Written by guest contributor: Meg Marrs
For dog owners, there’s one thing you can count on—the worst part of the day is telling your pooch good bye until you get home. Walking out the door with those puppy dog eyes watching you is no fun—it’s pretty much a real life example of a frowning emoji.
It’s not easy on your dog either—separation anxiety is a major cause of bad behavioral habits in dogs, and many of us can agree that the biggest messes tend to occur while we’re away.
Luckily, there are a number of tips and tricks to keep your hound happy when he’s home alone—combat boredom and loneliness with these surefire remedies to make the workday go a bit smoother for both you and your pet!
1. Engage Your Dog With Puzzle Toys
Long hours alone can get boring for your pet, and the lack of mental stimulation can cause them to get into trouble. Avoid this problem by providing your pooch with a few innovative interactive doggie puzzle toys to keep that canine mind active while you’re out.
There are endless varieties and options for you to pick from when it comes to puzzle toys, but generally these games keep your pet interested by rewarding smarts with snacks.
When it comes to puzzle toys, it’s all about finding the right difficulty match for your pooch—from the simple Classic Kong and snuffle mats to more advanced options, pick a puzzle toy that will match your pup’s interests and abilities. A brainiac pup might make quick work of an easier level puzzle toy, while a dog struggling with a puzzle that’s too advanced may get frustrated with the lack of success.
2. Play with your Dog, Even While You’re Remote
If you want to keep a watchful eye on your pup all day, you’re in luck—there are a number of treat dispensing dog cameras that help you stay connected with your pooch, and even interact with him, while you’re away.
The Furbo Dog Camera, for instance, has a wide-angle lens and night vision, as well as two-way communications so you can carry on a conversation with your pet at any time during the day. There’s even a bark alert that sends a message to your phone when your pup is barking up a storm, so you can log onto the camera and see what’s up. You can also dispense treats at will, so your pooch will feel the love all day!
Furbo and similar products not only help your dog stay connected and engaged, it also gives you the peace of mind in having eyes on your dog throughout the day.
3. Get Your Dog Out For Walks
It goes without saying that walking your dog is the easiest way to burn off excess energy, keep your dog at a healthy weight, and give him or her the opportunities to sniff and explore that he so desperately needs—you get the same benefits as well, sans the sniffing.
However, from time to time, your long working hours might prevent you from helping your canine get adequate exercise. On those occasions, you might consider a dog walking service like Wag to keep your pup fit. Wag can connect you to qualified dog walkers in your neighborhood who are willing and able to help pick up the slack when you can’t get away.
Think of it as Uber for your dog—you can read reviews and ratings before selecting the dog walker that will be best pick for your pet!
A midday walk will help break up the long hours of absence and help your pup’s energy level be more manageable when you finally get home.
4. Enroll Your Pup in Doggie Daycare
If you’re regularly away at work for long hours, enrolling your fur baby in doggie daycare a couple days a week is a solid option to prevent your canine from getting lonely.
It’s not for everyone, but doggie daycare can be a great idea for more social pooches. For anti-social pups who don’t get along with other dogs, this is probably one option you’ll want to skip. However, if you have a pooch about town who likes making new friends, then doggie daycare might be a good fit for Fido.
Drop off and pick up is usually painless, and you can rest assured that throughout the day your pup’s needs and wants will be taken care of. It’s important to do your research and read reviews before you decide on a doggie daycare facility—visit a couple to make the right match for your pup. Some doggie daycares also offer bonuses like forest hikes, puppy socialization, etc.
5. Frozen Kongs For The Win
Kongs for dogs are like iPads for children—it’s a definite way to hold their attention for hours on end, time after time.
A frozen Kong is a perfect and super easy solution to your pet’s boredom! Fill the Kong the night before with his favorite treats— like peanut butter or applesauce—and by morning when you leave, it will be frozen solid.Your pooch can enjoy gnawing on it all day, and it will be ready to be refilled by the evening!
Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are tons of fancy stuffed Kong recipes you can experiment with to indulge your dog – yum!
6. Offer Up Some Dog-Friendly Chews
Frozen Kongs not your dog’s thing? Don’t fret, there are a host of other options to keep your chowhound chewing.
There are four main types of chews, and each have their plusses and minuses—at the end of the day, it all comes down to your pooch’s preference. From durable hard chews for heavy-duty chomping, to flexible floss chews designed to clean teeth, to bouncy chews that can double as toys, to natural (and edible!) chews, there’s an endless supply of chew toy choices for your pup.
However, with all these options, you’ll want to keep a watchful eye and inspect the chews often—sometimes, when gnawed on too much, they can become a choking hazard.
7. Give Your Dog Something to Watch on the Television
Think TV for your dog sounds crazy? Think again. No, it’s not The Simpsons, Judge Judy, or American Idol that you’ll want to leave on for your pooch—it’s DogTV, which caters specifically to canines. DogTV is a newer trend in the pet product sector, but it’s turning heads fast. The different programs are designed with specific purposes in mind, all of which are sure to hold your pup’s attention throughout the day.
Changing content will ensure that your pup doesn’t bore as the day goes on, and utilizes both sounds and sights to captivate your canine all day long!
Those are our favorite strategies when it comes to keeping your pup active and engaged when you’re away. Do you have any of your own strategies? We’d love to hear them!
About the Author: Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine, a site dedicated to helping owners take better care of their four-legged friends.