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When we’re off to work, visiting friends, or running errands, leaving our dogs at home is always something we don’t look forward to (by the way, check out our article on Dog-friendly Stores). However, sometimes it’s necessary to leave them at home, however hard it may be.

It’s common for pet parents to worry about how to stop a dog from getting bored. We’ll explain how to keep your dog entertained.

Highlights
  • Signs of dog boredom: chewing, digging, barking.
  • Differentiate boredom from conditions like separation anxiety.
  • Dog sports & training classes stimulate mind and body.
  • Variety of toys, like puzzle toys, keep dogs active.
  • Long walks before leaving can reduce dog boredom.

Disclaimer: Please refer to the information in this article as a guide only. If you are worried or have questions regarding your pet, it’s best to consult your veterinarian.

Signs of boredom in dogs

Like us, dogs enjoy having something to do and will primarily benefit physically and mentally from some kind of enrichment or play during the day.

According to this article by the American Kennel Club,

To help keep your dog healthy, veterinarians recommend:

Signs of doggy boredom can include:

  • Destroying and chewing your belongings or furniture.
  • Digging or taking rubbish out of bins.
  • Barking.

It’s essential to get to the bottom of your pet’s behavior and ensure it’s due to boredom and nothing else. This can be tricky to work out, as signs of boredom could resemble something more serious such as ‘Separation Anxiety‘.

But why do dogs get bored?

Often the main reason for a dog getting bored is that they aren’t having enough enrichment at home. This could be due to insufficient physical exercise, mental stimulation, or interaction with their owners.

It’s important to differentiate boredom behavior from conditions such as separation anxiety.

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If you’re finding it hard to have the time to play with your dog or stimulate your dog during a walk, then you might want to consider pet walking, doggy daycare, and pet sitting services.

Let’s not take a look at ways to keep your dog happy and free from boredom.

Ways to keep your dog happy 

Dogs are intelligent, and keeping them happy can take a variety of methods. If your dog has any kind of physical condition, we recommend checking with your veterinarian before participating in dog sports or training classes.

Dog sports

If you can sign up for a dog sport activity, this could be a great way to introduce your dog to new friends, learn a different skill, and exercise your dog all in one. Frisbee or agility encourages your dog to exercise their mind and body, helping them feel more relaxed at home.

Your dog trainer can advise you about the different dog sports suitable for your dog’s breed, age, and physical ability.

Dog Training Classes

Training is a fun way to keep your dog interested and has many benefits for them and you. Dog training will help engage your dog and give them something to think about, not to mention tiring them out so that they enjoy a good rest when you get them home.

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You can teach your dog various tricks and skills, which you can then practice at home and incorporate into your dog’s routine.

Whether you attend a class and allow your dog to make new four-legged friends, or you attend a private dog training class, it’s something your pet will enjoy.

Toys

It may sound obvious, but giving your dog a variety of toys and things to play with, is a great way to keep both their mind and their body active.

We’ve given some examples below:

Toys can even be incorporated into mealtimes using special mats, hidden treat balls, and puzzle toys. It’s also good fun to get your pet involved by taking them with you to the shop when you go to buy their toys.

When it comes to entertaining your pet with toys, we’d like to mention a couple of things:

  • Be sure to replace your dog’s toys when they become worn. This helps decrease the risk of them breaking and your dog accidentally ingesting small harmful pieces.
  • Wash the toys regularly to help reduce the build-up of dirt and bacteria and help keep them in good condition.
  • If your pet has lots of toys, try to give them in rotation.

Give them something to chew

Similar to giving your dog a new toy, if your dog likes chewing and gets bored when left alone, then a great way to get over their boredom could be giving them a chew toy.

Be sure to choose a veterinarian-approved toy made from pet-friendly material and an appropriate size for your dog’s mouth. It’s also best to be sure to supervise your pet when they’re chewing, in case they damage their teeth or mouth.

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Ways to keep your dog from getting bored when they’re home alone

Let’s now look at some boredom busters to keep your pup entertained when they’re home alone.

Give them a new toy

Giving a bored puppy or older dog toys to keep them entertained while you’re away is a good way to beat dog boredom. They’ll surely be happy to enjoy some time playing while you’re away.

Another idea is to make your dog work for their food by incorporating a toy into their food time. For example, using special mats or reward balls. You could also leave different toys around the house, as dogs are often exploring when left at home alone.

