We know you'd love to stay home and snuggle with your pup all day but it's just not feasible to be home all of the time. After all, you have work, school, and errands to take care of. So, if leaving a dog home alone while at work or school is your only option, how long can you do it for? Our Sharpsburg vets explain.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?
You have a busy life filled with responsibilities and things that need to get done, so as much as you love your pup you just can't be home with them all the time. So how long can you leave a dog home alone?
To be honest, there is no one-size-fits-all solution; it all depends on your dog's age, breed, and overall personality. Because of their bladder control and the risk of separation anxiety, puppies under 6 months old should not be left alone for more than 2 or 3 hours. When you must leave your young puppy alone, keep them safe in a crate or puppy-proof room where they cannot break anything or cause too much trouble.
As your puppy gets older gradually increase the total amount of time you leave them alone. Adult dogs are generally okay on their own for 4-6 hours a day. But, many dogs are good at adapting to being alone for 8-9 hours while you are at work if they are provided with enough space to comfortably move around.
What Will My Dog Do While I'm Away?
If you have a dog with a laid-back personality, while you're gone your pup will likely take a long and restful nap, or take your absence as an opportunity to sneak up on the off-limits sofa to relax. Less chilled-out dogs might be a bit more mischievous - jumping up on the counter to steal a treat or chew on an item they normally aren't allowed to.
Unfortunately, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety they may channel their anxious energy into destructive behavior, ruining furniture or breaking precious valuables. If your pooch 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, it should be able to manage 8 hours on its own.
The Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Pugs are some of the 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 number of exercises a dog needs 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, ensure 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
Technology allows you to communicate with your dog even when you are not at home. Pet cameras allow you to communicate with your canine companion so you can soothe them with your soothing voice or keep an eye on their behavior so you can reward them with lots of tasty treats.
Help Them Feel Safe
Swaddle your dog in a jacket or keep them in a crate with enough room to move around and play to give them a sense of security or safety. Your dog may be wary at first, but it can be a lifesaver in the long run.
Doggy Day Care
If your dog dislikes being left alone or if you will be gone for more than 8 hours, you can take him to a doggy daycare facility. Doggy daycare can provide your canine companion with the care and companionship they require while you are away. They provide plenty of opportunities for your dog to exercise, socialize, and have 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.