2020 has been the dream life for our pets. Because of the lockdowns, we were able to stay at home 24/7, we regularly take them out on a walk, we play with them every day, we basically made them the center of our smaller world.
However, like any other good or bad thing that is happening to us, we know that this would not last.
Now that vaccines have already started to roll out of the market and the majority of the people start getting the jab, it is business as usual for us humans again.
You might already be starting to go back to work, start re-opening your store, or you might have to head out to your college dorm, and you have seen a ton of articles that dictates what you should do when you leave your dog home alone.
This article will not be like that because this is your ultimate guide on what you should not do when leaving your dog home alone, so you have to read this!
DO NOT MAKE A BIG DEAL OUT OF IT
I know, it’s sad. You have spent most of your days for the last few months with your beloved furbaby and you are about to leave him or her behind.
You’d love to cuddle them, kiss them, give them scritches while saying goodbye; but trust us, this is never a good idea.
Have you ever heard of emotional contagion between humans and animals? This behavior has been studied by Katayama, et. al and the results of their research has shown that humans, especially females who have shared an environment with their pet for more than 3-4 weeks, share a bond where the emotions felt by the human is consequently felt by their dog as well.
This means that whatever mood you have right now, your dog is able to mimic it and feel the same way.
If you make a big fuss about leaving them behind and act stressed before heading towards the door, they will be able to sense the change in your mood, leaving them more anxious. Remember to always practice uneventful departures.
The downside to ‘hyping up’ your dog before you leave is that, if you continue doing this before leaving your dog behind, they might even develop separation anxiety.
DO NOT DRASTICALLY CHANGE THEIR ROUTINE
Dogs are routine animals. They hate it when we humans change their daily schedule. If they are used to be fed at a certain time or go out on a walk at a specific schedule, it would be better for your dog’s health to stick to it.
If, however, changing their usual schedule is inevitable, try tweaking it gradually two weeks ahead.
Try to make this training enjoyable too by rewarding them with their favorite treat or toys whenever they go out or get their food on a different schedule.
DO NOT FORGET TO EXERCISE YOUR DOG
Aside from keeping your dog’s joints and muscles healthy and boosting their immunity, exercising your dog reduces behavioral problems when you must leave them home alone.
Waking up early to make sure that your dog gets their morning walk is such a big help in diverting their energy towards something that could help their health, then using that energy to potentially destroy things out of boredom when you are not around.
This is especially true for big dogs! If you own a Golden Retriever, Doberman, or a Siberian Husky, it is wise to allot an hour of walks and exercise before you leave them at home alone. These dogs are notorious for having destructive behaviors when they are bored.
DO NOT LEAVE THEM UNSUPERVISED
Yes, you have to leave, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will leave them unsupervised.
If a Doggy Daycare is too far from your home or your dog is not comfortable in attending them, you can hire a dog sitter that would come over to your house to check on your furbabies.
At an affordable rate of $10 an hour, you can already find someone who would be willing to look after your pooch.
If this option is still not accessible to you, you can trust technology to do your job. Amazon offers a lot of pet cameras that will enable you to monitor your dog throughout the day.
Some of these gadgets even offer an automated food dispensing feature and you can even talk to your dog through their built-in microphone.
DO NOT LEAVE THEM WITHOUT FOOD
Your schedule might be really busy right now, but before leaving the house, make sure that your dog still gets the food that they need.
What I personally do with my pets when I had to leave for the day is that I feed them before I leave, turn their automated treat dispenser on so that they can play with it and get some treats while doing so, and feed them again before going to bed.
This is effective for my dogs, I understand that every dog is different, so you have to figure out when to feed them and how much food should you leave so that they won’t starve when you are not around.
DO NOT LEAVE THEM WITHOUT WATER
I vividly remember the first time we took our rescue dog Brownie to our house, and we had to leave him for the day, then we ended up coming home to a wet living room and overflowing water from the bathroom.
Apparently, Brownie ran out of water from his water bowl, so being the smart dog that he is, he went to the bathroom and turned the faucet on to get some water. The only problem with that is he completely forgot to turn it off.
If you do not want the same scenario inside your house, make sure that they have enough water in their bowl so that they wouldn’t need to clean up their mess after.
DO NOT PUT ANYTHING THAT THEY CAN DESTROY WITHIN THEIR REACH
This includes television sets, breakable glass and mugs, and even cleaning materials that they could reach, break and lick. We included this in the list because even if this is a no-brainer, most pet owners still forget about this reminder.
Leaving behind appliances that your dog can knock over isn’t harmful to your pet’s safety, but it can also start a fire or they might be able to spill the bleach all over your carpet and that’s something that you would not want to happen.
As the world opens its doors to new and exciting opportunities for us, we should still make sure that the needs of the furry friends that we have at home are still met.
After all, for most of us, they were the only ones that helped us get through those gruesome times.