6 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy When He's Home Alone
by Dakota Storage Buildings, on June 24, 2021
If your dog is home alone all day, here are six ways to keep your dog happy and your mind at ease.
We know you love your dog and that it feels terrible when you have to leave him alone all day, whether you're going to work or taking a day trip. It also may leave you feeling anxious if you're concerned that your dog may wreak havoc on your house while you're gone, whether out of boredom or separation anxiety. And if you're going to be gone more than ten hours, you’ll be pushing the limits of your dog's bladder.
If you have to leave Fido behind for a long stretch of time, you'll want to have a few tricks up your sleeve for keeping him happy and out of trouble, giving you peace of mind. Here are a few ideas.
1. Tire him out.
Before you leave your dog home alone for a long period of time, give him undivided attention, and, if possible, go for a walk or allow him to have sufficient time in the backyard to run and play. When he’s able to expend energy before you leave, he’ll likely calm down and rest for a while before building up more energy to exhaust.
Because energy levels vary by dog breed, it could be helpful to learn more about your dog’s nature and adapt his exercise routine accordingly.
2. Stimulate his brain.
Interactive puzzle games, peanut butter stuffed Kongs, and other dog chew toys will help your dog stay stimulated and engaged in something positive rather than in search of other entertainment. It’s worth experimenting with different toys to see what your dog likes best. Be sure to keep toys in rotation so that he doesn’t get bored with the same ones.
While you’re at it, turn on the radio. Instead of leaving him in complete silence, music can help dissipate the quiet and trick his brain into thinking that he’s not alone.
3. Check on him using a monitor.
There are a variety of dog cameras and monitors to keep an eye on your pet while you’re away. Options range from simple and straightforward to high-tech and sophisticated. Some trendy monitors even allow you to talk to your dog and dispense treats.
There are benefits to monitoring your dog, including periodically checking in to see how he’s doing, and if there’s a problem, you can enlist an emergency contact to help.
4. Use a calming diffuser or spray.
Formerly called DAP for "dog appeasing pheromone," Adaptil is a non-toxic synthetic dog pheromone designed to calm dogs by providing a strong signal of security and comfort. You can use the Adaptil spray on furniture, rugs, dog beds, or on your pet’s neck bandana. Or turn on an out-of-reach diffuser in the rooms where your dog spends most of his time.
If you have essential oils on hand, they can work, too. 100% natural essential oils from lavender, chamomile, marjoram, and geranium can also have calming effects on dogs. However, some oils like cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, and tea tree can be toxic. Be sure to research which are good for your dog before use.
5. Install a dog door.
If you have a smaller dog and a fenced yard, adding a dog door to your back door will give your dog access to the outside when nature calls. The critical piece of the puzzle here is making sure your fence is completely secure with no gaps or holes. This may not be an ideal solution for dogs that are prone to dig under fences or climb over them — especially if they see a squirrel. But for dogs that know their limits and aren’t easily distracted by backyard critters, this could be a great idea to try.
6. Invest in an outdoor dog kennel.
If the weather report is favorable, it would be in your dog’s best interest to spend the day outside while you’re away. An outdoor dog kennel would be the perfect solution. The right kennel would provide security, an indoor space for protection from a stray shower or direct sunlight on a scorching hot day, and a gated outdoor area for fresh air and bathroom breaks.
It's no secret that some dogs, especially younger ones, can act like toddlers, and if you don't give them a constructive focus, they'll find ways to entertain themselves, such as pulling all of the stuffing out of each cushion on your couch or enjoying snacking on some of your shoes.
You can make sure your dog is happy by giving him things to do, keeping an eye on him, using aromatherapy, installing a dog door, or letting him enjoy the outside while secure in a kennel during longer days.
It's time for you to regain confidence and peace of mind knowing that your dog is happy and out of trouble, even when you're gone all day and he's home alone.