When It's Best to Leave Your Dog or Puppy at Home
Adopting a puppy can be a joyful experience for first-time dog owners. Pet parents may spend weeks helping their new furbabies adjust to their forever homes. Many owners provide basic training for their dogs. They teach them how to potty, walk on a leash, and follow basic obedience commands. Although these lessons are essential, pet parents may overlook one critical training: teaching their puppies to stay at home, alone.
Dogs are social, pack animals. They can become stressed or develop separation anxiety when left by themselves. Some owners want to take their puppies everywhere, but this isn't always practical or safe.
Most American establishments aren't dog-friendly. Restaurants, workplaces, and stores may not allow pets inside. Additionally, it's dangerous and irresponsible for owners to leave their pets inside of a hot automobile where temperatures can soar above 100 degrees.
In this post, owners will learn how to keep their new dog or puppy safely at home. We'll help your pet make a safe, enjoyable adjustment to their new home.
Why Pet Owners Should Leave Fido at Home
Pets are usually safer at home. Many owners have thoroughly checked their home for any dangers or hidden hazards that can harm or injure their furbabies.
There are fewer safety checks in places outside of the home, especially locations that aren't dog-friendly. Your pet can easily chew or eat an item that endangers their lives. Here are five reasons pet owners should consider leaving their dogs at home.
- Fearful People - Let's face it: some people don't like dogs as much as their owners. A few may be allergic to certain breeds. Others are afraid to interact with dogs, even if they're friendly. Pet owners should respect others and ask if you can bring your dog to social outings.
- Car Accidents - Nearly 1.2 million people die in car crashes according to the Association for Safe International Travel. Almost 20 - 50 million people suffer injury or disabilities in these violent crashes. Automobiles can also place canine companion in danger. If you get into a car accident, your pet can be injured or killed by the impact. Additionally, airbags can deploy injuring or killing pets sitting in passenger seats.
LEARN MORE: Traveling with your pet internationally, we can help.
- Restaurants - The United States has an increasing number of cafes that are dog-friendly. Even so, it's not always best to bring your furry friend to an eatery. Some pets become stressed out when exposed to new environments and strange people. They can disrupt a tranquil atmosphere by barking loudly. Additionally, restaurants may not welcome larger dogs, like boxers, on their grounds. Usually, pet-friendly eateries allow only small, socialized dogs that are well-behaved.
- Traveling to Vacation Destinations - More hoteliers are allowing dogs to stay on their premises. But problems can even occur at dog-friendly establishments. It only takes a second for an owner to lose control of their beloved companion. Some dogs may run away; others can get hurt. Dog owners identify emergency veterinary centers and clinics close to their vacation destination. They should also ensure that their pets are wearing ID tags. Unfortunately, even when people are cautious, their four-legged friend may not be recovered or saved.
- Unforeseen Mishaps - Most pet owners want to keep their pets safe from harm. Sadly, even those with the best intentions can make mistakes. Some owners may become flustered and leave their pet inside of a hot vehicle. Pets can also die from heat stroke if you leave inside a hot car with windows rolled up. Others can eat plants and objects that smell intoxicating but are poisonous. These items can easily kill a dog.
How Long Can Dogs and Puppies Stay Alone?
Every dog's unique personalities will determine how they behave when they're left at home alone. Most socialized pets are fine spending a few hours by themselves. Anxious pets may suffer from separation anxiety when their pet parents leave them. They may whine, whelp, or scratch on items after their owners departs.
Your dog's age also indicates how long your canine companion can stay by themselves. Like babies, younger puppies can only be left alone for a few hours (preferably with their mothers). As they age, puppies learn how to take care of themselves when owners go away. After training, most adult dogs can stay for five hours by themselves.
Another issue involves a dog's ability to hold its waste. Depending on their health, some pets have weaker bladders than others. Others may need to vacate their colons or bladders more than others. Animals who can't hold it may have issues with crating. Indoor pets may need puppy or grass pads.
