You'd probably love to stay home and cuddle with your pooch all day, but it's just not feasible to be at home all the time. After all, you have work, school, errands to run, and an active social life. So, how long can you leave a dog home alone? Our Douglasville vets offer some insight.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?
You've got a busy life full of responsibilities and to-do lists, so as much as you love your pooch, you just aren't able to be with them all the time. So, how long can you leave a dog home alone?
Frankly, there is no one right answer for every circumstance. It will depend on your dog's breed, age, and overall personality. Young puppies under 6 months old should not be left alone for more than 2 to 3 hours due to their bladder control and risk of separation anxiety.
As your puppy grows older, you can gradually increase the total amount of time you leave them alone. Adult dogs are generally okay on their own for 4 to 6 hours a day. However, many dogs adapt to being alone exceptionally well for 8 to 9 hours while you are at work if they are given enough space to comfortably move around.
What Will My Dog Do While I'm Away?
Do you have a dog with a laid-back personality, while you're gone, your pooch will likely take a long, restful nap, or take your absence as an opportunity to sneak up on the off-limits sofa to relax. Less chilled-out dogs may be a bit more mischievous, jumping up on the counter to chew on an item they normally aren't allowed to or stealing a treat.
Unfortunately, some dogs suffer from separation anxiety and may channel their anxious energy into destructive behavior, breaking precious valuables or ruining furniture. If your pup does happen to have this problem, try leaving them alone in short intervals, gradually increasing the time you are gone. Once a dog can handle being alone for 4 hours, he should be able to manage 8 hours on his own.
The French Bulldog, Basset Hound, Pug and Chihuahua are some breeds that are best at being left alone for long periods.
What Can I Do With My Dog While I am at Work?
While some dogs are okay with being alone for a little bit during the day, they don't necessarily like it. Dogs are pack animals and need companionship from their owners to be happy and comfortable. Here are some things you can do to help your dog when you are not home:
Get Off To a Good Start
Before you leave the house, always be sure that your pup has had plenty of exercise! A tired dog is typically a well-behaved dog. The amount of exercise dogs need each day varies widely so be sure to ask your vet or breeder for advice on getting your dog the right amount of exercise to keep them fit, healthy, happy, and out of mischief.
Provide Your Pup With Entertainment
Before you leave make sure your pup has a toy to keep them busy and occupied while you are away, such as their favorite stuffed animal or a puzzle toy to provide them with a fun challenge.
Communicate With Them Via Tech
You can stay in touch with your pup even when you are not home thanks to technology. Pet cameras let you talk to your canine companion so you can soothe your pooch with your calming voice, or even keep an eye on their behavior so you can reward them with lots of yummy treats.
Help Them Feel Safe
Offer your dog a sense of security or safety by swaddling them in a jacket or keeping them in their crate with enough space to move around and play. Your pup might be hesitant at first but it can be a lifesaver in the long run.
If your dog doesn't like being left alone, or you are going to be away longer than 8 hours, you can bring your pup to a boarding facility. Doggy daycare can provide your canine companion with the care and companionship they need when you are out of the house. They give your dog plenty of time for exercise, socialization, and fun!
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.