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Surveys show that leaving pet home alone due to other commitments is one of the most common reasons why some people do not on pets. Owning a pet does not mean that you stay cooped up at home all the time. With the right training and conditioning, you should be able to leave your pet at home for a few hours.
How long should you leave your pet home alone?
Cats are independent and solitary, and can go without the company of their owners for longer than dogs. However, there are some cats that can’t do without their owners for long periods of time, and experience separation anxiety when left alone. You should try leaving your pet for an hour, and gradually increase the time to see how they adapt to it.
Dogs are more dependent on human interactions and company in general. Puppies should not be left by themselves for more than a couple of hours. Canines that are over the age of five months can be left alone upto four hours, gradually. Adult dogs can be left alone for about 4 hours in a stretch. You want to have someone come in and check on your pet, if work or other commitments require you to be away from your pet for longer.
Keeping your pet busy
Pets left home alone often resort to destructive behavior because they are bored. You want to ensure your pet has ways to stay busy when you are not around. Engaging toys can be a great way to keep pets busy. Leave out a food dispenser or puzzle toy, so your pet learns to play by himself when home alone. You could also leave little treats around the house for your pet to find; it could become a game that he gets used to when you head out, making him associate being left home alone with something positive. Of course, you do not want to make a habit of it, as those calories in the treats can quickly add up. Alternatively, you could also consider adopting another pet, so they do not get bored.
Once you do get back home, you want to make the time to play with your pet. Playtime can bring the frustration and boredom that your pet experiences when left home alone under control. Get onto a game of fetch with your pet, right after you get home. Take your dog out for a walk or play with your kitty, so they look forward to the quality bonding time each day.
If your pet shows destructive behavior even after undertaking these measures, you want to look for signs of separation anxiety, and consult a vet.