How Long Can Dogs Be Left Alone?

Behavior Recent May 24, 2024
How Long Can Dogs be Left Alone?
Avatar photo



How Long Can Dogs Be Left Alone?

This page contains affiliate links. We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission. Learn More

How Long Can Dogs be Left Alone?

Dog-parent guilt is a common issue, as we are the center of their world. The length of time your dog can stay alone depends on their age, physical and emotional needs, and circumstances.

It can be stressful to leave your dog alone for the first time, regardless of age. However, leaving them home alone is not necessarily bad or dangerous, as dogs enjoy human company.

Leaving Certain Dog Breeds Home Alone

Certain breeds, such as huskies and Australian shepherds, require significant exercise during the day, and leaving them alone for extended periods can cause significant damage to their home. Dogs with separation anxiety require human company more often than calm ones.

It is crucial to consult a veterinarian to determine the appropriate time to leave your dog alone. Dogs’ ability to be left alone varies based on age, temperament, energy levels, and needs. It is recommended to avoid leaving puppies home alone for longer than their age, as they may need more frequent bathroom breaks.

Active breeds like Australian Shepherds and Jack Russell Terriers may struggle with long periods alone. If you leave your dog alone, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to break up the monotony. The maximum time a dog should be left alone is 4-6 hours, but this may not align with an 8-hour workday. Regular check-ups are essential, and dogs should never be left in a crate for more than a few hours.

Consider a Doggy Daycare

Doggy daycare is an excellent choice for pet parents who need to be gone during the day. Many boarding facilities and programs provide a secure, amusing, and stimulating environment for dogs to spend the day.

Make sure to choose a reputable daycare and have your dog go through a brief trial period to ensure it’s a good fit. Once you’ve decided on a daycare, your dog will most likely be delighted to be dropped off in the morning because they’ll be able to play with other dogs and receive attention from qualified professionals.

How to Keep Your Dog Entertained While You’re Away

Regardless of how long you’ll be gone, there are certain things you can do to keep your dog entertained while you’re away. Try leaving them a fascinating and stimulating puzzle toy that they must solve to obtain treats. Not only is it beneficial to challenge your dog, but it will also help keep them amused and distracted while you are away.

There are other technologies available today that allow you to see and communicate with your pet. Allowing your pet to hear your voice may help to comfort them, and some systems even offer the opportunity to reward your dog with treats.

Can I Leave My Dog Alone Overnight?

Dogs can be left alone overnight, depending on several factors. Muti-dog households make it easier to leave a single dog alone, as dogs are social creatures who prefer company. Age and needs also play a role, with puppies, those with separation anxiety, or those needing frequent potty breaks not ideal for leaving alone for more than six to eight hours.

In emergencies, it’s best to hire a pet sitter or have a friend drop by before bed and again early in the morning for adult dogs. If your dog gets into trouble when alone, section off an area of the house to keep them more contained. Remember, dogs are pack animals and prefer company, so it’s not ideal to leave them alone regularly.

Can I Leave My Dog in a Crate?

A crate is generally not recommended for leaving an adult dog or puppy alone for more than their age in months, especially for puppies under five months who require more care and attention. To avoid risking potty issues or crate anxiety, it is recommended to use a playpen with a designated potty area.

This can also be helpful for adult or senior dogs who need more potty breaks or have crate anxiety. To prepare your dog for crate training, it is essential to practice regular downtime in a crate or pen that mimics their daily routine.

Place the crate in an area where people spend the most time, allowing your pup to see their house members and learn to relax. Ensure the crate is large enough for your dog to turn around and relax.

Preparing to Leave Your Dog Alone

To prepare your dog for being alone, provide them with physical activity throughout the day, such as walking or playing fetch. Exercise needs vary depending on your dog’s age, breed, and health level. Herding and sporting dogs require more intense activity, while lower-energy breeds and older dogs can do with less.

Stretching their legs a couple of times a day is essential for dogs. Mental stimulation, such as training sessions, puzzle feeders, chew-safe bones, or indoor games, helps keep your dog healthy and balances out their time spent alone. If your dog can trust toys alone, leave them out while you’re away to provide a source of activity.

For dogs with mild separation anxiety, leave them with a heartbeat toy, a shirt, or a blanket that smells like you can provide comfort.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in dogs can lead to destructive behavior, such as entering locked areas or climbing over fences. Crate training is an alternative, but it lacks social and environmental stimulation. Christmas and other holidays can cause pets to become naughty due to new sites, smells, and changes around the house.

Pets may break ornaments, chew on electrical cords, or chew on mysterious presents. Tree stands with water may contain dangerous chemicals that pets may ingest. Keeping pets in a controlled daycare environment can prevent the need for re-decoration, new gifts, or pet emergencies during family time.

Providing a controlled environment can help maintain a healthy relationship between pets and their owners.

Train Your Dog to be Alone

How Long Can Dogs be Left Alone?

Teaching your dog to be alone is essential for their well-being. While it’s important to limit their time alone, it’s healthy for them to spend time away from you. Start with short periods of absence, gradually increasing them to show your dog that you will return.

To make your dog feel more comfortable alone, use interactive toys, Kongs with frozen treats, a blanket with your scent, or a crate. These accessories can help your dog feel more comfortable and secure in their new environment.

How Long Can Puppies Be Alone?

Puppies have varying time limits for being left alone, with older dogs having longer periods.

  • Under 10 weeks left alone for 1 hour
  • 10–12 weeks for 2 hours
  • 3 months for 3 hours
  • 4 months for 4 hours
  • 5 months for 5 hours
  • 6 months for 6 hours
  • over 6 months for 6–8 hours

It is important to note that puppies need to urinate frequently, and new puppies up to 10 weeks old can’t hold their bladder for more than an hour. After three months, they can hold their bladder for an hour for each month they’ve been alive, and after six months, they can hold it for up to six hours. Adult dogs should not be left alone for more than six to eight hours without a bathroom break.

Final Thoughts

Leaving your dog at home can be a burden, especially if you’re frequently absent. The length of time you can leave a dog alone depends on factors like age, breed, and temperament.

Avatar photo

Amy Towry is a Certified NAVC Pet Nutritionist and pet lover. She is the proud owner of two rescue cats and a rescue dog and her love for animals has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in pet care, nutrition, and product reviews.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *