Leaving your dog at home
Updated: Oct 30
If you have a dog, you know that they are a real part of your family. The bond you can share with man’s best friend is one that’s hard to duplicate, even with the closest human members of your family. And while pet owners are always encouraged to include their dogs in family activities, sometimes it’s impossible or simply not in their best interests to be with you at all times. This can lead to some serious guilt when you need to work or have other commitments that require you to be away from your canine companion, even for just an afternoon, but we’re here to tell you that that guilt, although completely natural, isn’t necessary.
If you need to leave your dog home alone, there are a few things to consider:
How often does your dog need to go outside to use the bathroom? This answer is entirely dependent on your dog, as breed, size, age, hydration, even personality all take an important role, so keep a close eye on timings leading up to having to leave your furry friend at home to learn your fur baby’s particular needs. Meeting your dog’s physical needs are an important part of successfully leaving your dog alone.
How much interaction does your dog need? This boils down to their routine as well as their personality. Is your dog active and could play fetch for hours on end or do they prefer to snuggle on the couch? Are they content to play by themselves? Do they prefer to be with you? Are there other dogs in the house for them to play with while you’re away? Every dog’s emotional needs are different, so make sure you know what they are so they can be met even if you need to be away.
What space(s) can you offer your dog? How much indoor and outdoor space will they be free to move around in while you’re away? Do they meet your dog’s physical and emotional needs?
When preparing your home and your dog to be left alone, you may want to consider leaving the radio or TV on, offering additional toys to keep them entertained and stimulated, or crate training them. Intense physical exercise immediately before being left alone may also be beneficial, as is extra attention before you leave. There is a lot of trial and error involved in all these aspects to leaving your dog home alone, and trying them all out as you gradually build up the length of time left alone can be a slow process, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get everything just right for you and your dog!
If, after considering their needs, you don’t think that your dog will be safe, comfortable, or happy at home themselves or you have attempted to leave them home and they are showing signs of separation anxiety, there are some great win-win alternatives:
Hire a dog walker to pop in mid-way through your time away for a quick cuddle and trip outside. For those that need to leave their dog at home on a regular basis, usually because of work, having that extra attention even once or twice a week can make a big difference in the wellbeing and happiness of your dog.
Organize a doggy sitter circle. Arrange with friends or neighbors that also leave their dogs at home to alternate responsibilities of taking care of all of them once or twice a week, in rotation. Just make sure you have the capacity and ability to handle a large group of dogs at once –and keep in mind that they will all usually have energy to spare!
Send your fur baby to doggy day care. Afternoon –even overnight, trips to a dedicated doggy day care centre can be yours and your dog’s best friend, as there will always be trained and responsible carers on hand to make sure they get the best care and attention while you’re away. For those who haven’t had the time to properly prepare your dog (or yourself!) to be alone or dogs that require extra attention or socialization, an afternoon at daycare is a great option. Even dogs that do great at home themselves on a regular basis can have a happier, healthier life with a day or two of doggy daycare every week where they can run freely, get extra exercise and attention, and socialize with other dogs in a safe and secure environment.
If you’re considering doggy day care on either a short or long-term basis, a great one to look into is Paws Doggy Daycare in Estepona (Marbella). Once interviewed and accepted, at Paws, your dog will form a part of our Paws Pack and will have free rein of our 3500 square meter, fully fenced orchard and hard surface areas, full-sized swimming pool (plus paddling pools), and indoor and outdoor rest areas where they can play and nap with their doggy friends at their leisure, all with constant supervision, attention, and love from our carer and dog lover, Dan. Overnight stays are available, too, and your dog will love our purpose-built doggy hotel, right in Dan’s own home. We can even offer pick up and drop off services, too, so you can rest assured that your fur baby will be safe, secure, and happy at all times while they are away from you. We will always treat your dog with the same love, care, and attention that you would at home because we believe that a happy dog means a happy life.
Call us or visit us online or on social media to find out more about what we offer or to arrange a visit to our centre.