Every responsible dog owner knows that dogs should not be left alone for long periods of time; around four to five hours is considered to be the upper limit of what is acceptable without your absence being harmful to the wellbeing or happiness of your dog. But the vast majority of dog owners also have to juggle the demands of work and family with dog ownership, and it can be hard to know how best to provide for the needs of your dog while you are working or out of the house for long periods of time. Fortunately, you are by no means alone in this; millions of dog owners across the UK are in exactly the same position, and find themselves needing to make arrangements for the care and supervision of their dog during the day while they are out. In fact, a whole industry of dog walkers, pet sitters and other services have sprung up around this need, providing some extra options to consider when deciding how you can arrange for your dog to be taken care of while you are at work. If you are running out of ideas, and are in need of some suggestions for doggy day care, or information on how you might be able to manage caring for your dog during the day while also working, read on to find out more!
Go home for lunch
Depending on how far you live from work and how long your lunch break is, could you possibly go home for lunch in the middle of the day? If your trip to and from work takes around ten minutes each way, and you get around an hour for lunch, this might be viable. Forty minutes at home will give you enough time to let your dog out to go to the toilet and stretch his legs, and perhaps even have a short walk. If you prepare sandwiches the night before or in the morning, you can eat these on the run or while sitting with your dog, and enjoy a little extra time at home to unwind during the working day.
Swap skills with a neighbour
Do you have a dog-loving neighbour who is home during the day? Or do you perhaps live near to a retired person who has some free time and would like to get out of the house? Consider looking to your local community for people who might be able to help. If you are able to offer something useful in return, or are perhaps able to care for or feed their pets on other days of the week or when they go on holiday, you might find the perfect solution to your problem right on your doorstep.
Take your dog to work
The idea of taking your dog to work with you might seem crazy at first glance- and in some industries and workplaces, it would be impossible. But consider asking your bosses if you might be able to bring your dog to work with you- particularly if you work for a small, friendly company and with other dog lovers. If you work outdoors or alone, this may well be viable; if you work for a large corporation or in an office environment, quite probably not.
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Work from home
Depending on your job and the role that you fulfil, could you possibly change your working patterns to flexi-time and perform some of your duties at home? Working from home used to be a relatively rare concept, but as the daily commute seems to become longer and longer each year, the provision of office facilities becomes more and more expensive, and employers are looking for new ways to increase productivity and get the most out of their workforce, working from home is becoming increasingly more common.
Hire a dog walker
Many areas, particularly larger cities, are well served by a variety of professional dog walking services. Dog walkers will come and collect your dog from home, get them ready for a walk, and take them to a safe place where they can play and exercise, before dropping them home tired and happy. Dog walkers usually offer a range of timing and pricing options, with individual walks being the most expensive and group walks with other dogs being rather cheaper. Make sure that any dog walking service you might be considering hiring is fully insured to take possession of your house keys and supervise your dog.
Arrange a pet sitter
Pet sitters are similar to dog walkers, but they will spend time in your home with your dog as well as taking them out for walks. Hiring a pet sitter can prove costly, as one-to-one care often is, but if you have the funds available, having a pet sitter come in for an hour or two each day is one of the nicest ways to provide for your dog’s needs.
Day care for your dog
Finally, across the country, various ‘doggy day care’ facilities are beginning to open up, where you can leave your dog in a canine crèche for the duration of your working day, dropping them off in the morning and collecting them again in the evening. If your dog is friendly, outgoing and sociable with other dogs and people, doggy day care can be a great experience for them to spend a day filled with fun, play and socialisation. Much like professional childcare, doggy day care can sometimes be expensive, but it does provide a significant amount of value for money and a lot of quality entertainment for your dog. And a few tips...
Don’t take your dog to work with you if you have not asked first, or if this is against the rules.
Never take your dog to work with you and leave them in the car for the day, popping out at lunch to walk them.
Thoroughly vet anyone whom you might consider entrusting with your dog’s care while you are out.
Check the credentials and insurance of any professional dog carer you might be considering.
Make sure that you have a backup plan, in case your planned care falls through suddenly, or you cannot get home from work on time.
Ensure that your dog gets on well with anyone you might be considering leaving them with in your absence.