How to Make Sure Your Pet is Fed While You’re At Work
By Samantha Randall – YouTuber, podcaster and editor-in-chief at Top Dog Tips
It’s a challenge taking care of a pet (albeit a rewarding one), but it’s particularly difficult when you work long hours or need to constantly travel. Your primary task when leaving your dog or cat alone at home is to make sure they have plenty of water available and are well-fed.
I’ve since switched to working from home, but a few years ago I used to stay at my job for extended periods of time, worrying about my dogs and cats at home. This made me seek out ways to ensure they’re fed and develop some systems for it. So how can you accomplish this with the most ease and efficiency, and make sure that your “pet home alone” system is foolproof? Here are some ideas:
• Use a food dispenser with a timer.
- While you’re at work: There are a lot of great timed food dispensers for all kinds of pets. They work by releasing a fixed amount of food in your pet’s bowl at certain time intervals. One downside is that they work mainly with kibble food, but that’s ok for once or twice per day, while you’re at work.
- While you’re traveling: Another downside of timed food dispensers is that if you are out of town for a while they might run out of food. If you are away for a while, arrange for someone to refill the food dispenser.
• Ask a neighbor or a friend to come and feed your pet while you are gone. (For dogs: friends with dogs that you know from the dog park are a great option for this, as you can return the favor when they need it.)
- Asking a trusty neighbor or a friend to come and feed your pet while are at work is usually the best option. An additional benefit is that your pet will have a visitor to interact with.
- For longer periods of time this is an even better option as it will save you a lot of money on some of the other options we’ll mention below. It can be tiresome for your friend, however, so they need to really be ok with it.
• Bring your pet to a friend’s home.
- This can be tricky with cats, but for dogs or caged pets, this is a good option. It’s usually unnecessary for just while you’re at work, however. Also, you’d need to make sure that your friend’s place is suitable for your pet.
- For longer periods of time this can be a great option – your pet will always be fed and will always have company. You just need to make sure that your pet will be ok with the temporary relocation, as well as that your friend is really ok with it and their home is suitable for your pet.
• Hire a professional pet sitter to come and feed your pet while you are gone.
- If you don’t want to bother a friend, there are professional pet sitters that can come while you are gone and feed/take care of your pet. They can be pricey if you are doing this 5 days a week, however.
- If you are traveling for a bit, pet sitters can be an even better option, as they will give your pet some company while keeping it well fed.
• Bring your pet to a pet sitter’s home.
- Taking your pet to a sitter’s home every day while you’re at work can be tiresome and stressful for the pet.
- For more significant periods of time, however, this can be a good option. You’ll need to make sure that your pet is ok with a temporary relocation.
• For a dog, you can also bring him to a kennel.
- Doing this on a daily basis every time you’re at work is too excessive.
- While you are traveling, however, a kennel can be a good choice. It’s usually too stressful for cats, but for a dog it can be ok. Most people have a bad impression of dog kennels, but a lot of modern dog kennels are quite advanced. They offer good conditions, your dog will always be well fed and taken care of, and there will be a lot of options for socializing with other dogs. Dog kennels are usually not expensive, so this is a good, cheap option for longer periods of time.
• Take your dog to a pet day care service or a pet center.
- There are a lot of nice or even luxurious pet centers that can offer your dog or cat a good time while you are at work, as well as feed them.
- Pet centers can also be a great option for longer periods of time, but they can be a bit pricey and are not suitable for everyone’s budget.
• Board your pet with your local veterinarian.
- A lot of veterinarians offer pet boarding services as well. Like kennels and pet centers, this may be too stressful for your pet if you need to do it on a daily basis, 5 times a week.
- For longer periods of time, a veterinarian with a good boarding facility can be a good option. However, it all depends on the veterinarian and the facilities they offer. If your pet will just sit there, caged for days, this is obviously not a great idea. If the veterinarian has facilities that of a good enough quality, however, this option can be as good as kennels or pet centers (plus, the option for immediate veterinary care if need be).
There are quite a lot of options if you need your pet to be well fed and taken care of while you’re away. Some are more suitable for dogs, others – for cats. Some are better for separate short-term occasions, others are preferable for long-lasting absence. But whatever your situation is, there is always an appropriate solution.