The long, warm days of summer are sadly coming to an end. Summer vacations become a distant memory and families are getting back into the swing of their fall routine. School, sports, and work make for busy days and nights and this means that your dog might be spending long hours at home alone. A dog who is bored will often find ways to fill the lonely hours and unfortunately for you, this can mean destroying items in your house and sometimes harming themselves in the process. We have some tips to help keep your dog mentally stimulated while you’re gone so that both you and Fido can have peaceful days.
Before we dive into the details, let’s start at the beginning. Most dogs have a favorite hang-out spot in your house. Before the fall routine begins again, pay attention to where your pet spends most of their day. Designate that part of your house as your pet’s space. It is where your four-legged friend will feel safest and most comfortable. Make it cozy and appealing so they feel welcome and know it’s just for them. Be sure to provide a plush bed in this part of your house. On average, dogs sleep between 14 and 18 hours a day. That’s a lot of snoozing so make sure they’re comfortable. Although it seems basic, don’t forget the food and water. Staying hydrated is not only essential for humans but animals too. Most pet stores offer a variety of self-filling water bowls. This is a good investment as you’ll be assured that your pet will always have access to fresh water. Now that your pooch is comfy her are some specific ideas that will keep them busy while you’re at work and school.
TV and Music
As you leave for the day, consider turning the TV or radio on. The noise from the TV or radio will give them something to listen too as well as help muffle any sounds from outside the house or apartment that might upset them and make them bark. Leaving the TV on gives them the additional benefit of visual stimulation. Netflix offers many nature shows and the Animal Planet channel does as well. Your pet won’t understand the storyline but they will be stimulated by the objects moving on the screen and the noise.
Open The Curtains
If you’d rather not leave the TV on make sure that your dog’s space is close to a window or at least be sure your dog has access to a window. Dogs love being able to see what’s going on outside and this can occupy them for hours. If you have a small dog or a toy breed ensure that they can get high enough to see out the window by providing a stool, cushion or chair.
This seems like an obvious way to keep your dog entertained but most pet owners don’t offer a sufficient variety of toys for their dog. Provide both hard and soft toys to give your dog some options. Toys with squeakers will provide hours of entertainment to your dog. Pet stores usually have large varieties of indestructible toys that are almost impossible to chew through. Fill these with peanut butter, which is universally loved by dogs, and not only will they enjoy their treat but will enjoy the challenge of getting to their sweet surprise. Puzzle toys are another way to entertain your furry friend in your absence. You can hide treats in the toy and then Fido will have to figure out how to slide and move pieces to get his or her reward.
If your dog tends to get anxious during long periods of time alone, there are several things you can do to help calm them down. Essential oils are a great way to help calm your dog down. Apply a few drops to their bedding or in the area they spend the most time. The best choices for anxious dogs are lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, orange and frankincense. Many companies now make treats designed to provide a calming effect on pets. In addition to the essential oils, you could leave a few of these treats on their bed. Pheromones have also been shown to help calm dogs. There are a multitude of products on the market to assist with this. Pheromone sprays, collars, and diffusers can all be used as additional tools to help relax your anxious furry friend.
If you have exhausted all your options and you still find that your pet is engaging in destructive behavior while you’re away, you might want to consider putting your pet in doggy daycare a few days a week. It is an investment but paying for a few days a week will eliminate the damage to your home and will make both you and your pooch happier in the long run. Make sure you’re comfortable with the daycare you choose. Tour, read reviews and get plenty of references so you can be sure that your pet is being well taken care of.
As always, Trusty Tails is always willing to make a daily visit to your home to play with your dog and take them for a walk. Especially if you work long hours, a visit from a dog walker might be the only opportunity your pet gets for some much needed daily exercise. Our dog walkers are insured, bonded, experienced, and most importantly dedicated to taking the best care of your dog while you’re away. We know you would spend all day with your pet if you could. So on the days you can’t, you can be away knowing that they are being well taken care of.