Am I a Bad Pet Owner If I Leave My Dog Alone for 10 Hours a Day?

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Think about getting your dog a friend. This can be a cat (they absolutely can be good buddies if you introduce them properly) or another dog.

If a second pet is more than you can commit to, arrange for another dog to come visit. Talk to a friend or neighbor about exchanging a playdate time — her dog comes to your house when she has to be gone or vice versa. Of course, this works only if the dogs are already friendly toward each other.

You might also need to hire some help. Depending on your dog’s activity level and athleticism and bladder control, bring in a dog walker to take him for a walk or run, or a pet sitter to play with him in your home. If he enjoys playing with other dogs, look for a doggie day care or dog camp in your area where he can spend the day while you're gone.

When you are home, give your dog some quality time. For a quick outing, take him with you when you run errands. Choose ones where you don't have to leave him in the car, such as picking up the kids from school, going to the drive-thru at the bank or buying food at the pet supply store.

Go for a walk, every day, and give him plenty of sniffing time. Play hide-and-seek games such as nose work. Practice his obedience commands. Beyond his walk, which should be an appropriate distance and speed for his breed and age, just a few minutes of these activities will enrich your relationship with your dog, even if he spends a chunk of the day without you.

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