5 Tips to Keep Your Dog Busy While You’re at Work Sunday 28 June 2015 @ 10:10

Guest written by:

Dr Eloise Bright - Veterinarian, Love That Pet

Keeping your pet entertained doesn’t have to be expensive. What can be expensive however is the damage your dog can do to your property inside and out if left to their own devices all day while you are out working. Also equally important is to keep your dog busy which can help in preventing your dog from escaping. Some dogs will need more stimulation than others so we have hunted out some of the best ways to keep your dog occupied.

1. Kongs

These can be stuffed with your pet’s regular wet or dry food, steamed sweet potato, or frozen with stock or food inside. The options are limitless and even the most determined chewer is usually safe with a Kong. Chewing is a great stress-reliever for dogs, they get lots of happy hormones released when they chew, which is why they will often chew things we don’t want them to (Your new pair of expensive shoes … a-hem!)

Dog digging hole

2. Digging Adventures

If your dog is outdoors during the day, a plastic paddling pool can make a great digging spot. You can bury some favourite toys in there (like Kongs!) and give your dog a treasure hunt to do every day. Simply fill the sandpit with kid-safe sand and make sure it is covered at night so the local cats don’t use it as a toilet! You will need obviously need to give your dog some training that this is the spot he can dig.

3. Food Puzzles

Rather than just feeding your dog from a bowl in the morning, make it into a game by using food in a puzzle toy or food ball. There are various designs of these neat toys with different levels of difficulties. Or go for the cheap and easy option and simply put your dog’s dry food into an old plastic drink bottle with the lid removed, he will need to roll it around to get the food out. Just supervise your dog the first time you give him a new toy to make sure he isn’t going to ingest things he shouldn’t.

4. Rotate Toys

Rather than have a yard full of toys that don’t get used, rotate toys every few days. Toys don’t need to be expensive; in fact you can easily recycle old plastic bottles, T-shirts and tennis balls to make dog toys. For some cheap home-made toy ideas, visit here.

5. Wear You Dog Out Mentally and Physically

Comfortable dog

A tired dog is a happy dog. If possible walk your dog in the morning before you go out or ask a dog walker to come during the day. A dog that is well-exercised will often sleep up to 16 hours a day. You can then be pretty sure your dog is sleeping the day away on his comfortable bed while you are out at work, lucky thing! As well as physical exercise try to expand on your dog’s interests and keep him mentally stimulated. For breeds that enjoy chasing scents, you can hide food or toys around the yard or home for him to find. For those that were bred for herding, they tend to love a game of fetch or Frisbee in the morning, or you could set up an obstacle course at home involving planks and tunnels, like a dog agility course.

While leaving your dog at home alone for any length of time is not ideal, it is a necessary evil for those of us who need to work for a living. It is important to think about many factors before committing to caring for a fury friend however the key point here is to focus on keeping your pet physically worn out and mentally busy. Most dogs will be happy (and worn out) if they are walked at least once (or twice a day). Invest in good quality toys and rotate every few days as opposed to buying cheap toys that last all of five minutes. What are some of the ideas you use to keep your dog out of mischief while you are out?