Careers and Canines: Tips for Dog-Owning Working Professionals

Time is often an important factor taken into consideration when making the decision to bring a dog into your home– time to train the dog, time to bond with the dog, and time for essential upkeep and daily care. So, does that mean working professionals can’t or shouldn’t have dogs? Definitely not! Many people worry that if they work full time, they won’t have enough time to care for a dog. The truth is, there are many happy, healthy dogs that live with working professionals. With the proper planning and arrangements, full-time employees can have furry best friends, too. To aid in the appropriate preparation, we’ve broken down the various considerations for busy employees to make the puppy adoption process smooth and easy.

Daycare or Dog-sitting Services: Because most people don’t have the option of bringing their furry friend to work, other plans need to be made for your pup while you’re out of the house. Dogs are social animals, and don’t generally enjoy spending long periods of time alone. Thus, the best option is to look for some type of doggy daycare or dog walking service, so your dog has people and other dogs to spend time with while you’re gone. Break up your dog’s day by having someone visit him at home, or drop him at a daycare center on your way to the office each day – there is no “right” way, so figure out which option works best for your lifestyle, budget, and schedule. You might also be able to rely on a trusted friend or family member to help out on certain days to save money and avoid using a professional service. Regardless, make sure you solidify a routine so that your dog gets used to his caretaker and environment. Switching things up too frequently can cause confusion and anxiety for your pup.

Bathroom Arrangements: Most pups can’t go all day without using the bathroom and will need to relieve themselves multiple times throughout the day. At a minimum, offering the dog the opportunity to go outside 2-3 times a day is ideal. Whether installing a doggy door or hiring a dog walker to let the dog out, by providing outdoor bathroom breaks, you will ensure the dog’s comfort as well as prevent accidents and promote cleanliness of the home. Do not leave your dog in a crate all day, because they may grow accustomed to wetting the bed and won’t learn to ever do their business outdoors. If you cannot install a doggy door or hire a dog walker, the best alternative to crating is to puppy-proof one room in your home, and confine your dog to a small space within the room with a gate or barricade while you’re out. Many people use the kitchen, because the tile floors are easy to wipe clean.

Distractions and Keeping Puppy Busy: Once you have a room ready for your pup, make sure to give him something to do while you’re gone. Otherwise, the dog will grow bored and anxious waiting for you to return, and will likely get into trouble trying to keep himself busy. Chew toys or long-lasting bones are suggested to prevent the dog from chewing on furniture or valuables. For example, fill a Kong toy with soaked and mashed dog biscuits or peanut butter and freeze it. Give the delicious toy to your pup when you leave and it will keep him happy for quite some time! Some dogs also enjoy the sound of the television or radio to keep them company while they’re home alone. Remember, bored dogs are noisy and destructive dogs, so find what works for your pooch to make sure he is as busy and quiet as possible in your absence.

career-thumbnailDog-Friendly Workplaces: If you are lucky enough to work for a company with a dog-friendly office policy, you have a slightly different set of issues to consider. First, will there be other dogs at work in addition to yours? If this is the case, make sure your dog is socialized and gets along well with other pups. Often, dogs need specialized socialization training in order to ensure they interact safely with fellow pooches, so keep in mind it might take a bit of work (and patience) to perfect your pup’s manners before letting them clock in alongside you. In addition to other dogs, your pup will also encounter people he has never met before, so he must also be able to socialize politely with human strangers in order to safely spend the day with you at the office. Other questions to ask yourself before introducing Fido to the 9-5: What is your dog’s energy level and personality like? Will you have the opportunity to take multiple breaks throughout the day to let the dog out? Is your dog independent and quiet enough for you to be just as productive as if he were not at your side?

Every dog and every family is different. You might have to do a little bit of research and trial and error to find what works for you and your dog, but being a working professional doesn’t have to limit you from enjoying the company of a canine friend!