Are you heading out to places where pets aren’t allowed? Maybe you’re attending an overnight trip, and you can’t bring your furry friend along with you? Leaving pets alone can be pretty worrying and challenging, especially if it’s your first time to be away from each other.
As much as you would like to bring your cat or dog with you, sometimes it’s just not possible. Not all restaurants, workplaces, travel destinations, or social gatherings allow pets, so you’ll have no choice but to leave them at home.
When these real-world situations come up, what can a fur parent do? Here are some recommendations to help keep your pets safe and comfortable when you need to leave them alone at home.
What Do You Need to Consider When Leaving Pets Home Alone?
One of the essential things you need is to determine how long you can leave your furry companion at home. It would be best to consider the following factors to find out the ideal duration.
- Bladder control
- Medical issues
- Health condition
- Separation anxiety
- Presence of other animals in the house
- Feeding times
- Potty breaks
- Activity level
- Need for socialization
These factors can help you identify how long your pets can stay at home without any human companion. It will help if you consider everything you know about your dog before planning anything. For example, knowing your pet’s feeding habits can help you decide how much food you need to prepare or if you need to leave some chew toys.
How Long Can You Leave a Pet a Home?
If possible, try to limit your pets’ time to be left home alone. No matter how well adjusted your dog or cat is, they can be distressed and uncomfortable if you’re gone for a long time. To help you plan your time away from your pets, here is a general recommendation on the ideal duration that your pets can stay home alone.
- Elderly dogs : The ideal duration would be between two to six hours a day. However, the length of time these dogs can be left home alone depends on their health condition. If they need to relieve themselves frequently, you need to shorten their time alone.
- Adult dogs (over 18 months): Since these dogs are more used to staying at home without their humans, they can survive being alone for up to six hours a day.
- Puppies: These cuties can also be left alone for 2 hours a day, tops. They can quickly develop separation anxiety when not with their fur mommies or daddies. They also require more attention, as they have to pee and eat more frequently.
- Adult cats: These independent felines can be left alone for up to 24 hours as long as they have dried kibble and drinking water.
- Six to twelve-month-old cats: These feline friends can last eight hours or one whole workday without any problems.
- Four to six-month-old kittens: These kittens can be left for up to five hours without their human companions.
- Zero to four-month-old kittens: These little ones shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours.
Keep in mind that these durations are only estimates. You still have to check your pet’s temperament and overall well-being before deciding how long you can leave them alone at home.
5 Things to Remember When Leaving Your Pets Home Alone
To help your pets adjust to being home alone, we’ve listed down some tips that can help make their stay comfortable and uneventful.
1. Leave them in a temperature-controlled room
Ensure that the room temperature where your pets will be staying has the right temperature to keep them comfortable. Keep the air conditioning or fan on during the summer and the heat during winter. If you’re leaving your pets inside a crate, make sure that you place it in a cool area where there’s a breeze and no direct sunlight.
2. Keep them in a safe space
Whether leaving your pets in the garage or inside your home, ensure no safety hazards are lying around. Check your house thoroughly for electrical cords, choking hazards, harmful chemicals, and sharp objects, and dispose of or keep them away correctly.
3. Leave enough food and water
Consider giving your pets food or treats in an automatic food dispenser to keep them fed and entertained at the same time. Leave them enough water for how long you’re leaving them.
4. Walk your dog before leaving
Give your canine companion some exercise before you leave them home alone. A 15-20 minute walk or a few rounds of catch can zap their reserved energies. If you have cats, you can spend some time playing with them using their favorite toy. When your pets are tired from exercise, they’ll most likely sleep for more extended periods and won’t cause any trouble.
5. Keep chewable items out of reach
It would be very frustrating to come home to a living room filled with chewed-up shoes, books, or worse, trash. However, you can’t blame your furry friends for causing this disaster. When dogs get anxious or bored, they tend to chew on anything they see. Cats, on the other, may be tempted to topple garbage bins when they’re looking for treats.
It would be best to keep important possessions out of your pets’ reach. Empty your trash bins and place the lid securely before you leave. If you know that your dog can be destructive, consider leaving some good, strong toys out for them to keep them happy and occupied whilst you are gone (this Pets Advice post goes into detail about why dogs like squeaky toys, if you’ve ever wondered this) so that you find your house in the same condition as it was when you left.
6. Hire a pet sitter
If you’re going out on a vacation or a business trip and need to be away from home for a long period, it would be best to hire a pet sitter to give your pets some company. You could also leave them to a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor who can keep your pets safe during the holidays. Just make sure that they have experienced being with each other beforehand.
If your pets are comfortable with other dogs, leaving them at a doggie daycare is also a great idea. Professional caretakers and veterinarians are available to watch over them while you’re gone.
Leaving your Pets Home Alone with Love
The key to leaving your pet home alone is preparing an environment that suits their health condition, age, and temperament, among others. Every dog or cat has its own unique needs that you have to prepare for before heading out the door.
While there are several things you can do to ensure that your furry friends are safe at home, it would be best not to leave them alone for extended periods. Being isolated for a long time can affect their physical, emotional, and mental health. So, make sure that they can still get love and attention while you’re away.
Having a pet is a tremendous responsibility. It relies on you for a happy and healthy life. Please always remember to think about them as you plan your life.
Author: Garry Everrett
Garry Everrett is a Tech Geek who is a freelance writer by passion. Mostly, he writes about topics revolving around the latest gadget and technology, specializing in new or refurbished iMac. In his free time, he likes to walk his dog, read sci-fi novels, and play golf.