Though we would love to spend all day snuggling with our dog, it's simply not possible to spend all day at home. Our West Chester vets are here to tell you how long you can reasonably leave your dog alone while you are out of the house.
How Long Can Your Dog Be Left Alone?
We all lead busy lives and have responsibilities that we need to take care of every day, but we also have dogs and they can't always be left home alone. So how long can you leave a dog home alone?
There's no single answer for every dog owner, it really depends on your dog's age, breed, and personality. Very young puppies under 6 months of age need to be taken outside every 2 or 3 hours because their bladders are not fully developed yet, and at this impressionable age they are at a greater risk of developing separation anxiety. When you do leave your young puppy alone it's best to keep them safe in a crate or puppy-proof room where they can't break anything or get into 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 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.
If your dog does have separation anxiety, they may not be able to handle being alone for a long time and may redirect their anxiety into behaviors such as chewing shoes, furniture or precious belongings. If your dog has developed an issue when being left home alone, try leaving for just a short amount of time, and gradually increase the duration as time goes on. Once a dog can handle being alone for 4 hours, they should be able to manage 8 hours on their own.
The Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Pugs are some of the breeds that are best at being left alone for long periods of time.
What Can I Do With My Dog While I Am at Work?
While some dogs are okay 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:
Leave On A Good Note
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.
Give Your Dog Adequate 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 Through Technology
With current technology, there has never been a better time to invest in a pet camera so you can not only watch your pup while you are away but allow talk to your dog. This gives you the opportunity to calm your dog down even when you are not home with them. some even dispense tasty treats!
Make 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.
Look Into Doggy Day Care or Boarding
If your dog doesn't like being left alone, or you are going to be away longer than 8 hours, doggie daycare might be the ideal solution for your pup. 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.