What to Do with Your Dog While You're at Work

What U.S. state do you think is home to the highest percentage of dog owners? According to data provided by the American Veterinary Medical Association, residents of Arkansas are the most likely to have a canine companion. Some 47.9% of households there have a dog. 

In contrast, the good people of Washington D.C. are the least likely to come home to a furry friend. A mere 13.1% of folks who live in the District of Columbia share their home with a pupper. Maybe it's all those long hours worked by politicians, lobbyists, and other governmental movers and shakers.

If you are considering adopting a puppy or an older dog, you may be wondering what to do with your dog while at work. It's an important question. The well-being of your dog -- and the condition of your house or apartment -- may hang in the balance!

Take Your Woofer to Work

Although the number of workplaces that are dog-friendly has increased in recent years, being able to bring your dog with you for the workday is still relatively rare. Fewer than 10% of offices allow animals to join their owners.

If you are lucky enough to be employed by one of these companies, you're all set. The question of what to do with your dog during the day is a moot one. The rest of us have some decisions to make.

Leave the Poor Pupper Behind

This isn't the ideal situation, but for many American dogs, it's the reality. Some owners choose to put their pup in a crate while they are away, while others give their dogs free rein of the house or the backyard.

Is this fair to the dog? Should you even have a dog at all if you're going to leave her alone for 40 or more hours each week? That depends on who you ask but also on the dog in question.

Some dogs are more independent than others and can entertain themselves during your absence. Others suffer from separation anxiety and may resort to destructive behaviors when they are left to fend for themselves.

Experts recommend leaving your dog with some stimulating activities. A Kong or puzzle toy that dispenses treats can keep your dog entertained for a while. Leave one of your old t-shirts or hoodies with Rover, so he can be comforted by your scent.

And it's always a good idea to reward your canine companion with plenty of QT in the evenings and on the weekends.

What to Do with Your Dog While at Work? Doggy Day Care Is One Option

Many dogs absolutely love going to daycare. There, they can play with friends of all sizes and shapes. Doggy daycares generally provide plenty of outdoor and indoor spaces where a pooch can run and romp to their heart's content.  

Before you book your furry friend into a daycare, do some research to make sure it will be a good fit for all of you. Some facilities cater to certain sizes of dogs, to prevent conflict or simply to provide better care.

Make sure that the daycare you choose has supervisory humans on hand to monitor dog interactions and play peacemaker if necessary. 

Check on the type of food they serve and what mealtimes entail. It's also important that the facility offers a quiet space for each dog to retreat, regroup, and catch her breath in between play sessions.

A Dog Walker

Bring the supervision to your dog by hiring someone to stop in and take care of him during the period when you will be away. There are a couple of options for pet care that don't involve taking your dog to a daycare or kennel facility. 

One is to hire a dog walker. In some cases, the dog walker will have several clients, and will merely take your pup around the block so that he can do his business.

Others actually take their canine clients to the dog park and let them have some playtime. Which one you choose depends on your needs, your dog's activity and independence level, and your budget.

How About a Pet Sitter?

Other pet sitters will come to your home and spend time with your animals. These folks may include some extra services, too.

In addition to making sure your dog goes outside, has food and water, and gets some ear scratches, they may perform such duties as tending to or playing with other animals (like cats), watering the plants, and bringing in your mail.

While most people think of pet sitting as something you arrange for while you're on vacation, there's no reason you can't hire a workday pet sitter.

There are plenty of benefits to this arrangement. Your home looks "lived in," which can deter burglars. You can also trust that your dog isn't just being yanked around the block at the end of a leash along with 12 other mutts.

And perhaps most importantly, your pets get a visit from a friend whose main purpose is to play with them, cuddle with them, and shower them with attention.

Having an established pet sitter also makes sense if you do occasionally have to work late or travel.

Instead of sending your dog to a cold, lonely kennel or having to introduce them to a stranger, you already have someone with whom your dog is familiar. You get peace of mind, and they get another human who loves them. Win-win!

A Combination of Approaches

Of course, many pet owners use a combination of all of these approaches to dog ownership and work responsibilities. You might sometimes leave Molly all on her own with some fun toys to play with, take her to daycare once or twice a week, and hire a pet sitter to come on the other days. 

As a dog owner, you will come up with your own answer for what to do with your dog while at work. If you are interested in learning more about pet sitting services and their benefits, give us a call!

Cathy Davis