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Old 27.01.2021, 16:53
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Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Hello,

I work 8 hours a day, with a lunch time being at home. I have always wanted to get a cat or a dog or both because I love animals so much but I don't know if leaving one at home for that long will depress them. If it's too much for a dog, then do you feel the same way for a cat?

I live in a studio with a balcony for now, but I plan to move out so I can offer the pets more space to roam around. I could buy one then but it will take some time to find the right place
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Old 27.01.2021, 17:20
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Do not get a pet and leave it alone for long periods of time with only a studio apartment.

With a nice sized home and/or access to the outdoors, 8 hours per day would be just fine for a cat that isn't too needy. With a dog, you would need a sitter to come walk it every day/allow it to go to the bathroom & that is expensive in this country.
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Old 27.01.2021, 17:23
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

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Hello,

I work 8 hours a day, with a lunch time being at home. I have always wanted to get a cat or a dog or both because I love animals so much but I don't know if leaving one at home for that long will depress them. If it's too much for a dog, then do you feel the same way for a cat?

I live in a studio with a balcony for now, but I plan to move out so I can offer the pets more space to roam around. I could buy one then but it will take some time to find the right place
Can’t really speak for dogs. We have always (except for short intervals) TWO cats. They have always been OK with short absences up to 3 or 4 days. They entertain each other and really appreciate a colleague to assist in their planning to rule the world, and napping.
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Old 27.01.2021, 17:31
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

For me, the answer is absolutely NO for a dog, and NO for a cat.

But more importantly- can you garantee a cat a home forever, for 25+ years (our last cat, a rescue, lived to be at least 26 and possibly more).
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Old 27.01.2021, 17:45
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Most dogs cannot - and should not - be left for 8 hours.

Four hours can be do-abe with some dogs, so popping home over lunch might be workable with an older, settled, steady character, already trained dog, one that (important in Switzerland) absolutely does not bark.

But even four hours would not be do-able with many dogs. It's down to the individual. The question you have to ask yourself is: What if you find that your individual dog cannot be left for the 4 hours you are gone? What would you do?

If the answer is 'rehome the dog' then no - dog ownership is not for you at this time in your life.

---

Your schedule is an absolute no-go for a puppy. You must be at home 24/7 during the first critical developent months with a puppy... and some pups require you to be home for quite a bit longer.

Another period when you likely need to be around much of the day is puberty. 'Flausen im Kopf' and home alone generally do not go together well!

---

Dogs need both mental and physical stimulation in sufficient measure throughout the day. Yes, many sleep for a portion of the day, but by nature they are social animals, they need to be with you, interacting with you.

The amount needed varies widely by age, breed, character, but all dogs need 'enrichment' to their days. Not providing the necessary physical and mental stimulation can lead to behavior problems. And neighbor problems.

---

I'll stress that if a dog is not yet trained, leaving the dog alone can be a recipe for disaster. So much of training requires you to be on the spot, which is not possible if you are gone for 4 hours at a stretch. If you are not on the spot to redirect unacceptable behavior the dog can ingrain that behavior, and you have a doubly difficult task to re-traing that behavior out.

---

All of the Meloncollies quickly learned to 'amuse' themselves in my absence... and their definiton of amusement often did not fit mine! I have found that even when I leave the dogs for short periods it's best to give them something constructive to do - an interactive toy, a search game, a filled kong, etc - while I am gone to avoid the consequences of their self-directed amusement.

Most importantly, I had to train each dog to be able to be left - this doesn't happen on it's own. Think about whether your current schedule allows for the time needed to train your dog to live happily with your schedule.

---

Yes, people can work and have a dog, but you have to make provisions for their physical and mental well-being while you are gone.

That means you either hire a sitter to come over while you are gone, or a dog walker to visit to give the dogs the necessary bladder break and take them on an interesting walk or play games in your garden.

Another alternative is doggy day care, where you bring your dog to a sitter or Hort whie you are working.

Both options can be pricey, so you'd need to budget that in.

---

And be aware that finding a good dog carer can be difficult here. Nice-but-clueless folks offering dog care are fairly easy to find but truly good sitters and walker are are not. And unfortunatey there are some downright bad/irresponsible ones, so Augen Auf.

---

A working owner should research and potentially line up dog care well before bringing a dog home. In fact, many (perhaps most) rescues will ask about this during assessment and will not rehome to you if you do not have plans in place.

