How to Keep Your Dog Happy While Working Full Time

As dog parents, we wish we could just hang with our pups 24/7. But having a full-time gig means being away from home for long work days. I totally get it! Our energetic fur balls thrive on playtime and snuggles with their fave humans,which might make you wonder about the depth of our pups' understanding of our feelings. For more insight into the emotional bonds we share with our dogs, check out our article on whether can dogs understand human emotions?

But don’t stress, friend! With a little effort you can absolutely keep your tail-wagger happy and healthy, even when grinding at the office or job site all day. I know it seems tough, but this is so doable. There are lots of ways to set your pooch up for success while you’re gone.

Dachshunds in Waffle Striped Dog Pajamas

The key is meeting their needs for exercise, brain games, comfy chill zones, and snuggle time before and after work. Your pup might miss ya, but they can learn to roll with solo time with the right care.

Trust me, with some planning around walks, playtime, fun toys and yummy chews, your furry BFF can totally thrive while you go crush it at the office! Let’s chat about the pro tips and tricks to keep your doggo smiling during your 9 to 5.

Get Moving! Keeping Your Dog Active

Physical activity is so important for our canine buddies while we’re gone during work hours. Here are some great ways to keep your dog active and burn off energy:

  • Dog Walker: Hire a dog walker for midday exercise and one-on-one playtime.
  • Doggy Daycare: Let your dog play and socialize at daycare 1-2 days per week.But how do you know if your dog is actually enjoying their time at these centers? If you're curious about this, you might want to read our guide on how to tell if your dog likes doggy daycare centers.
  • Dog Door: Install a dog door so your dog can access your secure, fenced yard.
  • Family/Friends: Have trusted people stop by to walk and play with your dog.
  • Pet Sitter: Hire a pet sitter for supervised play sessions tailored to your dog’s needs.

Aim for 30-60 minutes of vigorous activity like walking, running, playing fetch, or free play. Exercise prevents boredom and destructive behaviors in dogs left home alone all day. An active dog is a happy, well-behaved dog!

Morkie in a Lemon Dog Dress
Instagram: hattiemaethemorkie

Keeping Your Dog Happy When You’re at Work

Engage Their Brain

Rotate puzzle toys and games daily to keep your pup mentally stimulated. Boredom leads to destructive behaviors when left alone. Options like Kongs, snuffle mats, and food puzzles provide much-needed mental exercise and help prevent boredom.

Create a Cozy Retreat

Set up a crate, bed, or gated area just for your furry friend to relax in when home alone during the workday. Make it comfortable with soft beds, water, chew toys and calming music or TV. This dedicated safe space really helps ease anxiety for young or rescue dogs.

Pomeranian in a Pink Plaid Dog Summer Dress

Practice Low-Key Departures

Avoid prolonged emotional goodbyes or hellos when leaving for work and returning home. Come and go matter-of-factly, limit eye contact, and use a neutral, low-key tone of voice. This prevents separation anxiety by reinforcing that your leaves and returns are normal, routine events.

Make Solo Time Fun

Keep high-value chews and puzzle toys only for your dog’s independent playtime while you’re at work. Frozen Kongs are great too. Having something special prevents boredom and loneliness for your pup while you’re gone during the day.

Plan Social Time

Hire a dog walker, book daycare, or ask a trusted friend or pet sitter to visit your dog midday. Even 30 minutes of companionship provides potty breaks, exercise, and reduces stress for social dogs home alone all day.

Dog in Ruffle Sleeves Lemon Dog Dress
Instagram: badgal_sofie

Nurture Your Bond

Make sure to schedule 15-30 minutes for walks, play, training, massages, or cuddling with your dog morning and evening. This focused daily individual attention maintains your unique friendship despite busy work schedules.

Set Up Meal Routine

Use automatic feeders or take time to pre-portion your dog’s meals on your days off. Sticking to consistent feeding times provides comfort and schedule reliability for your pup when you can’t be there during work hours.

Fuel Your Bond Before and After Work

I know being apart from your furry BFF all day is hard. But you can stay connected with quality time together before and after work! This focused fun will keep your bond tight.

Start your day on a positive note with an energetic morning walk or rousing game of fetch. Get those zoomies out! Short training sessions also engage your dog’s smarty pants mind.

Morkie in a Rainbow Dog Dress
Instagram: hattiemaethemorkie

When it’s time to head out, give your pup a stuffed Kong to spark joy for their independent playtime.

Then, at day's end, reunite with belly rubs and snuggles! Your dog missed you like crazy, so make up for lost time with a fun adventure, favorite games, and chill couch time. Massages are a hit too, and if you've ever wondered why do dogs like belly rub?there are actually some fascinating reasons behind this affectionate interaction.

By bookending your workday with doggo playdates, you meet their needs for activity, affection and brain power. You’ll come home to a happy, calm pup ready to hear about your day!

Shihtzu in a Green Polka Dot Dog Dress
Instagram: wakanda_shihtzu

With your schedules aligned, your dog feels secure and loved. Solo time during the workday becomes easier when they know quality time is guaranteed before and after. You’ve so got this whole work-life balance thing down!

Socialization and Breaks with Daycare or Pet Sitters

Step 1: Consider doggy daycare 1-2 days per week for social pups. This provides full days of playtime and interaction.
Step 2: If daycare isn’t possible, hire a pet sitter to visit midday. They can provide potty breaks, playtime, treats, and affection.
Step 3: Look into costs for daycare and pet sitter services in your area to fit your budget.

Morkie in a Lemon Denim Dog Dress
Instagram: hattiemaethemorkie

Step 4: For high energy dogs, choose daycares that offer vigorous outdoor play. This provides exercise.
Step 5: For anxious dogs, choose pet sitters who can provide calming companionship and confidence boosts.
Step 6: On daycare/sitter days, leave a stuffed Kong or chew toy to occupy them when you’re gone.
Step 7: Always start and end days with quality time together. Daycare/sitters supplement this daily bonding.

Maltese in a UV Sun Protection Dog Shirt
Instagram: popcorn_desiderio

Step 8: Monitor your dog’s stress levels and adjust daycare or sitter frequency as needed.
Step 9: Appreciate the socialization, exercise, potty breaks, and affection daycare and pet sitters provide your pup!


While working full-time poses challenges for dog ownership, it is very possible to keep your dog happy and healthy with some planning. By providing exercise, mental stimulation, training, socialization, and meeting all their basic needs, your dog can thrive even when you are away at work. A little effort to set your dog up for success will result in a well-adjusted canine companion.