As dog owners, it can be strange sometimes to imagine our furry friends at home by themselves. What do dogs do all day when we’re not there?
We might worry that they simply wait by the front door for us to come home. After all, that’s where they say hello and goodbye to us every day!
However, the chances are your dog is much busier than you might expect. Hopefully, they’ll be enjoying having the house to themselves (although you can bet they’ll be excited when you come home too!).
Check out this list of the top activities a dog left home alone all day will spend their time doing.
This first one probably won’t come as a surprise to you. According to this article, dogs nap for about 3 hours a day.
Almost all dogs will need more sleep than their owners, which helps to explain why they will usually catch up on sleep during the day by having several naps.
Of course, the exact amount of time spent napping will depend on your dog’s age, as well as their breed, personality, and other factors. It’s absolutely normal for dogs to sleep at some point during the day.
The only time you really need to be concerned is if their sleep routine changes without apparent cause, or if they seem to be sleeping most of the time.
Always consult a vet if you’re concerned - they might be sleeping out of boredom, or due to an undiagnosed health issue.
Your dog will also spend a lot of time awake but resting, or dozing rather than in a deep sleep. That’s why they might seem to sleep all day, but they are probably awake more than you realize.
Depending on your dog’s personality and energy levels, they might use your absence as an excuse to enjoy doing all the things they are not allowed to do when you are at home.
If your dog is not supposed to climb on the furniture or go to certain places in your home, you might find signs they’ve been breaking the rules whilst you’ve been out!
There isn’t really much you can do about this, unfortunately. If they keep to the rules whilst you at home, the only way to stop them from breaking them when you’re out is to remove all temptation.
Close doors, put up barriers, and make sure not to leave items out unattended if you know they might play with or chew them.
If you find your dog has a destructive streak when they’re left at home alone, they could be bored and struggling with pent-up energy. Some breeds (and younger animals) are particularly prone to this.
If you dread coming home in case they’ve ripped up the sofa or scattered toilet paper all over the house, a long walk first thing in the morning can really help.
It’s not always possible to fit one in, but if you can at least take them outside for a quick play and to stretch their legs, this can help to improve their behavior when home alone.
When your dog isn’t napping or playing, they’ll probably be taking their responsibility as the temporary head of the home very seriously (let’s face it - they know they’re not going to get much help from the cat!).
Many dogs love to look out of the front windows of a home so they can keep an eye on any unexpected visitors and warn them to steer clear. They will also do this so that they can spot you as soon as you arrive home.
Dogs quickly become attuned to our habits and daily routines, so the chances are your dog will hear a familiar sound that signals your arrival before they actually see you (and before you are even anywhere near the front door!).
This is why it might often seem that they have been waiting for your arrival all day. In a sense, they have, because our dogs do probably think about us a lot during the day.
However, they probably haven’t spent the whole day waiting in that same spot for you - so you don’t need to feel too guilty about what your dog does when you leave the house!
If your dog struggles with stress or anxiety caused by being left home alone (or if you simply worry that they will be sad and lonely whilst you are gone) then there are a number of things you can do to help.
We recommend trying to use as many of these strategies as possible to make leaving your dog home alone easier for the both of you:
Make sure you don’t just put them on right before you leave, as they’ll begin to associate TV and music with you leaving.
Opt for calming music with human voices, and TV channels with very consistent programming.
A good option for TV is to put on a shopping channel whilst you’re out, as this features human voices but you can be sure that nothing upsetting or too stimulating will be shown.
You might want to consider stocking up on chew toys, dog puzzles, and other toys that will help your pet to keep busy and be both physically and mentally stimulated during your absence.
This strategy is particularly helpful for dogs who have a habit of damaging the furniture whilst you are out.
Dogs are highly sociable animals, and they are genetically predisposed to seek out relationships with others (which is what makes them such great pets!).
Your dog will be very attached to you and it’s natural that they might struggle with loneliness when you’re not there.
If you are able to get another dog, this can really help (make sure you choose wisely as not all dog breeds are compatible with each other).
If that’s not an option for you, see if there is someone you trust who could possibly pay your dog a visit.
Even if it is not every day, your pet will really appreciate seeing a familiar face and having some human contact whilst they wait for you to return.
You might want to consider hiring the services of a professional dog walker if this fits with your budget, too.
For dogs who are often anxious or hyperactive, a natural calming supplement can work wonders.
DakPets Dog Calming Treats can be given regularly and are completely drug-free, which makes them a great alternative to calming medications.
Our anxiety-relieving chews contain organic hemp, valerian root, chamomile, and other plant-based ingredients that are known to promote a sense of balance and calm.
Whichever calming supplement you use, make sure to check the ingredients list carefully to ensure it contains no nasty fillers or potentially harmful chemicals.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into what your dog gets up to when you’re not at home!
You might also find this article helpful: How to Calm Down a Dog with Anxiety.
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