Our furry friends bring us infinite amounts of joy. But every dog owner will agree: raising a dog is a ton of work! Fitting in daily walks, regular vet check-ups, and lots of warm cuddles into your busy schedule can be quite challenging, especially if you’re working all day. It can take months, even years, to strike a perfect work-life-animal balance. Not only does your dog need plenty of human interaction to stay happy and healthy, but you also need to find regular down-time during the week to relax on your own.
Whether you’re planning on introducing a pet into your life, or if you’re just feeling overwhelmed with your current canine-related responsibilities, these tips will help you manage having a full-time job and a dog at home.
1. Exercise your dog before you leave for work
The last thing you want is to come home after a long day at work, only to find that your overly-energetic pup has torn through the house. If you want your dog to rest and relax while you’re away, try to give them lots of high-energy playtime in the early morning. Take them on a run, a long walk, or play fetch with them in the backyard. This will prevent your dog from becoming too restless during the day—plus, you’ll probably get in a good workout, too!
2. Take advantage of puzzles and treat toys
Keep your dog engaged, without human company, with pet-friendly puzzles and treat toys. There are tons of affordable treat mazes, chewing toys, and puzzle feeders available online. Laying out mentally- stimulating toys and activities for your dog to play with during the day will help strengthen their mental acuity, while keeping them entertained during the long hours of the day.
3. Consider a midday dog walker
What do you do if you’re not a morning person, but you also arrive home late at night, hungry and exhausted? If you’re struggling to fit in enough playtime for you and your pooch, consider hiring a dog walker. This could be somebody you connect with through a mobile app such as Rover, Wag!, or NextDoor. You could even ask a caring family friend, or enlist the help of a trustworthy neighbor’s kid. A dog walker would visit your home in the afternoon and take your dog around the neighborhood. This would give your pet a much-needed toilet break and an opportunity to burn off excess energy they might otherwise take out on your furniture or living-room floor.
4. Invest in a video camera system for the house
Even if you’ve been living with your dog for years, you might still be worrying about them during the workday. If you are the type of dog owner who spends their entire 9-5 shift fretting over your dog, you might want to set up a nanny cam system at home. Special pet cameras can sync up with apps on your phone, allowing you to watch and track your dog’s behavior on your smartphone. Some technologies even allow you to sync a video camera with a smart home system, which will let you talk to your pets, and hear them bark back at you.
5. Find a doggie daycare
If you’re working away from friends and family, or if you’ve just moved into a new city, it can be stressful to find a trustworthy dog-walker of dog-sitter. If all else fails, you might consider putting your dog in a doggie daycare. While this option can be expensive, you will definitely be able to rest easy at work, knowing that a group of professionals are keeping your dog as safe and healthy as possible.