---

Another option, one I used back in the US when my first dog was an 'only', was to combine resources with a neighbor. Her dog and mine were already good friends, so her dog came over to my house each day and the two dogs could hang out together whie we each went to work to earn their kibble. We had a dog walker stop by during the day, and split the cost. Between our staggered schedules and the walker, the dogs were only left about 3 hours at a stretch. This kind of arrangement works well - providing you and the other owner are absolutely on the same page, and you have tested, tested, tested the relationship between the dogs.

---

Lastly - it goes without saying that your free time will be devoted to the dog. But hanging out with your dog is why you took on the joys of a furry best friend in the first place, wasn't it?




ETA:

I would strongly recommend that you take the National Hundehalter Brevet Theory course before you go much further mulling this over. This is a course that is designed as an introduction to the responsibilities and practicalities of dog ownership in Switzerland, designed to get you thinking about whether you are ready for dog ownership at this time. You can read more about it here:

https://www.tbb.ch/index.php?id=261

I've linked the TBB course as an example, because TBB is a rescue organization I admire. There are many trainers offering the NHB theory, I'm sure you can find someone in your area offering it.

Last edited by meloncollie; 28.01.2021 at 11:45.
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Old 27.01.2021, 19:19
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

A lot of cat owners do just this, but personally I'm never happy with the idea of indoor-only cats, one or two specific (odd) breeds apart.

If you do go down that road, then make sure you get more than one, ideally litter mates, and if possible (it never is, in reality) give them access to a balcony with some plants and perhaps an outside sand box, as well as a proper litter tray inside.

Of course, the problem with trying to get litter mates is that they're more likely to be kittens - we all love kittens, but up to at least six months old you really should not be regularly leaving them on their own for more than a couple of hours. All day every day from a young age just doesn't give them the stimulation they need so they'll tend to turn into neurotic adults. It's not fair on the animal.

So a better bet would be to go to a cat shelter and try to adopt an older cat (or a pair if you can) who's already used to living indoors all the time. Rescue cats can be so rewarding...
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Old 27.01.2021, 22:31
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Just don't. That's it. End of discussion.
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Old 27.01.2021, 22:56
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

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A lot of cat owners do just this, but personally I'm never happy with the idea of indoor-only cats, one or two specific (odd) breeds apart.

If you do go down that road, then make sure you get more than one, ideally litter mates, and if possible (it never is, in reality) give them access to a balcony with some plants and perhaps an outside sand box, as well as a proper litter tray inside.

Of course, the problem with trying to get litter mates is that they're more likely to be kittens - we all love kittens, but up to at least six months old you really should not be regularly leaving them on their own for more than a couple of hours. All day every day from a young age just doesn't give them the stimulation they need so they'll tend to turn into neurotic adults. It's not fair on the animal.

So a better bet would be to go to a cat shelter and try to adopt an older cat (or a pair if you can) who's already used to living indoors all the time. Rescue cats can be so rewarding...
Couldnt agree more! We have two older rescue cats, needless to say best choice ever
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Old 28.01.2021, 11:26
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

While most of the replies have valid points, one must wonder how on earth people in other countries do manage to have pets, when the person/people in the household work fulltime.... I am a little surprised with everyone's very strong "NO" but then again, when it is about pets on this forum...

I've lived in 6 countries and Switzerland is the first country where people can report you to the police if you leave your dog home over 5 hours straight. I love how Switzerland is has very high standards of animal welfare in general.

Yes dogs (never had a cat so can't speak for them) need exercise and stimulus and interaction but just like little kids, give them too much attention and they become overly attention seeking babies. With COVID and us being home 100%, in the beginning our dog kept bringing us toys when we were working. After a while he understood that our working time is working time. He does his own thing now and when he wants to be close, he taps our legs and we will pick him up and place him in his extra bed on a chair next to us. He knows when it is our lunch time or when our work is over and then he gets a nice walk and good play time.
(Pre-COVID, I worked from home a few days a week, my boyfriend would take our dog to his office a few days a week and once in a while he would be home alone when schedules did not work out. We left lights on, radio on (so it is not so silent for him), toys, bones to chew on etc etc. And he has a peeing pad. Yes, he is trained (all the dogs I've had in my life were as well) to go both in and outdoor and it's worked GREAT, especially at old age when it's harder for dogs to hold their bladder the whole night.)

It's about balance. What if you wanted to go skiing for a day and you can't take your dog with you? Get a dog sitter? You might get a dog walker to have it taken out but I don't think someone needs to come in to be with your dog all day.

The OP wrote he/she will be away for 8 hours BUT will be home for lunch. That's approx 4 hours in the morning of alone time and in the afternoon. If the dog gets a good walk & attention in the morning, another one during lunch and in the evening with some great playtime and lots of love, it will be a happy dog. People also miss the point that the OP said he/she is looking to move to a larger place, just to have a cat or dog.

To the OP, Meloncollie as always, has many very good points to consider when getting a dog specifically in Switzerland. Especially about barking and noise and how you would get along with your neighbors. I also agree it is important not to leave a puppy home alone. This is important bonding & training time. When my last dog died and I was ready for a new one again, my boss knew how much dogs mean in my life and he allowed me to work from home for 6 weeks, until we felt he was "big enough" (a chihuahua puppy ) for my boyfriend to take him to his office.

Very important when getting a pet: consider your lifestyle, what is important to you. If you love to go out and socialize all the time and can't take your pet with you, then it is not for you.
I LOVE animals and always wanted to have a big dog but with our lifestyle, a small dog suits us best. We take him everywhere with us, restaurants, hair salon, hiking, snow-shoe walking, all our vacations in Europe where flying is necessary, he is welcome at all our friends' homes and we have enough friends who want to dog-sit him. For us, we feel it is easier with a small dog.

Good luck with your decision. Once you have decided, just remember it is a 15 to 20+ years of commitment and it deserves your full care and love, but it will be the most loyal companion you will ever have in your life
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Old 28.01.2021, 11:31
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Quote:
A lot of cat owners do just this, but personally I'm never happy with the idea of indoor-only cats, one or two specific (odd) breeds apart.

If you do go down that road, then make sure you get more than one, ideally litter mates, and if possible (it never is, in reality) give them access to a balcony with some plants and perhaps an outside sand box, as well as a proper litter tray inside.

Of course, the problem with trying to get litter mates is that they're more likely to be kittens - we all love kittens, but up to at least six months old you really should not be regularly leaving them on their own for more than a couple of hours. All day every day from a young age just doesn't give them the stimulation they need so they'll tend to turn into neurotic adults. It's not fair on the animal.

So a better bet would be to go to a cat shelter and try to adopt an older cat (or a pair if you can) who's already used to living indoors all the time. Rescue cats can be so rewarding...
This. I was lucky enough to get two (of four) one year old litter mates from a rescue.
They are indoor cats, with no flap to the balcony so only have access when we are home, and the weather is good. But they grew up in a succession of animal shelters to never had an outdoors to speak of.
They each have their own day room to sleep (one prefers offspring’s bed, the other mine) but they have been caught snuggling sometimes.

Last edited by MsWorWoo; 28.01.2021 at 11:36. Reason: Adding indoor info
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Old 28.01.2021, 16:01
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

I couldn't agree more with Summergirl.

All over the world happy pets and full-time working owners manage to live in harmony. In Switzerland, it is somehow viewed as this absolute no-go.

If we had gone on a forum to ask if it was a good idea to get an australian shepherd puppy in an apartment to two full-time working owners (at least 9 hours when including commute) everyone would have likely responded negatively.

We knew from living in other countries that this CAN work. Of course, it requires compromises and planning and compensating in other ways. Of course, there were challenges along the way. Of course, one should recognise there will be inconveniences and extra costs along the way. But it IS possible. He is the happiest, best, most-loved, well-behaved doggo. When we are at home in fact, HE often ignores us for hours on end! He doesn't bark at all and other than one single flip-flop he has never damaged a thing inside the apartment.

To the OP, if you come home at lunch, I also don't think it's 'leaving alone for 8 hours', only 4 hours. If you have the time and energy to compensate in the morning, during lunch and when you get home, it IS absolutely doable. Animals and especially dogs, adjust to their lot in life and generally fit into YOUR life. It's not a crazy coincidence that all us dog-owners can't believe how lucky we are to have the best dog in the world...the dog adjusts to us and fits in.

