If you've been unemployed for a long time and have an elderly dog, you may be wondering how your dog will handle things when you go to work. Leaving your dog home alone while you go to work can lead to various situations that could make you hesitate before opening the door to your abode. Some dogs, when left alone for too long, can become destructive due to separation anxiety and/or from being unable to wait to potty.
However, elderly dogs can be more susceptible to health risks if they are home alone for too long. According to Rover, a website dedicated to our canine companions, elderly dogs should not be left alone for more than six hours or, depending on size and health, no more than two hours. Here's why and what you should do if you have an elderly dog and routinely need to be gone from home for longer than your dog can handle.
Risks of Leaving an Elderly Dog Home Alone for Too Long
There's always risks of leaving dogs home alone for too long, but elderly dogs have greater risks. Here are a few examples:
- Urinary Tract Health Risks: Most elderly dogs have been trained to hold their urine until they are allowed to go outside. Elderly dogs can have a more difficult time holding their urine than when they were younger. Forcing themselves to hold their urine can increase their risks of getting a urinary tract infection. They may also produce stones or crystals in their urinary tract, which can be painful and lead to blood in their urine. When their urinary tract health is compromised, particularly when an infection sets in, dogs can become lethargic and have a fever. Should this occur, the dog will need to have immediate veterinary attention to begin a course of antibiotics.
- Separation Anxiety: Peeing inside after being trained not to can lead to separation anxiety in a dog. Every time your leave the house your dog may become anxious because it doesn't know how long you'll be gone and when it will be able to go outside for a potty break. The distress may be enough for your dog to be unable or unwilling to hold their urine. Before you know it, your elderly dog is an emotional mess and your house smells of dog urine. Also, being alone isn't fun for anyone, especially for dogs who are accustomed to always having their human around.
- Sedentary Life: Another thing that can happen when elderly dogs are left alone for too long is that they don't get the exercise they need to remain physically fit and healthy. Exercise helps dogs keep their energy level up, helps their bodies to digest foods, and keeps their minds stimulated. A sedentary dog can become quite bored, which can lead to depression and induce destructive behaviors. Elderly dogs suddenly living a sedentary lifestyle are at risk of obesity, which can reduce their life expectancy.
Obviously, you are concerned about the well-being and health of your dog, but you need to go to work because your creditors need paid.
A Pet Boarding Service Can Help
Fortunately, there is an option. Take your dog to a pet boarding service so it can be taken care of properly and the risks of being left home alone for far too long can be eliminated. You may need to ease your dog into this change slowly, if possible. Hopefully, there's a bit of time before your first day on the job so you'll be able to slowly transition your dog from being a homebody to being around other dogs and having other caretakers in a boarding facility. If not, consider hiring someone to take your dog to the boarding facility halfway through each day of your first week on the job.