Tips to a happy hound when left home alone

Veterinarian Dr Kate Gittings with a happy pooch.

Imagine waving goodbye to your family each morning and spending the entire day with no treats and no entertainment until their return. That’s the reality for many of our four-legged family members. So what can we do to enrich their days home alone?

It is very important not to make a big deal of departures (or arrivals). This anticipation can create great anxiety for pets, something vets treat often. However, if we make it a non-event, then our pet also will also see it this way. When leaving, say your goodbyes well before you go, provide entertainment as you leave, helping to create a positive start to their time alone.

PROVIDE adequate shelter from the elements. The shelter has to be something your dog will use. Simply adding a kennel to the backyard does not always suffice, it needs to be an inviting and comfortable place for your dog to use it and enjoy it.

TREATS are a fun time occupier, but be conscious of their calorie content and ease of attainment. Treat balls, peanut butter filled kongs or scattering some dry kibble around, are just a few easy ideas.

A GOOD box of toys rotated daily, rather than leaving them all out in the yard, makes every day feel like a new toy day.

WHAT can your dog see? It is not always possible to alter this, but if you are having a problem this may be worth considering. Some dogs prefer to see what’s going on and not just hear it, whilst others are better not having a street view at all.

FRESH water is a necessity, make sure it’s clean and not easily spilt.

DOG walkers are a great boredom buster during the day. Especially with these winter nights, you may not have the time for a good walk when you get home, at least you know your dog hasn’t missed out.

UPON arrival home take five minutes before any big greetings, regardless of how happy you both are to see each other after a long day. Therefore your return does not symbolise the end of their alone time, and leave them awaiting this all day.

Applying these simple techniques will help with your dog’s days home alone, but still there is nothing like the company of family. If you want to find out how they cope while you’re away, why not check in with your neighbour, this way if there is a problem you can address it swiftly.

For any further information please contact Torquay and Surfcoast Veterinary Clinics on 5261 4137.