How Busy Dog Owners Can Still Care for Dogs
Everyone seems to be so busy these days. Are you too busy to take care of your dog? Owning a dog is a major responsibility. As a busy person, you can still be a good dog owner, but it will take some effort on your part. Just make sure you are up for the challenge.
Perhaps you have heard that old saying, "the busier you are, the more time you have." Or "if you want something done, ask a busy person." There may be some truth in these sayings. Chances are, you can make the time to take good care of your dog. It's better for your dog to stay with the family he loves. It's also probably better for you to have a dog in your life. After all, being busy can be stressful, and we all know that pets can help reduce stress.
If you currently have a dog and your life becomes hectic, it does not necessarily mean you need to give up your dog or let your dog feel bored and neglected. Here are some ways to make sure your dog is well taken care of despite your busy life.
You're already really busy, so you probably understand the importance of a daily routine. Just make sure you're not forgetting to include dog care in that routine. Make plans for the same time each day to feed, exercise, and bond with your dog. Try to set up regular training sessions as well.
You will notice that your dog feels more secure and confident when you keep a routine. It tells your dog when it's time to go and when it's time to rest. Your dog will know what to expect and, in turn, will be less anxious and hopefully not so restless. A regular schedule will likely make you feel more organized and disciplined as well. Set up your schedule and live by it.
Every dog needs the basics. This includes things like grooming and healthcare. Make plans to address these things as regularly as needed. Set up a day to groom your dog about once a month. Schedule veterinary check-ups every 6 to 12 months. Give monthly heartworm prevention and flea prevention on the same day each month (you can set a reminder on your phone or in your personal calendar). Make sure your dog has all the supplies he needs. Save time buying dog supplies by ordering online (dog food can be set up as a subscription on some sites).
You and your dog both need exercise. Why not combine the two activities and exercise with your dog? You can start simple: take a few minutes a day to walk your dog. Or, you can go big and start a running or cycling routine. These daily exercise sessions are sure to benefit both you and your dog.
The first thing in the morning is a great time to squeeze in some exercise, even if it's just for 15 to 30 minutes. You may prefer to exercise in the evenings after work instead. Or, do both! A 15-minute walk each morning and evening can bookend your day nicely and in a healthy way.
No matter what you choose for exercise, find a way to make it happen daily. Your and your dog will enjoy having something fun to look forward to every day.
Dogs and humans are both social beings. Your dog needs your attention and love. And you probably need your dog too (remember, reduce stress). When it comes to bonding and busy schedules, think quality over quantity. It's better to spend 10 minutes a day doing something fun with your dog while giving your undivided attention to him than to spend the day with your dog but ignore him the majority of the time. This being said, your dog would probably rather be with you when you're busy than be alone all day. Find the right balance of attention that meets your dog's needs. A well-nurtured dog will be content and at ease.
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
Yes, the idea of finding the time to train your dog is probably overwhelming. However, making time to train your dog is easier than you may think. Set a schedule to have 2 to 3 training sessions a week. The sessions should only be 10 to 15 minutes each. Surely you can carve out this kind of time.
If you need help, find a reputable dog trainer who can do some one-on-one sessions. Some training facilities even offer drop-off services that will allow you to leave your dog for the day while trainers work with him. Another option is to send your dog to board-and-train. Once your dog has a foundation of training, you can hold 2 to 3 training sessions a week just as a refresher.
Doggie daycare isn't right for all dogs, but it can be an amazing activity for many dogs. Find a reputable doggie daycare with staff that understands canine behavior and ensures that dogs play safely. You can drop your dog off a few days a week on your way to the office. While you work, your dog can be playing all day, expecting all that energy, having tons of fun, and getting good and tired out. Pick up your dog on your way home from the office, and the two of you can go home and crash!
Now, I'm not saying you should go out and get a second dog. That could make you feel even busier! However, your dog might benefit from having a playmate if your dog likes other dogs.
Look at your social circle: do you have friends or family members with dogs that like other dogs? Perhaps you can set up some playdates. If your friend is not quite as busy as you, perhaps you can let your dog stay for the day while you go to work.
Playing with another dog is a great way for your dog to get mental and physical stimulation while using his social skills.
Many busy people find themselves away from home for 12 hours a day or more. This can make dogs left at home feeling lonely and bored. It's also not very humane to make your dog wait more than 12 hours to use the bathroom. If you have a doggie door, that's great for his bladder, but it still won't help with the loneliness.
Consider finding a trustworthy pet sitter or dog walker who can come to your home midday and spend a little time with your dog. They can walk around the neighborhood and even spend some time playing.
Of course, a pet sitter is no substitute for you. It's still important that you make time to bond with your dog one-on-one. However, having extra help might be in the best interest of your dog. And there's no shame in asking for help. Just be prepared to pay for it.
Continue to 9 of 10 below.
Could you take your dog to work? Many businesses recognize that dogs in the workplace can have a positive impact on employee's productivity and attitudes. Depending on where you work, taking your dog to the office could be a real option. Talk to your boss about turning your office into a pet-friendly workplace. It can't hurt to try!
If you already have a pet-friendly workplace, then what's stopping you? Perhaps your dog's manners are not up to par. if so, there's no time like the present to work on training. Within a matter of weeks, your dog can be workplace ready.
If you do decide to take your dog to work, be sure to keep it balanced. You will need to remain productive at work so you don't lose the privilege of bringing your dog. Again, here's where a schedule can help. Set specific break times to take your dog out for a potty break and some fresh air. Set up an area in your office or cubicle with a dog bed and some toys. You can teach your dog when it's time to settle down and relax so you can get your work done.
Do you really want a dog but worry you are too busy? Think about what is fair for the dog. If you truly think you can make the time in your busy schedule, be sure to find the right dog for your lifestyle. Avoid getting a high-energy dog or a dog with special needs or behavior problems. Consider adopting an adult dog with a laid back personality. Set the schedule from day one and hold yourself to it. Your dog deserves it!
If you are an extremely busy person who does not currently have a dog, you might decide that getting a dog is not right for you. If you are really craving some canine companionship, here are a few alternatives:
Foster a Dog
Some animal shelters have weekend-only programs or short-term options. You can give a homeless dog a chance to spend some time in a real home without making a long-term commitment.
Animal shelters are usually in great need of help, even if it just means walking dogs for an hour a week. This would be a great way to give some much-needed love and attention to homeless dogs.
Pet Sit for Friends on Weekends
If you have weekends off from time to time, you might be able to take care of a friend's dog. This can help your friend avoid the cost of boarding or a professional pet sitter while giving you the chance to cuddle up with a cute dog.