If you know me at all, you know just how much I love my dogs, Leo and Arbor. There’s nothing quite as comforting as dog cuddles at the end of a long day. Dog therapy is simply the best! However, if you’re anything like me, working long hours on a daily basis, it can be challenging to love your dog well. So, here are five ways to love your dog well, even if you work long hours!
Health Benefits of Dogs
First and foremost, dogs are so much more than a loyal companion. In addition to giving you unconditional love and cuddles, dogs offer us many health benefits, including:
- Reduced stress levels
- Improved immune function
- Increased daily movement/exercise
- Better cognitive function
Considering all the benefits our four-legged friends offer us, it’s only right to make sure they’re taken care of all day, every day.
5 Ways to Love Your Dog Well
Luckily, despite working long hours, your dog likely won’t hold it against you. Yet, a dog’s well-being should be a top priority for any dog owner. So, it’s important to love them well while at home and plan ahead, so that they are taken care of during long work shifts.
- Exercise Before Leaving- If you’re off to a long day of work, it’s critical to exercise your dog before leaving. Depending on the breed and activity level of your pup, consider going for a long walk/run or simply playing several rounds of fetch in the yard. To kill two birds with one stone, bring your dog to the dog park to mentally and physically stimulate them.
- Crate Train– If you know you’ll be gone for long hours on most days, crate training can be a valuable tool. It’s ideal to start crate training from the puppy stage. Make sure the crate feels like a safe and enjoyable place for your pup, instead of a place for punishment. The more they like their crate, the more willing they’ll be to spend time there.
- Keep Them Entertained– Consider turning on music or the TV, while you’re away. This can help ease a dog’s anxiety and help them relax until you get home, especially if you live in a noisy area. Also, leave plenty of safe toys and chews to entertain themselves with.
- Listen to Their Needs– Before leaving for the day, pay attention to your dog’s needs. Always leave them fresh water and take them outside to potty before leaving. However, avoid leaving food within their reach. I learned this lesson the hard way!
- Hire a Dog Walker- If working long hours is a regular part of your routine, it’s wise to hire a dog walker to walk your dog(s) one or two times a day. For the well-being of your dog or your sanity, the expense is well worth it!
Clearly, dogs are physically and emotionally beneficial to us, humans. However, they are dependent on us to take care of them. Even for those of us who work long hours, it’s essential that we make a plan to make sure our pups are taken care of.
I would love to know, what kind of dog (or dogs) do you have?!