Your dog can be pretty trustworthy in your presence, but can you rest assured he will behave well in your absence? Many dogs require close supervision because, when left alone, they may get bored, restless or anxious. The saying “an idle brain is a devil’s workshop” applies to your canine companion as well. The main concern of leaving a dog unattended is the risk of him somehow hurting himself or ingesting something potentially harmful.
For instance, your dog can easily knock over a harmful product and entertain himself by chewing the bottle and ingesting part of its contents or your dog may simply eat objects commonly found in the household that may cause an intestinal blockage, or worse, that may splinter causing dangerous internal bleeding as they pass through. Yet, despite your concerns, you must leave the house at times, so what’s left to do? Following are some tips on keeping your dog safe when you’re out and about.
Know Your Dog
Puppies go through a mouthing stage where nothing is really safe from their jaws. Young dogs enjoy chewing couches and chairs as they get easily bored. Labs are notorious for wolfing down the oddest things. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety tend to get upset, cry out loud and go on a mission in destroying windows and doors. While in general there are countless dogs that aren’t really very reliable kept alone, these dogs in particular require special attention to be kept safe. If you find your dog getting in trouble when left alone, play it safe and protect him from any future, potentially dangerous mishaps.
Walk Your Dog
Often, getting in trouble when left alone is caused by too much pent-up energy. Make sure you walk your dog and also provide ample of opportunities for mental stimulation. After you walk your dog, he may be in a more relaxed state and less likely to get in trouble. However, he still may have enough energy to lie down and chew the remote or those pair of shoes you’ve left on the floor.
Crate for Safety
If you are only leaving only for a few hours, your best bet would be to crate your puppy or young dog. The crate will not only keep your puppy safe, but can also be an aid for the potty training process. Bored dogs may require an escape-proof crate especially if when they are bored they will chew through the crate and try to get out. A safe, dog-proof room may be another alternative for dogs that tend to get bored or suffer from separation anxiety.
Create a Safe Haven
This means creating a room only for Rover where there is little he can chew on. Preferably, this would be a room with ceramic tiles, little or no furniture, no electrical cords and any chewable items out of the way. This means no shoes, no remote, no blankets, and no toys that can be broken apart. Make sure you get the idea of what a dog-proof room is really like.
At the same time though, you want your dog to be occupied in safe activities while you are away. You can keep metal dog bowls filled up water and food, or better, you can scatter the food all over the floor so your dog can go on a treasure hunt. You can also leave around several safe chew toys with a reputation for being indestructible. Kongs stuffed with hard-to-get-out foods may also help keep a bored dog’s mind off of other forms of entertainment. Kongs can be stuffed with peanut butter, treats, chunks of hot dogs, cheese, and can even be frozen with some tasty juice inside. There are several Kong recipes online.
Look for Help
In some cases, the best solution may be leaving the dog with a dog sitter or with friends or family. This particularly applies to puppies that have a tendency of chewing on stuff or dogs getting easily into trouble. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may also feel great relief when they are in good company. Doggy day care is another option if your dog enjoys the company of other dogs.
The Bottom Line
Dogs are generally not naughty creatures, they simply tend to get into trouble when on their own because they may be bored or because they miss their owner and struggle to accept their absence. It is always best to be safe than sorry, so the best thing to do is to crate your dog or keep him in a dog-proof room. At least, upon your return, you will find your dog to be where he was left and happy to see you again.