Dear Zen Dog Girl,

I have a 10 month old golden retriever puppy who is house trained and is pretty used to being left alone for long periods of time when I go to work during the day. Is it alright for me to leave him overnight for a quick trip up to LA. I'll be gone from 6pm on Saturday and I'll be getting back in the morning at 9am. Do you think he'll be ok or am I being a neglectful dog owner?

Dear Concerned Golden Owner,

Thank you for writing! Unfortunately, we can't take our dogs everywhere with us even though most of us wish we could. Leaving your dog by himself overnight can be risky. In the event that an emergency happened (a fire, gas leak, flood, etc.) your dog would be trapped in the house and wouldn't be able to get out. It's important that if you do choose to leave your dog by himself that you alert a neighbor and make sure that you leave a spare key and emergency contacts with them just in case. It's also important to have a friend, neighbor, or better yet a professional dog walker or sitter to walk and feed your dog at the usual times that you would at night and in the morning. For example, if you are leaving at 6pm in the evening, schedule to have someone come by at the usual time that you would potty your dog at night, say 8:30pm and then have them return no later than 8am in the morning if your dog is used to holding it this long overnight. If your dog is crate trained this may be too long of a time and an overnight pet sitter who sleeps at your house may be necessary. If your dog is hardly left alone during the day and/or suffers from any degree of separation anxiety he should not be left alone overnight. Also, ten months is still pretty young and your puppy might get into trouble if he's left for a long amount of time. If you're going to be gone for more than one night at a time, it's very important to hire a professional dog sitter or to have a friend that you trust with your life to stay with your dog overnight because it can be very stressful for most dogs to be left alone for a long period of time. Stressed out dogs show signs of depression and anxiety by not eating, excessive chewing and scratching, salivating, lethargy, listlessness, pacing, destructiveness, scratching on doors, digging, barking, whining, etc. If your dog shows any of these signs of separation anxiety it's very important that you don't leave your dog overnight for any period of time because they can do great harm to themselves. With a loving, caring, compassionate pet sitter, they will feel right at home, safe and secure, and you will feel at ease knowing that your dog is having fun, getting lots of exercise and has someone to snuggle with at night. If you have any questions or if you'd like to schedule a free consultation with one of our professional loving pet sitters please feel free to call us at (858) 349-5700.