Can You Leave Your Dog in the Backyard While at Work? (3 Reasons Why & 3 Reasons Why Not)

Growing up everyone has seen (and possibly even made friends with) a happy dog or two in someone’s backyard. The dogs seemed happy and so it’s only natural to wonder if it’s always good for them. Can you leave your dog in the backyard while at work? What are 3 reasons why ^ 3 reasons why not?

Yes, if you have a medium to large breed dog and the weather out is nice, then outdoor time is certainly not bad for your dog. You want to make sure that you won’t be gone too long, however, and that they have a dog run or a comfy dog house to hide out in if the weather gets bad. 

In today’s article we’re going to explore 3 reasons why and 3 reasons why you wouldn’t want your dog to be outside while you are away at work. Without further ado, let’s take a look at both sides of the equation so that you can better make an informed decision for your own furry best friend!

Reasons your dog can stay in the backyard during work

Sometimes the backyard is fun spot for your dog. There are squirrels to bark at, fresh air, and lots of space for your dog to play in. With that in mind, here are a few scenarios where it might be ideal for your dog to stay outside during work.

If you are working part time or have assistance

If you will only be gone for something like 4 to 6 hours, then it’s certainly fine for your dog to spend that time outside in the backyard on a nice day. If you are working full time, however, it’s a good idea to have a friend or a dog sitter come to visit your dog so that they can socialize a little and go for a walk.

Dogs are pack animals and it’s not good for them to be alone for long spaces on a regular basis, but if you won’t be gone for very long or you’ve got help to check in on your dog then this is certainly a viable scenario.

If the weather is not inclement

If it’s warm outside (but not too hot) and the weather is good, then a little time in the backyard certainly won’t hurt your dog. That said, if there is a chill outside, then you really should consider keeping them inside.

Apart from winter breeds, who are specialized for the cold, most dogs are going to get cold and possibly dangerously so if the temperature takes a dive below 45 degrees. Add in a bit of rain to the equation and you might come home to a very ill dog.

If the weather is nice, however, then a little time in the backyard is certainly not a problem.

If your dog has a dog run or dog house

Dog runs are a great way to give your dog a little bit of running space without giving them the entire run of the yard. While you still want to limit time in there to 4 to 6 hours at a time for adult dogs, as long as the weather is good and there’s a spot to shelter there in case it rains, then your dog should be fine.

A good dog house can give them a run of the yard and a place to nap and to get in out of bad weather. You want to make sure that the door is facing eat or north, as storms tend to come in from the south or west, and you want it to be both ventilated and well-insulated.

The insulation will be very important – the quality stuff can make the inside temperature as much as 20 degrees warmer than the outside, so if the weather takes a serious turn for the worse than your furry friend should still be okay until you get home and thus, they should be safe spending time in the yard until then.

Reasons your dog should not stay in the backyard during work

Just as there are times when a little backyard stay won’t be a big deal, there are also some scenarios when you definitely don’t want to do this. Let’s take a look some situations where time in the backyard is not really recommended or even dangerous for your dog!

If you have a small breed of dog

Small dog breeds such as Chihuahuas, Mini Pinschers, and Pugs are good examples of dogs that shouldn’t be left outside in the yard alone. These little dogs are quite vulnerable to other animals, especially predators, and there’s no guarantee of their safety in the yard when you aren’t there to watch.

 These small breeds also don’t have as much resistance to the weather, and while a doghouse might help a little, these little guys and gals can easily overheat or get too cold and it can happen very quickly. As such, we can’t really recommend leaving them unattended in the backyard for even a few hours.

It’s just not safe for these petite pooches to spend too much time outside on their own.

If you will be gone for long periods

You don’t want to leave adult dogs alone for more than 8 hours. While there is a little difference in that time depending on the breed (with some very social breeds having a lower time limit!) it’s just not good to let your dog spend too much alone time.

Remember that dogs are pack animals and when you don’t spend any time with them, then your dog feels as if they are being ostracized from their pack. This can cause them to act out, sometimes with mischief and other times with aggression, and it can even cause them to become dangerously depressed.

With depression, your dog is at risk of developing separation anxiety, and while your vet can help with some medications it’s going to take a lot of time, attention, love, and patience to get your dog back to feeling better again.

So, if you are going to regularly be away from the home for long hours, it is vital that you get the help of a petsitter or better yet, a family member who can help you. This will help to keep your dog well-socialized and avoid them feeling as if their ‘pack’ family has abandoned them.

If they are chained

Chaining a dog unsupervised is not only dangerous, but a potential death sentence if you are gone for too long. Dogs can easily get overexcited, especially if they are under 2 years of age and not yet mature, and it can result in them getting tangled up in their chain.

Aside from making it difficult to get to nearby food and water, in the worst cases it could cut off your dog’s air supply. If you don’t feel that your yard is secure enough, consider building a dog run. Chaining them outside is too much of a recipe for disaster.

Some closing words

Outside time can certainly be a fun time for your dog. Just make sure that they are large enough to be left alone, that they have a nice, insulated doghouse, and that you aren’t going to be gone for more than 4 to 6 hours at a time.

Beyond this, never use a chain – a dog run is much safer – and if you absolutely need to be gone for 8 hours or more, then enlist the assistance of a family member, a dog sitter, or consider a doggie boarding house.

This will help to ensure that your dog is safe and getting enough tension while you’re bringing home the bacon and you’ll both be better off for it!