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Working like a Dog: How to Take Care of Your Pet When You Work Full-Time

More people own dogs than ever before. In fact, 38% of households have at least one furry friend living with them.

Yet, most of us have to leave our pets behind each day to go to work. Here lies the challenge of balancing your time between your dog and going to work.

Keep reading to discover our top tips on how to take care of a dog while working a full-time job. And, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, but aren’t sure yet; we’ve got advice for that too.

Should You Own a Dog?

Let’s face it, owning a dog is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. It’s not all fun and games.

The first step in caring for a pet is deciding if you should have one in the first place. There are several things to consider if you work a full-time job and you’re still in the research and thinking phase.

  1. If your job requires long hours and your schedule is unpredictable, it’ll be better for both you and the dog if you wait. However, having a significant other who’s available and willing to care for the dog too can make all the difference. Just make sure to keep up your end of the deal and not put all the responsibilities on them!
  2. Realize that after getting a dog, your time will no longer be your own. Almost your entire life will revolve around it. For example, going out with friends or doing activities that involve overnight stays need advance planning so that the dog gets taken care of while you’re away. Impromptu adventures won’t work for you.

Make sure you’re prepared to commit to these life changes before welcoming a dog into your home. If you decide that you’re not ready right now, consider another kind of pet that’s easier. Fish, birds, and even cats are less work to take care of than a dog.

Best Inside Dog Breeds

Choosing a breed that fits your lifestyle is an important step of getting a dog too. There are certain dog breeds that are better suited for living indoors than others.

These breeds are the dogs that are content at home, alone. They are better suited for being on their own.

  • Greyhounds
  • Basset Hounds
  • Shiba Inus
  • Maltese
  • Whippet
  • Shar Pei
  • Chihuahua
  • Bullmastiff
  • French Bulldog
  • Boston Terrier

Now that we’ve covered the breeds that handle alone-time well, let’s look at those who don’t.

Breeds Prone to Separation Anxiety

There are a few dog breeds that get separation anxiety more often. Avoid these kinds of dogs if you’ll need to leave them home for hours at a time.

  • Border Collies
  • Toy Poodles
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Labs
  • German Shorthair Pointers
  • German Shepherd
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Vizsla

There’s no way to know for sure if your dog of choice will get SA, a lot of it depends upon initial training and individual genetics.

How to Take Care of a Dog While Working

If you already have a dog or have made a final decision to get one, here are some tips that’ll help you care for your dog.

Bathroom Breaks

In general, a dog over six months old can wait about eight to nine hours without going outside to pee. However, the last couple of hours will get a bit uncomfortable for them.

Young puppies, on the other hand, need to go out every two to four hours. A good way to figure it out is to take the puppies age in months and add one. This is the hourly range to shoot for.

If you are able to come home during lunch break, your dog will appreciate it. You might need to call in the help of a friend or family member to help out if you have a young pup and are unable to come home for lunch. Another option is to hire a daily pet sitter to take care of it for you.

How to Make Your Dog Happy

Some people think that having a dog while working full-time isn’t fair to the dog. They feel that the attention, exercise, and outdoor trips needed throughout the day get neglected. That’s partly true.

But, remember that a dog isn’t as helpless as an infant child, as some think. They’re animals that thrived out in the wilderness before humans domesticated them. They’re resilient, not fragile.

If everyone believed that working people shouldn’t own dogs, the number of dog owners would decrease by huge numbers. Dog owners would only consist of the unemployed, retired, or those working from home.

That said, if you must leave your dog home alone, follow these tips to keep your dog happy while you’re at work:

  • Provide toys and activities that your dog can do while he’s home alone to keep him occupied. Chew toys and puzzle feeders are great options.
  • Leave music or a television on when you leave. Human voices playing in the background are comforting for dogs. Even better, play a video of you or family members on a loop.
  • Nowadays, there are even pet cameras that allow you to see and talk to your dog while you’re away. This is a fun option to include in your puppy care routine.
  • Play with, or take your dog for a walk before work. If you tire her out before you leave, she’ll welcome sleeping while you’re gone.
  • Avoid big dramatic goodbye’s when you leave. Offer the dog a treat and slip out the door. If your dog senses that leaving is a bad thing, he’s more apt to develop separation anxiety.
  • Avoid the same drama when you return home. Reward calm behavior with attention and treats.
  • Like mentioned earlier, a pet sitter or dog walker is an option too. You could make use of these services either early in the morning before you leave, or during the day while you’re gone.

A dog that gets mental and physical stimulation, attention, and good food is a happy dog.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Learning how to take care of a dog while working a full-time job is sometimes challenging. Use the helpful tips we’ve offered above to make it work. You don’t have to be perfect, loving your pet and doing your best is enough.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to learn more about caring for pets, check out our pets section. You’ll find helpful articles on all things pet-related.