Here at K9active we are very lucky to be able to bring our canine companions into work with us during the day. However in their 2015 PDSA Animal Welfare (PAW) report the PDSA discovered that some 2.3 million dogs are left alone for 5 or more hours on a weekday, that’s 25% of UK dogs. Further to that they discovered that 28% of the dog owners who responded to the survey thought it was acceptable to leave a dog home alone for 6 to 10 hours a day. So what are the alternatives to leaving your dog at home while you are at work or away from home during the day?
Doggy Day care
In many areas of the country you will find a selection of doggy day care facilities where you can drop your dog off in the morning as you leave for the day then collect again when you return. Think of doggy day care as a crèche for your dog!
Doggy day care centres should have separate areas for dogs to relax, play and eat with some offering your dog the opportunity to socialise with other dogs if appropriate.
Day boarding is a service offered by many boarding kennels with some offering special rates especially out of holiday season. As a day boarder your dog should receive regular walks, free running, one-to-one contact and have all their dietary needs met but you need to consider if your dog is going to be happy to be in a kennel environment. Some dogs can find kennels very stressful especially at busy times of year.
With both day care centres and boarding kennels it is advisable to visit any establishment you are considering using at various points of the day, ideally without an appointment, so you can see how well the dogs are supervised and if they seem contented to be there. You should also be prepared to give evidence of your dog’s vaccination status if you are using and your dog may have to have a behavioural assessment before attending.
Friends and Family
Do you have a trusted family member who would be happy to have your dog to stay while you are at work or out for the day? I know several family dogs who love going to stay with “Gran” while their owners are otherwise engaged. If you work part-time you may be able to come to an arrangement with a friend who works opposite days to have each other’s dogs to visit while each other is at work. There are even some online services who can match your dog with a suitable person in your area who would be willing to look after your dog while you have to be away.
Take your dog to work
Some workplaces are open to the suggestion of a well behaved dog joining the team at work and if this is something that is open to you always put the needs of your dog first. Ask yourself if they would be happy settling all day while you go about your role, it may be that your dog would prefer to be elsewhere doing dog things rather having to lying under a desk all day. I do appreciate that I am in a very fortunate position to be able to bring my dogs into our workplace and that not all work environments would be so welcoming or suitable for a dog to join the team on a regular basis.
Whatever you decide is best for your dog while you are at work remember that dogs are social animals who create strong bonds with their family and those they consider to be in their social group. While some dogs learn to cope when left for an extended period others will become bored, insecure and anxious which can lead to behavioural issues, even if there is another dog or animal present.
That all said for most people it is necessary to occasionally leave their dog at home for a period and it is something I would recommend you train your puppy or dog to be comfortable with from an early age. In an ideal world you should aim to leave your dog no longer than a few hours at a time and always make sure they have plenty of fresh drinking water along with suitable chews and toys to occupy them while you are gone.
You can read the whole report here: