As pawrents return to the office post-lockdown, many dogs are being left home alone for the first time in months - or for the first time ever if they were welcomed into the family during the pandemic.
New research shows that over a third of dogs (36%) will be left home alone for three and a half days a week, for over five hours a day.
When asked about their plans for their pooches, 27% of owners said that their dogs would spend their time at dog day care at an average cost of £15.80 per day, and 35% will be left with a friend or family member.
But for some owners, this isn’t possible, so the only thing we can do is make sure they’re happy and comfortable at home.
Comparethemarket.com, the price comparison site, has now revealed which rooms your dog feels most settled in when left alone - and the one they don’t want to be left in.
Using heart rate monitors, they carried out a study on five different dog breeds, to find which locations make them feel the most at ease when home alone and which should be avoided.
Using the dogs’ average resting heart rate of 68.2 BPM as a reference point, the research showed that dogs’ average heart rates were lowest in the kitchen/dining room (71.2 BPM), followed by the living room (71.8 BPM), suggesting these are the rooms that dogs feel most comfortable in.
In contrast, dogs were the most distressed when left in the bedroom (100.4 BPM) and the porch (99.8 BPM).
Here are the dogs that took part in the study:
Expert opinion suggests that our pooches associate both the kitchen and living room as areas with positive outcomes; they eat their meals in the kitchen, and the living room is a space for dogs to snuggle up with their owners either on the couch or at their feet, or where they enjoy playing.
Dr Heather Venkat explains: “Dogs may become confused if left in the bedroom as they know their owners only use this space for sleep. Additionally, some dogs don’t like confined spaces and therefore areas such as your porch may make them feel more uncomfortable than the kitchen or living room.”
Chris King, head of home insurance at comparethemarket.com, added: “For many, leaving your dog home alone when you’re at work is unavoidable, but it is important to both make sure they’re comfortable.
“Sometimes damage from leaving your pet at home comes with the territory so you should check your home insurance plan to ensure you’re covered.
“A fifth (20%) of pet owners risk having their insurance claim rejected because their insurance providers aren’t aware they have a dog at home. As we know, pets can cause damage in our homes which may cost a lot of money to fix. Therefore it’s important to check which provider extends their cover to include animals. The best place to check is in the accidental damage section of the policy. Read what is and isn’t covered and look at whether ‘damage caused by pets’ is excluded.”