As much as we hate it, we have to leave our pets home alone while we go to work. If you’re anything like me, you feel guilty that you have to leave your dog for hours. So what can you do to keep your pet occupied during the day? Here are a few suggestions that I’ve found helpful.
First, daycare. Yup, just like children, pets can go to daycare. And yes, they can get expensive, but many places offer package options and/or incentives for referring friends. My dog goes to daycare a few times a week. This way, my wallet isn’t sucked dry and my dog is getting good socialization as well as constant supervision, and constant access to water and grass. Here are a few places that I was able to find through a simple google search. I do recommend checking out the facility before signing your pet up to ensure the daycare is up to your standards. Some places are 100% concrete and others keep dogs separated all day. Each dog is different so it’s important to find a place that will fit your budget and your dog’s personality.
Similarly, hiring a dog walker can be a great benefit for dogs who may not socialize well or maybe don’t have high activity level. By hiring a dog walker you can get a more personalized schedule, as well as love and attention that is 100% directed to your dog. Local dog walkers can be found via a internet search, this does require a little more work on your part, but I also recommend using Care.com. Care.com allows you to search through dog walkers in your area and see their resumes, pay requirements and personal schedule.
Note: It also never hurts to get to know the local kids in your community, kids tend to get out of school before the work day ends and you don’t have to pay as much as professional! (speaking as a former after school dog walker).
And finally, a mind stimulating toy or puzzle can keep your dog busy and wear them out! Toys such as a frozen peanut butter filled kong, treat filled puzzle games or even a new toy. A kong can keep my dog busy for an hour or more. I give one to my pup if it’s a rainy day or if I know I won’t make it home for lunch. Once he gets a sniff of the peanut butter, he immediately forgets I’m leaving the house. I recommend buying two kongs, that way one is always in the freezer ready to go. Puzzles also give dogs a good break from the mundane. Figuring out how to move the pieces around in order to get a treat will keep a dog mentally stimulated and out of your hair. You can pick up puzzles from your local pet store like Petco. Another simple idea is to keep a “rainy day toy,” I keep a new toy hidden away for a day where I’m busy or the weather isn’t cooperating. Just breaking out a brand new ball or rope is so exciting for my dog, I can leave him running laps around the house in excitement.
Note: Puzzles and kongs are not recommended for all dogs. If your dog likes to destroy and swallow pieces of toys, it is not recommended to leave your dog unattended with toys or bones.