Owners should return home during their lunch hours to let their dogs use the bathroom. If you can't leave work, you should consider hiring a pet sitter. You can also ask a friend or neighbor to drop by your home to play with your puppy. The interaction will help socialize them and provide them with a potty break.
Three Stay-at-Home Options for Pets
Pet owners should develop a plan that will help their dogs remain safely at home. First, identify locations within the home for their pet to stay. If your dog is destructive, you may want to keep them in an indoor crate or outside in the backyard. You should also base your decision on your area's climate and known predators. There are three stay-at-home options pet owners can select from. They include:
Option One: Allow indoor dogs to roam freely inside the house. -Owners can allow their pets to stay indoors. This location can protect your dog from inclement weather, environmental elements, and dangerous predators. Your pet will also be less likely to run away.
Option one comes with several drawbacks. Stay-at-home dogs with free reign can have accidents. They can urinate on carpeting. Other pets can destroy furniture, bedding, or electronic equipment. You can confine your dog to a single room while you're away. Additionally, you can train dogs to use the toilet on puppy pads. Visit this South Boston Animal Hospital's Potty Training Guide for tips.
Option Two: Place a stay-at-home dog inside of a crate. Carriers can be comforting for furbabies since they mimic den areas. These tranquil can also calm your pet's nerves. Crating your pet will also protect your home from accidents, damage, and mishaps since they confine your pet to a specific area.
Pet owners should help their canine companions adjust to their crates first. Refer to South Boston Animal Hospital's Crate Training Guide. Always make their crate a happy, peaceful place. Place enough food and water inside, and don't forget to put old blankets with your scent and their favorite toys inside. For crating to be successful, an owner should also know how long their dog can hold its bladder, to avoid any potential accidents.
Option Three: Allow dogs to roam outside in a gated backyard. This selection allows pets to explore their environments while their parents are away. Unfortunately, it comes with risks. An outdoor area can expose your pet to ticks, fleas, and other pests. Owners should place collars on their dogs to keep them safe.
Training Your Pet to Be Alone
After you have identified an area to keep your pet, you'll need to train them to stay alone by themselves. The best way to accomplish this goal is to leave them at home for short periods, then gradually extending the length of time.
For example, a pet parent can place their puppy within a room. The person can give their pet a treat before shutting the door and leaving them. Don't return if the puppy complains (barks, howls, or whines). Wait until they quiet down, before returning. Pet owners should also observe the potty habits of their pets. They should determine how long they can stay by themselves before going outdoors.
Always provide your pet with a comfortable dog bed (or crate), food, and water. Only leave chew toys that are pet-tested and won't tear, break apart, or be ingested.
Exercise Pets to Keep the Calm During At-Home Stays
Dogs need to spend regular time on physical activity to burn excess energy. Exercise will burn off anxiety and keep them calm at home. Pet owners should take them for a walk around the neighborhood or allow them to run inside a dog park. Can't make it home during the day? Consider hiring a pet sitter to feed, exercise them, and take them outdoors during the day.
READ MORE: 8 Ways to Exercise Your Dog Your Dog
Keep an Eye On Your Pet Using a Doggy Cam
Pet owners should consider investing in a pet camera. The technology comes with an app which allows pet owners to see their dogs during the day. Some cameras have two-way audio and video. They can also come with games that can entertain four-legged companions while their parents are at work.
Visit South Boston Animal Hospital
Before leaving your pet at home alone, you should order an annual wellness check for your dog. A South Boston Animal Hospital veterinarian will screen your pet for any necessary health and behavioral issues. We'll also administer any necessary vaccinations to keep your pet healthy and strong. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.
About Dr. Natalie Waggener
Dr. Natalie Waggener has 17 years of experience in emergency work and general practice in Rhode Island, Florida and Massachusetts. She has a special interest in dentistry, wellness care and rehabilitation therapy. She is currently licensed in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island.