Are you the owner of a new dog and you’re unsure how to handle leaving the dog alone while you’re at work? Then this article will tell you everything you need to know about how long you can leave your dog alone at home.
Table of Contents
- How Long Can A Dog Be Left Alone?
- Why Leaving A Dog Alone Is Stressful For Dogs
- What Is Dog Separation Anxiety?
- Will Leaving Your Dog Alone Make Separation Anxiety Worse?
- How Can You Help Your Dog With Separation Anxiety?
- How To Properly Crate Train A Dog
- 7 Steps To Minimize Your Dog’s Time Alone
- 6 Ways To Keep Your Dog Happy While Home Alone
- Can A Dog Hold It For 10 Hours?
- Can Dogs Be Left Alone All Day?
- Can You Leave A Dog Alone Overnight?
- Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone For Long Periods
- Can I Leave My Dog Along For A Weekend?
- How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone Legally?
How Long Can A Dog Be Left Alone?
Depending on the dog’s age, you can usually leave your dog alone at home for four to six hours.
One of the largest variables is the age of the dog. Puppies have smaller bladders and thus can’t be expected to go very long on their own without needing to use the bathroom outside.
Adult dogs, on the other hand, have developed their bladder and waiting time to use the bathroom.
Why Leaving A Dog Alone Is Stressful For Dogs
Many dog owners struggle to leave their dogs home in order to go to work or to have a social evening out of the house. This is because dogs make it clear that they don’t like to be left alone.
Domesticated dogs are bred for being social and receiving, as well as giving, affection. Without their primary person there to socialize with them, they feel stressed out and isolated.
What Is Dog Separation Anxiety?
Many people believe that their dog has separation anxiety. However, actual separation anxiety is often more of a medical condition than a simple case of a bit of whining or crying when you’re leaving the house.
Separation anxiety in dogs describes behavior that is extreme. Your dog may vomit, shake, chew up things, bark, or use the bathroom inside of the house uncontrollably if they have separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is typically caused because of a traumatic event that they experienced earlier in life.
Will Leaving Your Dog Alone Make Separation Anxiety Worse?
Many owners fear that if they leave their dog alone when they have separation anxiety that it might make the anxiety worse. This is true to a point.
Your dog certainly won’t enjoy when you leave the home for a few hours. However, like a lot of therapy, one way to help separation anxiety is to have it done regularly, so the dog becomes used to it.
How Can You Help Your Dog With Separation Anxiety?
One method to help with your dog’s anxiety is to have a pet sitter look after them when you’re gone. Even if this is just for a few hours, your dog will be able to have someone there to keep them company.
You could also take them to a doggy daycare center. They may still experience some anxiety, but they’ll be able to interact with other people and dogs that might take their minds off of it.
There are also medications that you can speak with your vet about that can help keep them calm while you’re away.
Should You Crate Your Dog While At Work?
Some pet owners choose to crate their dogs when they’re at work to keep them from destroying the house. This can also limit the chance of the dog using the bathroom.
However, sometimes crating can make your dog’s anxiety worse. With careful training, you could help teach your dog that their crate is a place of refuge for them.
How To Properly Crate Train A Dog
This video will give you some tips on how to properly train your dog with a crate:
A summary is as follows:
1. Keep the Crate Around
By keeping the crate around, it becomes familiar to the dogs. It also means they’re more accessible.
If your dog ever enters the crate of their own will, you have to give them a high reward. Offering them some turkey or chicken is a great reward that will make sure they remember the praise they received for stepping into their crate.
2. Keep the Crate Sparse
You don’t need to put anything in the crate with them. Keep the toys and blankets out of the crate.
You’ll want to leave the house in small periods whilst having them in the crate to get them used to being in there while you’re gone. Reward them each time they enter the cage.
You’ll want to do this in increasing intervals.
7 Steps To Minimize Your Dog’s Time Alone
If you’re nervous about leaving your dog alone, then you can limit the amount of time that they’re alone. This is especially useful for puppies who may need to go outside more often than adults.
Here are a few steps to take to do just that.
1. Hire a Sitter
If you have a sitter stay at your house while you’re gone, then your dog will never be alone. Even if you just hire them for an hour or two, that’s fewer hours in which they’re alone.
2. Have a Friend Come Over
For those who can’t or don’t want to pay someone to come over, you can always utilize your friends or neighbors. By giving them access to your home, they can pop in and keep your dog company for a few hours.
3. Visit on Lunch Hours
Another method is to eat lunch at home. For those who work close to their homes, this is an easy step to complete.
Instead of eating out or at your office, you could return home and spend your lunch hour with your dog. It might be a good idea to play with them a bit to help release some of their pent-up energy.
4. Get Another Pet
Dogs may take some time in getting to know one another, but they usually enjoy each other’s company. You could always get another dog to help your anxious dog become less lonely.
5. Leave Them with Family
Another idea is to take your dog to a family’s member home while you’re at work. If you have retired parents or a family member who is at home, you can always take your dog over there during your work hours.
6. Work at Home
If possible, you could try to work at home.
Even if you can only work at home for a part of the week, that’s still less time in which your dog is alone.
7. Dog Monitoring
One last step is to install a dog monitoring system. A camera that allows you to see and speak to your dog is vital.
6 Ways To Keep Your Dog Happy While Home Alone
1. Chew Toys
Dogs can release their tension through chewing. Get them lots of chew toys to keep them occupied and happy.
2. Puzzle Games
For intelligent dogs, they might enjoy a puzzle that will keep their minds active and engaged throughout the day.
3. Ambient Music
Some people find that playing calming music can help keep their dog calm and happy while they’re gone.
4. Playing with Other Dogs
You can always bring your dog to your neighbor or family where there are other dogs. They can play with them all day while you’re gone.
5. Ball Thrower
Automated ball throwing machines do exist. You could utilize one to let your dog play fetch throughout the day without you there.
6. Checking In
With that camera monitor, you can regularly check in with your dog. Nothing makes them happier than seeing your face and hearing your voice.
Can A Dog Hold It For 10 Hours?
Adult dogs can hold their bladder for longer than puppies. Larger dogs also have larger bladders and can hold their bladders long.
As such, it is possible for dogs to hold their bladder for 10 hours, however, most reach their breaking point by eight hours.
Can Dogs Be Left Alone All Day?
If a day refers to a workday, then yes. However, you’ll need to let them outside as soon as you get home.
For a full day, the answer is yes if you don’t mind accidents in the home.
Can You Leave A Dog Alone Overnight?
For those who spend the day with their dog and left them alone at night, they can be left alone at night as well. You just need to make sure that you take them out before you leave for the night.
Dog Breeds That Can Be Left Alone For Long Periods
In terms of bladder control, you’ll want larger dog breeds. They can hold their bladder better than smaller dogs.
In terms of separation anxiety, that’s more dog-specific than breed-specific. Poodles and Huskies, however, are notorious for having anxiety.
Can I Leave My Dog Along For A Weekend?
You should never leave your dog alone over the weekend. You can be sure there will be accidents in the house.
They may run out of food or water. You can also be sure that the house will be chewed up and destroyed.
How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone Legally?
While there isn’t any set legal amount of time, if you leave them alone for longer than 18 hours, you could be bordering into animal cruelty.