We all know the heartbreaking feeling of leaving our pets at home for the day. Our furbabies — especially dogs — seem to absolutely hate it when we leave, and live for the moment we return. Though they’re obviously capable of being alone for a few hours at a time, loving pet owners hate the idea of their dogs being bored at home all day while they’re away at work. But with a little planning and some creativity, there are numerous ways to keep your pup entertained throughout the day, even if you’re not there with them. Here are a couple fun ideas to try.
1. Let your dog watch television.
Turn on your TV to the Animal Planet™ station and up the volume. The sights and sounds of barking dogs and mewing cats helps to stimulate your dog’s brain in a quiet house, keeping her from finding ways to get in trouble.
2. Give your dog a puzzle.
There are loads of interactive dog toys on the market that will keep your dog occupied for hours. The one’s we like best are from Nina Ottosson.
3. Provide ways your dog can look through a window or door.
Open the curtains or blinds to a back window in your home so that your pooch can watch whatever is going on outside your back door. If you have a small dog or a toy breed, set a cushion or chair by the window so that your pup is comfortably able to see out.
4. Scavenger Hunt.
Make your dog hunt for her meals by hiding stuffed food puzzle toys or small piles of her kibble around your house.
Scatter a couple of handfuls of kibble in the areas where your dog hangs out during the day and she’ll have fun hunting her treats while you’re at work. You can also hide one of her meals or puzzle toy right before you leave home so that she learns to associate your leaving for the day with a positive – as opposed to a negative – emotion.
5. Make A “Busy Bucket”
Petful offers another fantastic idea for keeping your dog entertained: Make a busy bucket. In a sturdy aluminum bucket, place a couple of your dog’s favorite treats. Then, add some of his favorite toys, waded-up washcloths and other objects that you don’t mind getting a little slobbery. He’ll have to attempt to take everything out in order to get to the treats below.
6. Tire Your Dog Out In The Morning.
Finally, every pet parent knows that tiring your pup out is the surest way to take up doggie hours. In the mornings, get in the habit of taking your furry friend for long walks or playing some fetch outside. This will make a huge difference in your dog’s day. He’ll get to use up some of that pent-up energy, and will also be able to spend more of the day sleeping. And besides, some early-morning exercise is good for you, too!
**A disclaimer: Make sure that if you’re leaving treats behind for your pup, they’re easy to eat and digest! Peanut butter balls and other soft foods are ideal (as long as you know your dog isn’t allergic), as they carry a very low risk of choking. Small treats are usually fine, but it’s never recommended to leave your dog alone with a bone or large treat.