Is It Cruel to Leave Your Pet Home Alone?
Sometimes you have no choice but to leave your pet home alone, we get it. The question is, is it cruel? Learn how you can make sure it isn't.
If you feel sad about leaving the house when your pet is there alone, you're not the only one.
One survey of 2,000 dog owners found that 80% of them felt guilty about leaving their pets alone. Considering that many animals (especially dogs) can feel loneliness or separation anxiety when their owners leave, it's not hard to see why.
Yet life happens, and (unfortunately) you can't always be around your pet 24/7. Feeling guilty about leaving your pet home alone is normal, but there are ways you can ease their stress when you need to be gone for longer periods of time.
Leaving your pet home alone isn't cruel if you take the right steps to prepare them. Keep reading to learn how you can leave dogs home alone (and cats too) without the guilt.
When Is It Cruel to Leave a Pet Home Alone?
A little separation is normal, but when does it become cruel to leave a pet home alone? Psychologists have pondered this question before, but there's not a solid answer regarding the specifics.
One thing we do know is this: it all comes down to the individual needs of your pet as well as the environment you prepare for them.
For example, leaving a pet home alone can be cruel if you leave them crated and neglect their physical needs, such as eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom. If a crate must be used when leaving a dog at home, it should be only for a maximum of a few hours at a time.
Giving free range of the house allows more time for dogs left home alone, but they'll still need to be taken out for bathroom breaks.
Cats, on the other hand, are a different story. They don't get the same amount of separation anxiety and are generally more low-maintenance pets than dogs. As long as they stay fed, they should be good to leave alone for days (or possibly weeks) at a time.
Many dogs are stressed when left alone. Levels of cortisol in the blood increase, and sometimes spike, the entire time the dog is alone. Dogs certainly experience loneliness, and loneliness is painful (McMillan). Ideally, then, we shouldn’t leave our dogs alone much at all.
Jessica Pierce Ph.D.
Providing for Your Pets When They're Alone
When you have to leave a pet home alone, you can make it less stressful by providing for them. Take care of their emotional needs by leaving on the TV or radio, giving them toys, or even getting another pet to keep them company.
Taking care of their physical needs can be a little trickier, though. Luckily, modern technology has offered some solutions.
Getting a programmable automatic feeder or an app-controlled feeder will make sure you can keep your pets fed even when you're not home. You can even get a camera feeder that plays a recording when you feed them and lets you keep an eye on your furry friend while you're away.
Leaving Your Pet Home Alone, Guilt-Free
As long as you pay attention to their needs and keep them fed while you're gone, leaving a pet home alone doesn't have to be cruel. Now that you know how to ease the stress of separation, you can start leaving your pet home alone without feeling so bad about it.
Check out our entire line of smart feeding products to keep your pet cared for while you're away.