I also think the pressure to 'have a garden' is overrated. Our dog never had this and he can't stand being on the balcony because of the occasional fly and wasp that flies by. Whenever we have had a garden area available on holiday, he would be absolutely devastated if we put him outside and closed the door. And he certainly would never go outside on his own unless we were also outside. Again, he has adapted to what he knows and he likes the inside more (unless accompanied by us).
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Old 28.01.2021, 18:21
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Having lived in houses that were next door to dog owners that left their pets all day, I would not recommend getting a dog. When I lived in E London there was a springer spaniel next door that started barking and howling 10 mins after the neighbours went out at 8 in the morning and it was constant until they returned at about 5 in the evening. I had to contact the environmental health noise team as it was coming from every room in their house and you could hear it from the street.

I then moved to a house next door to 2 women who had a well behaved dog, but then they decided to get a puppy which wasn't trained and the elder one then started having behaviour problems because it was obviously unsettled by the puppy. Again when they went to work the dogs barked constantly as they wanted to be in the garden. At that point we ran a company from an office in our house so the racket became a nightmare and we ended up moving.

In both cases we couldn't reason with the owners, they were convinced their dogs didn't bark.
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Old 28.01.2021, 18:31
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

I have a friend that often works long days and has a dog, but it spends the day with a dog sitter.... so there are options.
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Old 28.01.2021, 18:49
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

We have a cat. She leaves at 7 am and returns 7pm ish. We are both WfH. She probably is fed up of having us home all the time.
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Old 28.01.2021, 19:23
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

I'd say no to both in a small studio, but I think as long as you're committed to coming home at lunch then a dog is doable... 4 hours isn't a crazy long time, and as long as they're walked adequately then chances are that they may just spend the time you're not there sleeping. However, there is often the risk of them barking or howling when you're not there, and certain breeds take a LOT of walking to tire them out (partner's mum has a young poodle, takes at least two hours running in the woods before he KOs).
Given how you work, I'd vote for a cat, which is what I did. I believe that cats can be perfectly happy indoors (IMO, I prefer them being indoors as they're very bad for the ecosystem), but they need to be given appropriate stimulus. I feed mine once in the evening, and he gets all of his dry food in toys so it lasts him almost 24 hours, so he's always got food. He also has a laser pointer that's on a timer, and a few other timered toys which I change around so he doesn't get bored with them. I felt guilty initially about leaving him, but he learnt that as soon as I get home that he'd either get walked (yes, I walk my cat) or played with, and as a result he spends the entire day sleeping. So still requires a lot of time, but easier than a dog and less arsed about being at home IMO.
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Old 28.01.2021, 19:28
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

People go out to work still?
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Old 28.01.2021, 21:41
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

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I've lived in 6 countries and Switzerland is the first country where people can report you to the police if you leave your dog home over 5 hours straight. I love how Switzerland is has very high standards of animal welfare in general.
Only in Switzerland this story happened to a friend of mine and made it to the paper.

https://www.20min.ch/story/das-ist-g...d-976042963234

Google translated:
Recently, the Basel-Stadt canton police were alerted because a woman discovered a motionless dog in a window. She feared that something might have happened to the animal. When the police investigated the matter, they were relieved and amused to find that it was not a dog in need.

"A worried woman called us and reported a dog that had been sitting at the window for a long time and hadn't moved," wrote the Basel police officer Raphael Schneider on Instagram. The caller feared that something might have happened to the animal. He then went out with his colleagues to check the situation and to help the dog if necessary.

On site, however, the police were able to find to their relief and amusement that no animal was in need. The alleged animal was a printed pillow in the shape of a dog. So the officials could leave without any worries. But they obviously had fun: «What were we laughing at? Something like that has really never happened to me, ”writes Schneider.
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Old 23.02.2021, 21:26
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

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For me, the answer is absolutely NO for a dog, and NO for a cat.

But more importantly- can you garantee a cat a home forever, for 25+ years (our last cat, a rescue, lived to be at least 26 and possibly more).
I think your views about not leaving a cat are a bit ..hm. excessive.
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Old 23.02.2021, 21:27
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

Thanks for all the responses everyone. I will buy a cat, thanks for all the points
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Old 23.02.2021, 21:46
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Re: Pets at home for 8 hours a day?

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I think your views about not leaving a cat are a bit ..hm. excessive.
this comment is about an indoor, single cat. I stand by it.
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