KEEP YOUR ANIMALS HAPPY–AND SAFE– WHEN YOU’RE AWAY FROM HOME
Set up Potty Breaks
Some adult dogs can be left alone for six to eight hours, depending on how chill they are (high-strung dogs may need more attention). If you’ll be gone longer than that, consider a walker or doggy daycare. Even if your pup can go all day without urinating, don’t always expect it of him: When a dog consistently holds it in for more than eight hours, he can be at risk of health issues, like urinary tract infection. Indoor potty pads are an option, but dogs need to be trained to use them (and they may become their own kind of bad habit).
Calm Them Down
Your absence can make your pet’s anxious: Dogs with separation anxiety may howl, pace, or become destructive. Cats may meow loudly or soil outside their litter boxes. Don’t scold them if you arrive home to a pee-stained rug, as this may worsen their anxiety. When they’re alone, play soothing music or try a pheromone diffuser (like Adaptil) to help ease their distress. Before you leave, give them plenty of exercise so they’re relaxed and sleepy. If these measures don’t help after a few weeks, you may want to speak to your vet.
If pets are bored, they may get themselves into trouble. Leave treat-filled toys and puzzles so they stay entertained. They should also have a comfy place to sleep and access to fresh water. An anxious dog may benefit from a quiet or dark place, while a social, interactive dog may want to look out the window. (Cats also like to observe the outdoors.) If you don’t crate your pet’s, close doors to bedrooms and bathrooms, or use baby gates to block off trash, food, plants and anything else they might eat or destroy.
While you’re out, use your phone to check in on your pet with this wide-angle camera. TO BUY: TP-Link Kasa Spot, $40; Amazon.com.
Fill the mice with treats, hide them throughout the house, and let your cat hunt for food. TO BUY: Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Co. Indoor Hunting Feeder, $20 for 3; chewy.com.
This portable speaker’s preloaded with clinically tested classical music to help soothe your dog or cat. TO BUY: iCalmDog or iCalmCat 5.0, from $80; icalmpet.com.