With the kids back to school, life has returned to normal this week and that often means that the dog is left at home for a few hours at a time. As dogs are pack animals, they shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours at a stretch, but there are ways in which you can make the time pass more quickly for your pooch while you’re out.
Most dogs will sleep well if they have had a good run around, so try and fit in a morning walk before you head off to work – it’s also a great way to clear your mind to prepare for the day ahead. If you can’t return home at lunchtime, arrange for a neighbour, friend or dog-sitter to let your dog out for a call of nature and another walk or play session to help her chill for the afternoon with another nap.
Another equally good way to tire your dog out is to make him use his brain. Stuff a Kong with his breakfast or a selection of his favourite treats (click here and here for Kong stuffing ideas) and leave him to exhaust himself working out how to release the food. Along with Kongs, we also sell other similar toys such Tug-a-Jug, Buster Soft Cubes, Busy Buddy Bouncy Bone and Bristle Bone.
In the wild, canines savour the bone of their prey and spend hours chewing to release the highly nutritious marrow and calcium, while the chomping action alone stimulates the flow of endorphins which relaxes the dog, making it feel sated and happy. You shouldn’t leave your dog unattended with a raw bone, but you can simulate this natural relaxant with a good chew toy or one of our natural products such as a chewy tendon or pizzle, or longer lasting items such as an antler or tree root. Chewing is also nature’s way to remove plaque, so this also keeps your dog’s teeth in tip top condition.
Toy box treats
As well as chew toys and treat dispensers, you can give your dog a mental challenge by packing her favourite toys in a box or bucket. Layer them with old towels and a few treats to keep her interested, and loosely cover with a lid to make an exciting present for her to unwrap while she’s home alone.
Many dogs are comforted by the sound of a radio or the images on TV, so you might consider leaving some audio and visual stimulation to keep your dog happy while you’re gone.
Watch how your dog reacts with the various toys, treats and chews several times, to ensure he won’t do himself any harm, before leaving him with them unsupervised, and always make sure your dog has access to fresh water.
Written by: Lucy Ellis
Photo credits: Dog with bone by Don DeBold http://bit.ly/1qEdPCR