When your days are spent working and climbing the corporate ladder, coming home and cuddling with your dog can be the best part of the day. Whether you are just starting out and need tips as a first time dog owner, or you’ve been raising one for years, here are some helpful tips to balancing a busy work schedule and caring for your dog.
Keep Your Home Safe for Pets WHILE WORKING
Many people don’t realize how many hazards their dogs avoid around the home each day. While navigating around garbage bags, stairs, laundry, and shoes, dogs go through a lot. The worst mistake a dog owner can make in their home is leaving items dangerous to dogs out in the open. This could be cleaning solutions without the lids screwed on, falling mops and shovels not securely attached to a wall, or improperly working appliances that have pieces a dog can chew.
Just like you would baby proof your home, first time and seasoned dog owners need to prepare their homes for pets. Always make sure to keep anything you don’t want a dog to eat (shoes included) out of their eye line. House Methodrecommends performing regular home maintenance and having an up to date home warranty on any appliances or systems in your home that may be dangerous to your pets.
Turn Your Walk into A Workout
We have all had days where walking the dog from the front door to the street is enough of a trip. Pick several days during the week when you can walk with your dog for an extended period of time, closer to an hour. Our four-legged friends love getting outside for more than just a bathroom trip. The American Kennel Club recommends giving your dog ample time and space on the walk to stretch, explore, and meet new human and animal friends. A pre-breakfast walk or a post-dinner stroll will help both of you with digestion.
Cuddle with Your Dog at Night
Cuddling with a human partner or child releases a feel-good hormone in your brain called oxytocin. This also gets released when you cuddle with a dog. Including regular low-key bonding moments with your dog during the week will lower your heart rate and cortisol levels, leaving you ready for a deeper sleep, according toThrive Global. Dogs are great heat providers when you are trying to warm up under a blanket. Research has shown that dogs feel more relaxed when they are held by their owners.
Advocate for Your Dog’s Health
If you are not seeing your dog during the day, make sure to check in regularly to ensure a healthy and long life. Veterinarians that work with the Iditarod Trail Committee (an Alaskan dog sled race) recommend developing a communication style with your dog and observing when things are not right with your furry friend. Schedule regular vet checkups as a part of your dog’s preventative care and take measures to keep their teeth healthy. Your dog’s nails should regularly be trimmed, and fur should be groomed regularly so they look and feel their best.
Feed Your Dog the Right Portions of Food
It can be tempting to reward your pet with treats and dinner scraps during the evening to make up from a long day apart, but it is not healthy in the long term. The ASPCA recommends puppies begin with two to four meals a day while tapering off to one large meal or two smaller meals during the day.
Dogs need high-quality dog food and should not eat much human food, due to the difference in the way they process nutrients. A couple of treats a day can be fine, but too many each day will lead to your dog gaining excess weight over time. Health Magazinerecommends swapping a treat reward system for non-meal rewards like a game of fetch or an extra belly rub.
Look into Doggie Daycare
Many dog owners feel guilt over leaving their dog at home all day. If you want to socialize your dog and make sure they are getting extra attention and food at regularly scheduled times, doggie daycare may be your solution. Much like a daycare for children, these facilities provide your dog with a home away from home.
South Boston Animal Hospital recommends meeting with the daycare facility in person (with your dog) and trying out to make sure the daycare is a good fit. Not all dogs will feel comfortable in this setting, so make sure to ask questions to the walkers, caregivers, groomers, and others that will be interacting with your pet.
Advocate for a Dog-Friendly Office
If the guilt of leaving your dog at home all day is too much to bear, you may want to inquire with your company about bringing dogs into the office. If there is no policy, ask your human resources department what would be needed to make your workplace dog-friendly. An empty supply closet can find new life as a dog room.
If you need to persuade the upper management to consider this policy, remember dogs help lower stress, boost morale, and remind employees who sit all day to up from their desks for a few minutes of stretching (or fetch), according to TheChicago Tribune. Your co-workers will be appreciative to you and provide your dog with some extra attention during the day when you’re working.
Amanda Turner is a freelance writer and recent graduate who is exploring her passions through writing.