from acute anxiety alone at home. To tackle this common canine health issue, it’s best to consult a vet or an animal behaviorist. Vets can recommend anti-anxiety pet medications to keep your dog calm. Animal behaviorists, on the other hand, can use humane training techniques to help your dog cope with anxiety.
Leave Food Puzzles to Keep them Engaged
Food puzzles are toys that have food trapped inside them. These toys can keep your pet engaged for hours as they try to unlock the puzzle to get to the food. If your dog is new to food puzzles, then it’s best to test one out to see how it reacts.
Stop Showering Them with Love Before Leaving or After Coming Back
Hugs, kisses, and pats get your dog all worked up. This is why it’s not recommended to shower them with love before leaving the home. You don’t want your dog all excited and longing for more human time just before you are about to leave. Instead ignore the dog and allow it to relax naturally. Make sure the dog sees you when you leave but keep yourself from showing any sign of love or affection. The same goes when you come back home. Instead of doing the crazy love dance, wait a while and allow your dog to calm down. Showing your pet too much love as soon as you get home may encourage it to wait by the door all day long every time you leave.