Can you have a happy puppy AND work fulltime?
Most people have full-time jobs. At the same time, most of us also love our animals. A lot of the time, working a full-time job while having an animal isn’t a brilliant combination.
Nevertheless, this doesn’t stop people from asking the question, ‘should I get a dog if I work fulltime?’. So, that is the question we are going to answer on this page. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Should I get a dog if I work fulltime?
If you love dogs as much as us – you might not love the answer to whether you should get a puppy when you work full time.
Generally speaking, it is not recommended that you do.
Dogs are very social animals. They crave regular contact with people, and on occasion, other dogs. If they are left alone for long periods, they do get rather lonely. Most of the time, it isn’t recommended that you leave a dog alone for more than 4-hours at a time, less than that if you have a puppy.
That being said, we know that some people will try to juggle owning a dog while working full time. What we can do, however, is give you a few tips on how you may be able to make it work for you.
I want to adopt, but I work full time
You may actually find that many adoption shelters will be reluctant to allow you to adopt if you are working full time. This is, of course, because they want to ensure that their dogs are going to the best homes possible. After all, these dogs have hard lives, and you probably do not want to make them harder.
Suppose you do find a rescue center willing to allow you to adopt one of their animals. In that case, you should try to stick to one of the breeds that is a bit more on the independent side or at least won’t be caring all that much that you are not at home for a significant part of the day, e.g., a dog that sleeps a lot throughout the day.
Alternatively, suppose you can find out the history of an animal. In that case, you may be able to discover whether the dog is used to being left alone for long periods. You may often find that older dogs are better for this. However, some of the older dogs may also be used to almost constant companionship, so you must understand a dog’s history before taking action.
You may also want to consider adopting a younger dog, maybe closer to a puppy. While you will need to give them a lot of time and attention during the early part of your ownership, you may be able to teach them how to spend long periods alone. You can accomplish this by gradually increasing the amount of time they spend alone.
Although, you shouldn’t really go over 4-hours where possible until the dog knows how the potty training works. You can use a porch potty to allow your dog to bathroom itself too. See the best budget friendly porch potty‘s or learn how to make your own DIY porch potty.
Housebreaking when you work (the challenges of potty training)
It is nigh on impossible to housebreak a dog if you are out all day. Suppose you are working full time, and you cannot find somebody to check in on your dog regularly throughout the day. In that case, you absolutely should not be getting a younger dog. Stick to an older dog.
While there are many different methods for potty training a dog, we feel that we have a process that will work well for those who may not be at home all day. Although, of course, even this method will require people to check in on the dog regularly.
Remember, puppies will need to use the bathroom a lot more frequently than older dogs (often as little as once every hour or two). If you do not keep to their schedule, then all of the hard work you have put into potty training them will go out of the window!
As soon as you wake up, you should be taking your dog outside to use the bathroom. You will then want to feed the dog and then, once again, take them out.
This means that they should be using the bathroom at least twice before you head to work. This means that you need to wake up exceedingly early. You should then be placing the dog in the crate.
The next part is when you need somebody to help you unless you can leave work. Your puppy will need to be taken outsidebefore midday. A couple of hours after you have headed into work, and then a few hours later.
You may need to pay a dog walker to help here or hope that you have a friend or relative who can help. Each time, the dog will need to be placed back in the crate.
At midday, your dog should be eating again, and they should be taken out straight after. Once again, they will need to be walked two more times over the next few hours. Then, hopefully, you will be able to return from work and ensure your dog is taken out even more.
Potty training a dog is hard. You might find it difficult to do alone if you work fulltime. Do not get a puppy if you intend to leave it alone from when you head into work until you come home of an evening.
What is the best dog to adopt if you work full time?
While there are some dog breeds you should never leave at home alone for long periods (e.g., German Shepherds, Cockapoo and Labradoodle), there are some breeds that are fine to be left alone for slightly longer. Again, absolutely not recommended if you can avoid it, but some dogs deal with separation anxiety marginally better.
Surprisingly, one of the better breeds that is fine being kept alone for long periods is the tiny Chihuahua. Part of the reason for this is that Chihuahua spends a lot of time sleeping each day. This means that half the time, it will not realize you are not even there! (This is a general observation from a Vet Tech I interviewed for this subject – there are plenty of Chihuahua’s that cannot be left alone).
