Is it OK to Leave My Dog Home Alone?

It’s the most crucial question for every pet parent. Is it the last resort to leave your pet at home? How long is it going to be? Is it the first time that you are leaving the at home all by themselves? Is your house pet friendly so that you can be relaxed while your pet is home alone? Do they have access to a kitchen? Is your house organised? Let’s put a spotlight on the above questions, and end the restlessness of all the pet parents out there. It’s going to be your journal with the solutions to how can you make their home alone experience safe, healthy and hygienic.

It is one of the most sensitive topics which will limelight all the probable outcomes with their solution so that you can cope-up with this kind of situation if it ever arrives. Home alone for us is one of the most relaxing things. We can listen to loud music, eat whatever we want and wherever we want. But that’s not the case with dogs.

Dogs are the ones with intelligence, agreed, but they don’t know how to keep themselves away from the daily mishaps. They don’t know how to cook their food, stay away from sharp objects, manage to switch on the motor every evening, bring their groceries from the store or drink water from the fridge directly.

Before walking towards the tips and tricks of how you can ease their home-alone experience, we will study about their medical conditions that could worsen if dogs are left alone in a not so friendly environment or even treated in time or even alone.

Loneliness in Dogs

Dogs are the most sensitive beings, even more than humans sometimes. They are known to have experience and share emotions of the humans and become happy or sad according to their human’s mood. An article by Simon Worrall states the very possibility of the presence of Caudate Nucleus in dogs.

Even with this slight possibility of a fair share of emotion, we have to understand how sensitive they are. Leaving dogs alone at home at a stretch of more than 8-9 hours can impact your dog severely. There are chances that they can lean towards stress, and then it might not be easy for them to overcome. Studies show that dogs experience stress, and this surge of emotions can impact their mental health without a doubt.

Loneliness is the root of all the possible negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, aggression etc. Let’s cut to chase and understand more about their emotional imbalance that happens because of loneliness.

  • Separation Anxiety: This is a type of emotional misbalance that arises when dogs are left alone from their parents. They will show signs such as scratching the door, urinating carelessly even if the dog is house trained, or destructive chewing. Speak to the vet immediately and understand the root of such problems. Learn more from the experts about separation anxiety in dogs.
  • Repetitive Licking is again one of the early signs of loneliness. Try to notice the sour patches on their tongue because of their excessiveness. Sometimes it becomes difficult for them to stop.
  • Lacks playfulness: This is one of the most active signs. Notice your dog more than often and try to identify signs of their laziness to wake up? Are they lazier than before? Since how many days are you noticing this kind of response from them? If you have noticed for the first time, get them checked out from the vet.
  • Decrease in their appetite: They will often show signs that they are too full to eat even if they haven’t eaten the whole day. Don’t wait any further, and contact the vet immediately so that they can guide you with the next steps.
  • Show destructive signs: Is your pet aggressive? Are they showing signs of aggression? It is the right time to get their treatment started. Dogs experience various types of aggressions. You can learn more about it here.

Guidelines to leave your pet dog at home

It is one of the most common question asked by pet parents. Leaving a dog at home involves severe risks and challenges, they might consume anything that they aren’t supposed to eat, or they might even get close to sharp objects. However, follow the below guidelines before planning to leave your pet dog at home so that they can stay healthy all the time:

  • First and foremost is about their age. You shouldn't leave a puppy at home alone because at this lifestage their brain cells aren’t fully developed, and they won’t be able to cope with loneliness. They won’t be able to control their bladder, and they will require someone to check in on them quite frequently.
  • Adult dogs can easily stay at home if they are trained well. One of the most essentials is potty training and if they are given enough walking space, and can access their poop spot then they can be left at home.
  • While planning to keep your pets alone, you have to make sure that your house is pet-friendly. Start by removing loose products, bits and pieces, snacks or other food items within their reach. You should keep all the sharp tools away from their reachability so that they cannot harm themselves in any way.
  • Make sure that your dog is not left to starve. Always keep their food within an accessible area, and they must be trained well to understand how to find their food. While you keep their favourite food close to them, make sure to keep all the treats away because if they start eating treats, they will finish it. Always keep limited treats accessible for them.Explore and buy dog food online at Dear Pet online pet store to keep them healthy even when you are not there to supervise.
  • Start from the beginning, get them to use their crate or any spot. Give them enough alone time so that they don’t freak out when you are not at home or out for the groceries. Get them to use the television. Let them have their favourite show. Keep it recorded so that they can stay entertained all the time. There is a reason behind the way dogs react when in front of the television. Here’s an article by Liz Langleywhich will enhance your understanding.
  • Make them feel comfortable around things that they like such as plush or any toy, long-lasting chews etc. One of the key elements which you must avoid is to not make a big deal out of going away. Don’t bother them with specific commands, goodbyes, call to action behaviour such as “I will be back soon”, “Be a good boy now”, “I will miss you” etc. They are intelligent enough to make a judgement out of your reactions. It will keep them at ease all the time.
  • Leaving dogs alone isn’t anyone’s priority, it’s just about the situation, and sometimes there’s no other way. Once they are fully checked and are trained well, they can be left alone. However, you have to make sure that they are exercised well every day.
  • They can’t be left alone for a whole day, even five to six hours are a huge deal for them. Being a social animal, dogs always want some company. When you are away for work, try blend-in your lunchtime to keep a check on them and have lunch together. This short break will give them an indication that you will be around in no time. An article by Mary Kearl describes more about it in details..

If they show any kind of destructive sign or aggression then consider it in your queue to get them checked out from the vet.

Alternates to leaving dogs alone at home

  • Pet Boarding/Day Care
  • Pet Walker
  • Take your pet to work

Leaving dogs alone in a car

It is one of the related topics of leaving dogs alone, but there’s a huge difference. The lifetime risk of leaving a dog inside a car is 100 times more than leaving them at home. There are many factors which can put their life at risk and it’s all about a matter of minutes or even seconds.

A story published in Times Now signifies a survey by confused.com that says that 44 per cent of dog-owning motorists or drivers have left their dogs in the car during a hot day. Always remember that the temperature inside the car increases at a much faster rate than the temperature outside.

There are various conditions in which there’s a change in the temperature inside a car concerning certain meteorological situations. You can learn more about it in this citation.

As an animal lover, if you see any animal locked inside a car without its parent then that’s caution. Contact the animal care authority and inform them about the situation.

What can happen to dogs?

Heatstroke is one of the most common yet dangerous conditions in which a dog goes through irregular drooling, agitation, breathlessness, patches on the tongue, dizziness, seizures, sudden collapse, lethargy or weakness, and excessive panting. Check for these signs and if you feel confused about any symptom then your next stop should be a vet’s.

If the vet is far from your place then start with home remedies. If your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, then never go for a bath. It can drop their body temperature at once. Follow the below guide:

  • Put a wet towel around their neck and on the opposite side of their neck. 
  • Sprinkle cold water on their skin to soothe the excessive temperature. Do this till their panting stops.
  • Mix some regular water to the cold one and give it to them

It will help settle them down, but now is not the time to relax, get them checked by a vet.

Every breed is unique as per its different characteristics. Some have long or short hair, some can easily live in the Indian climate while others can’t etc... Therefore, it is essential to understand from the vet the best ways to keep them healthy and hopping.

From the above piece, it is clear that leaving pets at home alone shouldn’t always be the first choice, but last. However, you can follow these guidelines and make an informed decision about how better you can take care of your pets while you are at work and your pets are without any company. We all agree to this fact that animals especially dogs are social animals and they crave company even more than we do. Therefore, it becomes essential to use accurate methods to help your pet dogs live a better life.