It’s probably not feasible to buy your dog a new toy each time you need to make sure they aren’t bored however, you can also trial making your DIY dog toys using the following materials:

  • Plastic bottles.
  • Old toilet rolls.
  • Scrap fabric and material.

Put the radio on

Dogs get bored just like us, and this can happen more quickly when they think they are alone. By leaving the radio on when you’re away from the house, you could help keep your dog from feeling lonely and bored. They’ll often appreciate the sound of background noise, and you can also set it on a time if you don’t want it on the whole time.

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Background sound can help calm your pet and make them feel relaxed even when you’re not at home. You can even find some music channels dedicated to pets.

Take them on a long walk before you go

Letting your dog run off some steam at the dog park or on their favorite walk can help their situation when you need to leave them at home. A tired dog, who’s run off enough energy, will likely feel more relaxed when you take them home and is less likely to get into trouble.

Taking your dog for a long walk before you leave them gives them plenty of dog stop-and-sniff time and the opportunity to take enough toilet breaks. If they’ve had plenty of time to explore and sniff, then often they will be happy to come home and rest while they wait for you to return.

Frequently asked questions

Let’s now take a look at the most frequently asked questions relating to the topic of how to prevent boredom in dogs.

Do dogs get bored being home all day?

In circumstances where they don’t have enough to do, it’s not surprising to hear that, yes, dogs can get bored when they are at home all day. No matter why you must leave your dog alone, it’s essential to consider how to keep your dog engaged to help them feel comfortable and decrease the chances of them feeling stressed.

It’s more likely for a dog to get bored when they are left alone if they don’t have toys to play with or a comfy place to sleep. It’s also important to ensure they always have access to plenty of clean, fresh water and that all their dog needs are met. By this, we mean having plenty of toilet breaks, even when you’re not there. This might mean asking a friend, pet sitter, or dog walker to let your dog out.

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Do I need to entertain my dog all day?

It’s a good idea for dogs to have some kind of entertainment during the day, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the entertainment has always been directly related to pet parents.

Dogs love interacting with us humans, whether it be at the park, during a training class, or when you take your dog for a walk. It’s unlikely we can dedicate our whole day every day to a dog or puppy, but it is vital to make sure we have dedicated time during the day to cater to their every need.

Having a dog is a rewarding experience, and entertaining them is a fun and relaxing part of that and helps strengthen the dog-pet-parent bond.

It’s a good idea to think about how you’ll keep your dog entertained before you bring them home for the first time. This will help you to be fully prepared and keep your dog as happy as possible. However, sometimes circumstances change and you may not have as much time for your pet as previously. However, don’t worry. A range of toys and pet-sitting services help you care for your pet.

Is it OK for a dog to do nothing all day?

The answer to this question depends on your dog’s character and the situation. We’ll look at a few scenarios below:

  • Your dog is at home alone all day and tolerates it quite well. One day you come home and see that they are acting abnormally, or there is evidence of them being stressed while you were away. In this case, we’d recommend you check your pet and home for possible problems, and if you find something abnormal or are unsure, contact your veterinarian.
  • Your dog is at home by itself and has constant access to fresh water, food (if necessary), a cozy bed to sleep in, and some entertainment in the form of toys. In this case, if you have a family member, pet sitter, or friend coming to check on them, then it’s okay if your pet does ‘nothing’ all day if they have enough exercise and walks during the day.
  • Your usually very active dog suddenly or slowly starts to become less active and has less energy. This may be accompanied by other signs, such as changes in appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. In this case, we recommend taking your dog to a veterinarian for a thorough check-up.

To help keep your dog healthy, veterinarians recommend:

  • Treating your pet against endo and ectoparasites.
  • Yearly veterinary check-ups.
  • Regular dental examinations and cleaning.
  • Feeding high-quality pt food in the appropriate amounts.
  • Ensuring your dog gets adequate exercise each day.

Why does my dog do nothing all day?

The answer to this question depends on your dog’s character if all their needs in terms of eating and drinking, exercise, and toilet breaks are met.

If your pet is usually pretty relaxed and enjoys sleeping when they’re not out walking, it is probably okay for them if they don’t do much during the day. However, if your usually very active dog is bored or doesn’t want to do anything, then you might want to check if everything is ok.

Conclusion

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article about why a dog may feel bored and what you can do to help them. Bored dogs often are missing some enrichment, however in a few small steps you can help your dog find something to keep their mind interested, and their body healthy.