Should I Adopt a Dog If I Work Full Time?

should i adopt a dog if i work full time

Should you adopt a dog if you work full time? This is a big matter of concern for budding owners. After all; dogs get lonely too. And there’s no point in adopting one just to give them a lonely life.

dogs need a home, a bed, food, water, and walks. But don’t forget, they’re pack animals. They also need lots of love, attention, and someone to play with! So can dogs ever be compatible with someone who works 9-5?

Should I Adopt a Dog If I Work Full Time?

Having a dog is like having a child in many ways. It is someone that solely relies on you for everything. And not just their physical needs, their emotional ones too. As a full-time worker, if this is not something you feel capable of providing, your dog could become neglected emotionally.

However, if you’re able to get the most out of the time you do have with them each day and provide them with company while you’re out, it can work.

7 Dog Breeds for People Who Work Full Time

Additionally, you may want to think about adopting a more emotionally independent, low maintenance dog breed that has fewer physical needs and a lesser risk of separation anxiety.

1. Basset Hound

This laid back, lovable breed’s low energy nature makes them a good match for full-time workers. They like nothing more than a good relax and will quite happily sleep through much of the day.

That said, they’re also prone to obesity-related health problems and still need short 20-30 minute walks every day. Basset Hounds are very low maintenance dogs, the only high maintenance thing about them is that they need a good brush about three times a week to keep their coats healthy, but otherwise, they’re very easy dogs to own.

Basset Hounds are devotedly loyal, sweet-tempered, gentle, and friendly. Because they are so laid back, they are one of the least likely breeds to get separation anxiety, making them perfect for people who work full time. But they are also extremely affectionate and will require a lot of love and cuddles when you get home!

2. Maltese

Maltese dogs are easy-going, affectionate, playful, fearless, and sweet-natured. They are known for their extremely loving reunions when you return from a day out. Maltese dogs are low maintenance in terms of training and exercise, requiring only a 20-30 minute walk a day, but their coats do need brushing two or three times a week.

They are a very intelligent breed and have been known to get separation anxiety. So it is best to focus on expending their mental energy as well as their physical energy every day when you’re at home. Mental stimulation is just as important as exercise for all dogs, but especially highly intelligent breeds. Without it, they become bored, anxious, and destructive as a result.

maltese dogs are easy going
Maltese dogs are low maintenance.

3. Chihuahua

Whilst they can have a lot of energy, Chihuahuas are so small (the smallest, in fact!) that their energy is often expended with a couple of short walks a day. They’re also low maintenance in terms of their fur and are fiercely loyal and adaptable.

They can be prone to separation anxiety when alone, so it might be a good idea to adopt two. Chihuahuas are famously known for being much happier and less aggressive when they have a sibling – and it’s not like they take up much space!

4. Greyhound

An extremely low maintenance breed, the Greyhound is a gentle homebody. Despite being famous for their skinny frame, speed, and love of running, in between their walks, they are one of the biggest couch potatoes around.

Greyhounds need two 20-30 minute walks a day and minimal, infrequent grooming. They are affectionate, quiet, intelligent, and it is unusual for them to suffer from separation anxiety. They have an anxious nature, but this pertains to ex-racing Greyhounds and rescues.

5. Akita

Akitas are well suited to spending time home alone because of their low energy levels. It’s rare for Akitas to get separation anxiety due to their independent, headstrong nature. That said, it doesn’t mean they don’t miss you when you’re out, as they are a very faithful breed. Their fur requires weekly brushing and they need 30 minutes – 1 hour of exercise a day.

However, they’re not really a breed for first-time owners, as they require extensive training and socialization. Akitas can be domineering and aggressive towards other dogs and suspicious of strangers. Although they do have an affinity with children.

6. Shiba Inu

Shiba Inus are known for being extremely independent. They are bold, confident, fearless, and territorial. Whilst this can make them less affectionate than some of the other breeds on this list, it also means they are unlikely to experience separation anxiety, making them a good fit for people who work full time.

But don’t think they don’t love you – Shiba Inus are fiercely loyal and protective over their owners. However, due to their strong-willed stubbornness, they may not be the right fit for first-time owners. They need 45 minutes – 1 hour of exercise a day, brushing once a week during shedding times, and twice a month during non-shedding times.

7. Chow Chow

Whilst these dogs look cuddly, Chow Chows are not particularly affectionate and quite like having time to themselves. This doesn’t mean they don’t love you – they’re very loyal dogs. But they’re also hugely independent, quiet, and as a result, don’t mind being home alone.

It is rare for these dogs to get separation anxiety and they only need 30 minutes of exercise a day, making them a good fit for full-time workers. But possibly not first time owners as they can be aggressive towards other dogs. Their coats are also quite high-maintenance and need 4 brush sessions a week, but it’s a definite head-turner if you’re willing to commit!

How to Take Care of a Dog If You Work Full Time

You know your dog best. But below, we’ve compiled a list of the best ways to combat doggie loneliness while you’re at work.

Bring Your Dog to Work

The perfect solution! If your working environment is suitable for dogs – and your dog is well behaved – consider taking them to work with you. Just make sure they have access to what they need, and that your boss doesn’t mind!

According to Petfinder, 19% of dog owners now take their dog to work at least once a month in the US, and this number is growing. Research suggests that dogs in the workplace actually improve the health and stress levels of employees.

Work From Home

Alternatively, you could enquire about working from home. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, around 20% of people in the United States worked from home full-time. Whilst this may not be possible for every job, more and more companies are incorporating part-time home working. In fact, between 2014 and 2019, it rose by 44% and this is only set to increase as a result of the pandemic.

Create a Dog-Friendly Environment at Home

Make sure they have everything they need when you’re at work; a cozy bed, water, and lots of toys to keep them company! Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise, so having access to toys and games is essential. But, of course, don’t leave them alone with anything that is a choking hazard! If one of your dog’s mealtimes occurs when you’re at work, you could invest in an automatic feeder.

Leaving the radio on tuned to a station where there’s lots of talking may also help them feel less lonely. Never shut a dog in one room, especially one without windows. This will make them feel extremely isolated and depressed.

Deal With Any Separation Anxiety

Rescue dogs and certain breeds, for example, Border Collies, are more prone to separation anxiety than others. Separation anxiety is when your pet feels overwhelming anxiety from being apart from you, as they’re scared something bad will happen. You know your dog has separation anxiety if they bark or cry incessantly when you leave the house, or behave destructively towards themselves and your home. For example, licking, scratching or biting themselves, or tearing up the furniture. Other behaviors include going to the toilet indoors even though they’re house trained, pacing, hiding, and trying to escape.

The best way to deal with this is to make sure they expend a lot of physical exercise before you go out; take them for a long walk, play a game, etc. Mental stimulation is just as important, especially for particularly intelligent breeds like Border Collies, Poodles, or German Shepherds.

Start by only leaving them for a short while, and gradually increase the length of time. Make sure they associate you leaving and coming home with something positive, so give them a special treat as you leave the house and make a big fuss of them when you come back. Once they realize being alone is nothing to worry about and that you will always come back, the separation anxiety will stop. If you’re worried about your pet being home alone, you could always invest in a pet camera that lets you see what’s going on. Some alert you when your dog barks and others let you speak to your pet from your phone.

dog owners who work full time
Your pup might get separation anxiety while you are at work.

Get Them a Sibling

If you’re worried about your dog getting lonely, you could always get them a sibling! Of course, this does mean an extra dog to look after. But if you adopt two low maintenance dogs, you have the space & can afford it – why not? This is not a first choice decision though, be sure to consult a behaviorist before this big life-long decision.

Ask Somebody Over

If you have a close friend or relative with a lot of free time, perhaps someone who is retired, that loves dogs and whom your dog also loves – ask them to visit during the day! Ask if they’d mind sitting and playing with your dog for an hour.

Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, recommends that dogs aren’t left for more than four hours at a time. So, if you work 9-5 and can get someone to drop in halfway through the day, it will make a massive difference to your dog and break up the time they spend alone.

It’s important to have the phone number of somebody you know who lives nearby, perhaps a neighbor, to call in case of an emergency. For example, if your train home is late and you know your dog will need to go to the toilet, they can go over and help you out.

Hire a Sitter or a Walker

If you don’t personally know anyone that can come over and check on your dog when you’re at work, there are plenty of people you can hire to do the job.

You can hire dog sitters, trainers, walkers, and joggers to come in and check on them, keep them company, play with them, or take them on a nice walk. The working day is a long time to go without exercise, especially for bigger dogs, and if your dog isn’t one to play alone, this could be really beneficial to them and their overall health.

You can use the popular website Rover to find services near you.

Doggy Daycare

Alternatively, there are doggie daycare centers out there. While this option can be more expensive, at least you know you’re leaving them with professionals! Find local doggy daycares by typing ‘dog daycare near me’ into your web search engine.

Do your research, find a reputable, well respected, trustworthy daycare with good reviews, and visit it before making your choice. Dog daycares should never consist of leaving the dogs in cages all day. They should be full of fun and run by dog lovers.

It is worth noting that dogs get a lot of socialization with other dogs (and people) in doggy daycares. Typically, this is a huge plus, especially for younger dogs, but if your dog is nervous of strangers and/or other dogs, this might not be the right option for them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many questions arise when discussing low-maintenance dog breeds and how to deal with dog ownership while working hard to build a career. Here are your most common questions answered concisely.

What is the best breed for a full-time worker?

If you want a low-maintenance dog in terms of grooming and exercise that is unlikely to experience separation anxiety, a laid-back breed such as a Greyhound or Basset Hound may be for you.

Can puppies be left home alone?

Puppies below 6 months old shouldn’t be left alone for more than one hour per their monthly age, for example, a two-month-old puppy shouldn’t be left for more than two hours. This is because their bladder control works by the same rules.

Puppies should be crated until they know right from wrong, otherwise, they could endanger themselves by chewing something dangerous.

How long can dogs be left during the day?

The UK’s leading dog welfare charity Dog’s Trust recommends that you never leave a dog alone for longer than four hours at a time.

If you’re at work for longer than that, enquire about doggy daycare or having somebody come over and check on them halfway through the day.

How do you take care of a dog if you work full-time?

Make sure to get the most out of the time you do have each day with your dog. Go for nice walks, play games, and show them lots of affection.

Dogs shouldn’t be left for more than 4 hours at a time, so if you’re working more than that a day, try to visit home in your lunch break or ask somebody else to. This could be a neighbor, friend, or family member. Alternatively, you could hire a dog sitter or walker, or take them to a local doggy daycare center. 

Is it ok to leave a dog home alone for 8 hours?

You shouldn’t leave your dog alone for 8 hours. If you’re working an 8 hour day, try to have a neighbor, friend, family member, or dog sitter/walker come in and spend some time with them. 
In 8 hours, they will definitely need some kind of social interaction, and likely the toilet too.

Is it cruel to crate dogs while at work?

Some people leave their dogs in a crate when they go out. Though this is a less desirable option, it can be done for no more than 4 hours at a time. The crate should be placed in a well-lit room with windows. It should have a bed and your dog should have access to water, some toys, and room to stand up and move around. 

A crate is a better option for less active dogs that like sleeping most of the day. That said, make sure your dog’s crate training is done properly. It should begin with a short amount of time spent in the crate, associated with something positive, like a special treat, and the time spent inside it should gradually be built up and get longer.

We hope this answered whether you should adopt a dog when working full time. Are you a full-time worker looking to adopt? Which breed do you think you’ll go for? Tell us in the comments!

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