Leaving your furry companion at home while you’re away for the day can be a source of concern for many pet owners. Ensuring your dog’s safety and well-being during your absence is paramount. From potential hazards to loneliness, there are several factors to consider when creating a safe environment for your canine companion. In this Redfin article, we’ll explore a range of expert tips and strategies to help you keep your dog secure, mentally stimulated, and content while you’re out. Whether you’re looking to rent an apartment in Spokane, WA, or purchase a home in Indianapolis, IN, with your dog, these insights will provide valuable guidance on making those hours of separation worry-free for you and your beloved four-legged friend.
1. Ask a neighbor or friend to check in
Kenneling your dog is always a safe option and provides peace of mind that your dog is safe while you’re away. However, many people work long hours, and putting the dog in the kennel may not be a suitable option.
“If you have a dog that will free roam the house, talk to a neighbor or friend about coming over to check on your dog. In the Austin, TX area, there always seems to be a new app or group you can find willing to let your dog out or check in on them if you don’t have a friend or neighbor,” suggests Precision K9 Work.
2. Remove choking hazards and toxic substances
“Ensure your dog’s safety while you’re away by creating a pet-friendly space free from hazards. Be sure to remove potential choking hazards and secure toxic substances out of reach,” notes Puptown Houston.
It’s crucial to remove choking hazards to prevent accidental ingestion, as dogs, especially puppies, are prone to exploring objects with their mouths. Additionally, eliminating toxic substances is vital to safeguard your dog’s health.
3. Kennel train your pup
Kennel training is important for providing a safe and secure space for your pup, especially when they are unsupervised. It also helps in establishing a routine and aids in housebreaking, as dogs instinctively avoid soiling their own living area.
Pawfect Pet Sitter shares, “Be sure to kennel train your pup from a young age to provide a safe space and prevent accidents when you’re away. Consider hiring a professional dog walker for longer absences to meet their needs and potentially reduce stress. With crate training and hiring a dog walker, you can feel confident your fur baby is happy, healthy, and safe whether you are home or not.”
Piper Hill, CEO & founder Healing4Heroes adds, “A dog’s crate is like their apartment. It’s their space. It’s a place for them to go to decompress from us. The crate also keeps them safe from dangers in the home or apartment while you’re away, for example, chewing on electrical chords, furniture, and plastics. Leave them with their favorite blanket if they aren’t a chewer, a nylabone, or a bond.”
Lastly, PetU notes, “After slowly introducing your pup to the crate and leaving them in it for increasing periods of time, giving them a den-like space (the same way humans have their own bedrooms) to retreat to whenever needed where they can feel safe and relaxed while their human is away. It also helps pups who would otherwise get into mischief while left home alone to have a space with only pet-safe items to interact with.”
The important thing when leaving items with your dog is to know your dog. The best thing is to come home to a happy, healthy, excited ball of fur waiting to love and kiss all over you.
4. Leave music on for your dog
Leaving music on for your dog can provide a soothing and comforting environment, helping alleviate anxiety or loneliness when they’re home alone. The calming tunes can also distract, reducing the likelihood of boredom-related destructive behavior and promoting a more relaxed state of mind for your furry companion.
“Leaving music on for your pets when they are alone can help with boredom, enrichment, separation anxiety, and noise sensitivity with the power of music,” says The Savvy Sitter. “Long periods of silence may cause your pet to become sensitive to noise. Even small sounds can become sudden and unexpected sounds to them. And those noises may often cause your pet to be fearful of similar sounds, such as fireworks and thunder. Besides toys and treats, the best aid is a calming sound or white noise.”
5. Don’t leave your dog in your yard
“Heading out for the day? Do not leave your dog in your yard unsupervised. With the unpredictable weather, other animals, and hidden environmental hazards, it isn’t a safe option when you are away,” states Jaci Craft, Operations Manager of Whiskers to Tails Petsitting in Twin Cities, MN.
6. Understand where your dog is at
“To keep your dog safe when you are not home depends on your dog. If you have an older dog who is acquainted with your home, leaving him or her loose to roam and relax wherever they like might be fine. If you have a dog who is new to you and your home, you will want to manage their space; it will be a good idea to create a safe place where there is nothing your dog can chew up or swallow, and if he or she soils in the area it will not ruin any rugs or furniture,” regards Pawsibilities Training & Behavior.
By ensuring your dog does not have access to chew furniture or soil in the wrong place, you are setting him or her up for success, and you will be less frustrated, too.
7. Provide interactive puzzle toys
Interactive puzzle toys engage your dog’s mental and physical faculties, preventing boredom and stimulating their cognitive abilities.
“Just like physical exercise, mental exercise is important for keeping your dog happy,” states Happy Dog Baltimore. “That’s why we recommend interactive puzzle toys, which are great for keeping your dog mentally stimulated, busting boredom, and can even help keep them calm when alone. Encouraging your dog to tap into their natural curiosity and drive to sniff, dig, chew, and forage is a great way to give them a brain workout. Plus, it gives them a healthy outlet to do activities that can lead to unwanted behavior.”
8. Utilize baby and dog fences
Using dog or baby gates helps create designated, secure areas for your dogs, preventing them from accessing potentially hazardous areas or rooms with restricted access.
“Keeping your dogs safe at home while you leave the house can sometimes be nerve-wracking and difficult, but we use a few tactics that seem to help best. Using baby/dog fences that act as a barrier and can give them more freedom than a crate, but also confined to one place that helps keep them safe,” states ScooperDude.
9. Consider hiring a dog-walking company
This Lil’ Dog of Mine suggests, “If your dog is particularly active, consider hiring a dog walking company to provide them with extra exercise during the day.”
Hiring a dog walker provides exercise and mental stimulation for your pup, ensuring they stay physically and mentally healthy even when you’re not around.