Lately, I have been working long hours, and my dogs have not gotten their usual attention. They haven't been able to go to the dog park, go for walks or interact with me.
My newest dog, Grayson, is still young and chews things up. This could be because he wants attention, he just likes doing it, or he is bored and needs to release some energy.
When I take my dogs to the park or the beach to let them run, Grayson is less destructive afterward because he is so tired. A tired dog makes moms happy.
But what should I do while working so many hours?
Luckily, I have some friends who will pick up my dogs and take them to the dog park so they can play. I have had to pay a dog walker on days when my friends cannot take my dogs. Lucky for me, my dog walker is good and even sits with the dogs for a while to entertain them after their walk.
Because I have been working 15-hour days, these are my two best options. However, others might have more.
If you are a runner, you can take your dog with you as a way to spend time together. If you are not a runner but you have a friend who is, see if your friend would like to take your dog along. It is a benefit for the runner and the dog: Everyone gets exercise and socialization. And who wouldn't want a beautiful, fun dog by his or her side while running?
Another way you can provide for your dogs while at work is doggy day care. Some people think this sounds crazy, but trust me, it is a great thing!
Doggy day care not only provides your dog with stimulation, but it is also a good socializing tool. In the Tampa Bay area, there are many places where you can take a dog as long as the pet socialized. Putting your dog in day care is a good way to help improve socialization.
Before you go, make sure your dog's shots are up to date, and take the records to the facility. I also suggest touring the facility. If the place will not allow tours, then it probably is not a good place to leave your dog.
On the tour, look to see if there are indoor and outdoor play areas. Is there a grassy area for the dog to relieve himself or herself?
What about air conditioning? Is there someone in the play area at all times?
Look to see if large and small dogs are separated. Sometimes, little dogs think they are big, but I would not want to put a Great Dane and a Chihuahua in the same play area.
Are there web cameras for you to see your dog playing? Does the facility give time outs for the dogs to relax outside of the play area? Is the facility clean?
Before you can enroll your dog in day care, all vaccinations must be up to date. It is like sending your child to school – someone could be sick and not know it until after going home. Instead of getting upset with a family who didn’t know a dog was sick, make sure your dog is vaccinated.
Pay attention to your dog's actions at the facility. If you took your dog to day care once and you are going back, does your dog seem scared or excited to go? If your pet is excited, then it is a safe bet that the animal was treated well and ready for more fun.
Lastly, don’t feel guilty about leaving your dogs in day care; they get to see their friends and play!
Here are some St. Petersburg pet sitters: