Cat lovers, don’t take this personally. But this 24/7 care tutorial is mainly targeted to owners of canines–the furry bundles of energy that can’t seem to get enough of human interaction. The high maintenance members of the family.
When it comes to dog care, there are a number of things to consider if your schedule regularly keeps you away from home. Let’s set aside the debate about whether you should own a dog if you work full-time. Many people do so successfully. We compiled seven considerations that keep pets well-adjusted and healthy during short and long-term separations from owners.
- Choose your pet carefully. Personality fit is key with a pet. You want a breed that is comfortable with your lifestyle. According to dog experts, some of the best breeds for working or busy owners include the basset hound, whippet, chihuahua, greyhound, Maltese and Shar Pei. Some of the most popular dogs, including German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Golden Collies, are among the most unsuitable pets to be left alone for long stretches of time. These dogs require plenty of activity and attention.
- Hire a dog walker. To minimize alone time, contact a neighbor, friend, relative or high school student to walk your dog when you are away. Even if you don’t think you’ll need help on a regular basis, it’s great to have someone on call in case an unexpected event causes you to return home later than normal.
- Train yourself to train your dog. Your dog will be able to handle separation if it has been prepared. While it’s not advisable to leave a pet alone at a young age, you can start taking small steps to prepare them for the times when you’ll be gone for two to three hours. The longer you wait to instill training, the more anxiety behaviors can intensify. If the dog or cat is destroying your home or otherwise acting out, discipline the pet with calm but firm language. If the problem is particularly alarming or if the pet shows physical signs of distress, seek out the help of a pet trainer or a vet. Again, early intervention is key to a healthy solution.
- Pet-proof your home. Survey your home for potential hazards, including human food that can be dangerous for pets. Check for bookshelves that can topple over, sharp corners and other potential hazards. In some cases, crating can be an ideal solution, because it gives the dog security and boundaries. Just make sure that the crate is spacious enough for your dog to move around.
- Give ’em some toys. Who can blame a frisky dog for getting bored? Select several toys to occupy your pet. Make sure it’s one of their favorites so that they don’t resort to tearing up your shoes or furniture. A great option is toys that contain an encased treat because they challenge and reward your dog.
- Choose boarding when you’re gone for long stretches. If you’re planning to be away from your home overnight, several nights or more, research your local boarding facilities to find a suitable home away from home. The transition to a boarding facility, however, can be a process. Ideally, you should give your pet a chance to explore a new environment. Before leaving for a few days, for example, introduce your dog to a kennel for a few hours. Find out beforehand which vaccines are required and how they exercise and monitor dogs. It’s also a good idea to ask how the staff handles stressed pets. They should be able to explain their process and put you at ease.
- Use a bit of technology. There are great tools that help you keep in touch with your pet today, including dog and home cameras. The future promises more innovations, including tech-activated toys triggered remotely that engage dogs, according to Yaroslav Azhnyuk, CEO, and co-founder of Petcube. There may also be gadgets that dispense a treat following good behavior.
Regardless of your schedule and lifestyle, you can find a pet that complements and the right structure to properly care for them. It just takes research, planning, and forethought. Not sure where to board your dog or send them for daycare? Come and check out DogDayz! Contact us to schedule a visit.