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Headed back to the office? Help your dog re-adjust to you being gone all day

Alas, the work-from-home era is slowly coming to a close for many. It was nice while it lasted — especially for the pets — but heading back to the office doesn’t have to be a drag. While an extra cup of your favorite coffee might be enough to give your work hours the boost they need, you’ll want to plan ahead to make your dog’s day enjoyable too.

Whether you opt for some enrichment activities or even a whole day at a doggy daycare for your pup, knowing what to do with your dog while you’re at work is key to happiness for both you and your dog. Of course, every adjustment period will have its challenges, so don’t panic if your first week back doesn’t go as smoothly as possible. Give it some time, and don’t forget some extra TLC at the end of the day.

Can a dog be left alone for eight hours?

While every dog has their differences, from levels of separation anxiety to how long they can wait to relieve themselves, Dr. Vint Virga recommends leaving your pet alone for no more than six to eight hours. This gives your pup enough opportunities to stretch, move, and use the bathroom, but it also ensures that they’re getting enough social time. Dogs are pack animals, after all.

Is it okay to have a dog if you work full time?

Owning a dog and having a full-time job can be very tricky, but it’s not impossible. If you plan ahead and take the proper steps to ensure your pup has all the enrichment and socialization needed, your pet can lead a long, happy life despite being away from you during work hours.

Remember, not every dog will do well being alone during the workday. If your pup struggles with separation anxiety, health concerns, or even challenges with potty training, you may want to consider an alternative to lengthy alone time.

A large dog offers a paw to a woman handing him a treat
Jaromir Chalabala/Shutterstock

What to do with your dog while you’re at work

If you decide you want (or need) to try leaving your buddy at home for the day, there are several things you can do to make the experience more comfortable for everyone.

Doggie daycare

There are many kinds of doggie daycares to choose from, such as kennel-type spaces to open playrooms where pups roam free. Only you know what works best for your dog, but never underestimate the importance of research before making your choice. Make sure you feel comfortable with the staff and facility before entrusting them with your precious pup!

Dog walkers and sitters

If your dog could use the company but prefers their own home — or perhaps would rather not visit with other pups — a dog walker or pet sitter could be exactly what you need. Their services and costs vary, of course, so you’ll need to do thorough research before making a selection. Read up on finding the perfect dog walker right here on PawTracks if you don’t know where to start.

Doggie doors

If you have a properly secured fenced area for your dog to play, relax, and relieve themselves, a doggie door might be all you need. There are temporary fixtures you can install into any doorframe, or you can modify your current door to fit your beloved pup.

It’s important to note that this is not a safe option for known escape artists. Whether your dog jumps, digs, or just busts a route out of the yard, never open up the possibility for a breakout when you’re not home to do something about it.

Get your dog a dog

If you have the space, resources, and patience, adding a second dog to your pack could help both pups feel less alone. This way, they’ll always have a playmate or cuddle buddy when you’re busy with work. Just don’t forget to take care of all their other needs when you get home!

Of course, there’s no guarantee two dogs will be the best of friends, so make sure not to leave them alone and unsupervised until after an adjustment period.

Enrich your dog’s environment

Little things like toys and treats can go a long way in keeping your dog engaged and happy while you’re out. Kong chew toys are a very popular option, though dogs who like to work may also enjoy treat-filled puzzles. Creature comforts are also a great choice. If your dog has a safe spot like a crate, a fuzzy blanket, or a favorite toy, make sure they’re accessible during your work hours.

Now that you know what to do with your dog while you’re at work, you can get started researching the options that stand out to you. When the time comes, though, there’s only one way to find out what will work. Just be patient!

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Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
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