The Bassett Hound is also a brilliant dog for pretty much the same reasons as the Chihuahua. While it is not going to be sleeping as much when you are around, it isn’t an especially active dog when it is at home alone. If you can adopt an older Bassett Hound, some believe such a breed is is the perfect pet if you plan to work full time. That said, every individual dog is different.
Although, do bear in mind that these dogs can take a lot of looking after, and they will need extensive walks multiple times per day. If you are working exceedingly long hours, then a Greyhound may not be right for you.
However, if you can spare the time to walk them, this is a terrific breed. Due to Greyhound racing, it should be easy to find dogs to adopt too. Rehome a racer and save a life! Greyhounds are kid friendly and can even be good dogs for autistic kids.
A French Bulldog is also a tremendous dog to have around the home. We know that they get a bit of a bad rep, but the French Bulldog, when appropriately raised, is one of the best family pets that you can own. There are very few breeds that are as friendly as this.
Of course, we are just scratching the surface of the best dog breeds to own if you work full time. We also suggest checking out Whippets, Irish Wolfhound, and the Boston Terrier, to name but a few.
Is it OK to leave a dog for eight hours?
A dog will need to use the bathroom at least once every 4-hours. Even if your dog is used to staying at home, they simply cannot get used to holding everything in. Not only is it going to be uncomfortable for the dog, but it can also pose several health issues. Not to mention the fact that they are more likely to cause accidents in your home, even if they are potty trained.
There are two exceptions to this rule.
The first is if your dog has access to an outdoor area when they are left alone. However, we cannot stress enough just how important it is to have a secure outdoor area. Obviously, you do not want to have your dog escaping your property. You do not want people to get into your property either.
The second is if you have somebody that can keep an eye on your dog. If you are working full time, then it is highly recommended that you hire a dog walker. If you can’t afford that, later try to encourage one of your friends or family members to check in on your dog. Alternatively, you can come home during your lunch break and take your dog for a walk then.
Please do not leave your dog alone for long periods. It isn’t good for them socially, and it isn’t good for them health-wise.
Tips for getting a dog if you work full time
While we have included a few tips throughout this article on raising a dog when you work full time, we figured we would round off with a couple of quick tips that will make raising that dog a little easier and, ultimately, ensure that they have a happier life:
- We already talked about using a dog walker. They are surprisingly affordable, and a decent dog walker will be more than aware of your dog’s needs. You will need them to stop by a few times each day to walk your dog, more if you have a puppy.
- If you can, you may want to consider taking a few weeks off work when you first get a dog. This may not be necessary if you have an older dog, but if you have a puppy, it will be a lot easier to potty train them.
- It is worth waking up a little earlier in the morning to take your dog for a long walk. This will give you a bit of time to ‘bond’ with your animal, but it will provide them with some much-needed exercise and the opportunity to use the bathroom.
- If they do exercise, they will tire themselves out, which means that they will be more content with being left alone for a longer time.
- A tired dog is a happy dog!
- Consider mental exercises or nosework to mentally tire your dog.
- There are certain dog toys designed to occupy dogs for long periods. You may want to invest in these.
- Frozen dog puzzles are fantastic. They can take hours for a dog to ‘solve,’ and that is time they do not realize you are not there.
- However, there are also other ‘puzzle toys’ to occupy your pet too! See this list of indoor dog games and activities for inspiration. In fact, make sure your dog has a good number of toys available. It will keep them occupied, while at the same time ensuring they are not destroying your home.
- Puzzle toys are one of the most effective ways to stop a dog that chews or destroys everything.
- Just make sure that the toys can be used without supervision.
- When you get home, spend a lot of time with your dog. They have been alone for hours and hours. They are now craving social interaction, so give it to them. It doesn’t matter how hard your day is. If your dog knows that you will be coming home eventually.
- You may also want to get a second dog, although this is not really going to solve the issue that the dog needs to use the bathroom regularly.
It isn’t recommended that you get a dog if you work full time. However, we do know that some people will get one regardless. Just remember, it is going to be a considerable challenge raising the animal.
If you absolutely must get a dog, then at the very minimum, you should be sticking to one of the dog breeds known for being independent.
If you cannot take time off work, you may want to adopt an older dog that has a history of being fine left alone for long periods.If you can take vacation time from work, then a puppy may be a decent bet too.
Just make sure that when you return home each evening, you give that dog the love and attention that it deserves.