09/03/2015 20:25 GMT | Updated 06/05/2015 06:59 BST

Is Your Dog Getting Too Much 'Me Time'?

Those of us who have dogs and are able to take them to work are very privileged and the benefits of doing so can be huge.

It's fantastic to have your canine companion snooze under your desk and you'll both benefit from the lunchtime walk. Your dog will come home pretty tired and satisfied - probably due to the extra attention they've had from your colleagues or meeting new people. It can also be quite tiring just watching someone work all day!

Best of all, your dog gets to do what they have 'evolved' to do - spend the majority of the day in your company.

Taking your dog to work isn't possible or realistic for everyone, and many dogs are left alone for at least part the day.

For those that are taught from a young age that being left for short periods is ok, then this normally works out as long as their owner is able to make sure that working days are broken up by dog sitters, walkers, friends or family. But for many dogs, being left can be the cause of much distress and result in a whole range of problems for everyone concerned, especially the dog.

Getting another dog won't always help, and in some cases can actually make the situation worse, as it may end up that both dogs are worried about being left, particularly if the new dog is impressionable.

Unfortunately many dogs are given up each year because they are left alone for far too long. At Blue Cross we took in double the amount of dogs last year compared to the year before for this reason.

The fact that so many dogs are given up for this reason is testament that dogs are not suited to a life where they are left for long periods of time. They, like us, are social creatures, and being on their own just doesn't come naturally.

Having said this, it's a fact of life that many dogs will have to be left at some point, so take the time to prepare them well for this, even if you don't have to leave them at first.

As with many things, prevention is better than cure - it's much easier to help a dog get used to being left gradually than to help a dog with an established separation problem.

Training for this should ideally begin as soon as possible and will ensure that if your situation changes later, your dog will adjust well to spending a bit of time on their own at home.

Over the last few decades society has changed considerably, with more and more of us working full time and longer hours. Unfortunately for our dogs, their needs have stayed the same.

Although we can't change the fact that dogs want to spend most of their time with us (and why would we as this is what makes them fantastic companions!), we can at least help them by preparing them well for spending a bit of time on their own, should they need to.

If you are considering rehoming a puppy or adult dog, do think carefully about your lifestyle and whether you can provide what a dog needs in terms of company. Not just for the here and now, but for the future too. A dog needs to and deserves to be a big part of family life, for the rest of their life.

Check out Blue Cross's Alone at Home advice leaflet for more information on separation anxiety in dogs. If your dog struggles with being left, then please contact the Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors.