As creatures with emotional, mental, and physical needs, our beloved dogs truly are a daily commitment – and this is especially true for brand new pups! We love them wholeheartedly and wouldn’t want things any other way, but it can sometimes be complicated for working professionals to balance caring for their dog while meeting the demands of a full-time job. Here are some tips for balancing both sets of responsibilities.

Adopt a Dog Appropriate for Your Lifestyle
If you don’t already have a dog in your life, make sure that when the time comes to add a furry friend to your family, you select a dog that’s appropriate for your lifestyle. If you’re away for most of the day, pick a lower-energy dog that won’t need as frequent physical exercise as some other breeds might. Perhaps open your heart and home to an older dog or a smaller-breed dog whose activity needs you can easily meet. When you visit Roice-Hurst to bring home a new friend, we’ll help you match with a pet that would fit into your lifestyle and activity level.

Provide Mentally-Stimulating Enrichment Activities While You’re Away
Just like you don’t enjoy boredom, your dog doesn’t either. And when some dogs get bored, they find activities to stay occupied ⁠— like sifting through the trash can or tearing up your belongings. To avoid this while you’re out of the house, put together some enrichment activities to keep your dog mentally stimulated. At the shelter, one of our favorite enrichment items is a frozen Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter, pumpkin, or wet dog food. Your dog will spend hours occupied by licking the yumminess out of the toy!

Hire a Dog Walker or Dog Sitter
Dogs are social animals, so if you have the means, hiring a dog sitter to keep them company during your work hours will have them living in luxury. While you’re fulfilling your 9-to-5 corporate requirements, someone is playing with them, feeding them, training them, and walking them to ensure they get all the physical and mental stimulation they crave. Even having a dog walker who visits just once during your shift can do wonders for your dog’s happiness and health.

Doggie Daycare
In our modern age where millennials are more often having puppies instead of babies, many comprehensive facilities focused on doggie daycare have emerged. Facilities focused on caring for your dog during work hours are very popular and usually have sizable facilities with toys, treats, steps, and platforms for playtime and agility, and outdoor runs for bathroom breaks and fun in the sun.

Pet parents are free to drop off and pick up the pup at their convenience, and the dog will be in the company of trained staff and other dogs for the day. Doggie daycare is generally more affordable than a full-time dog sitter but pricier than a dog walker. It’s a fantastic option for most, but may not be feasible for dogs that suffer from anxiety or reactivity towards dogs or unfamiliar humans. If your dog loves you but won’t play nice with others, we do not recommend they be brought to doggie daycare. Happy-go-lucky pooches, on the other hand, are always welcome.

Ask Friends and Family to Visit
For frugal or financially-savvy dog owners with a large network of friends and family, you may be able to ask them for a favor and visit the dog in your absence. This option is often the least expensive (and sometimes free!) but requires the cooperation of a family member or friend who either works a completely different schedule than you or who has ample free time. Your friends and family may not be able to come to you each time, but may allow for you to drop off the dog on your way to work and pick them up on your way home. Some may even have dogs of their own that enjoy your dog’s company, making it a win-win situation.

Work From Home
In our society today, work-from-home remote jobs have become more prevalent. While it’s not offered by all employers and not possible in some industries, transitioning from an in-office job to a work-from-home position will give you the opportunity to be there with the puppy full-time. Inquire with your employer if this is allowed with your company, or if you’re looking for a career change, apply for jobs that offer work-from-home opportunities. You might learn that your dog is a great coworker!

Bring Your Dog to Work
If only all jobs allowed for our dogs to tag along! Unfortunately, this option is only possible in specific circumstances, and we do not recommend bringing the dog along without your employer’s permission. In some industries, it is not possible or recommended, like on construction job sites, on retail sales floors, or other jobs that involve workplace hazards or constant engagement with the general public. Jobs in private offices, however, may be more accommodating to your dog, especially if they do not bark excessively and have a reliable recall and basic obedience.

Stop Home At Lunchtime
For those who can’t work from home or bring the pooch along, consider making a lunchtime pitstop. If your job is close enough to home, a midday visit for a quick potty break and some nice pets could be great for your dog’s physical and mental needs.

Get Ready to Get Creative
There are many options for managing your dog’s needs while you’re at work, and applying some out-of-the-box thinking can yield great results. Dogs that don’t experience separation anxiety and have free roam of the house may be fine to leave for longer durations if you have items like an automatic food dispenser, a generous helping of water, controlled access to the backyard, or a designated indoor potty area with potty pads. You can read more tips like these on Dog Nerdz and find out other ways to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.