As nice as it would be to stay home with your adorable dog all day long, this isn't always possible. If you are having to consider leaving your dog alone for long periods of time, you may be wondering how long is too long. Here, our Groton vets explain how long you can leave your pup alone and what they do while you're gone.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?
There's nothing better than getting to spend quality time at home with your pet.
Dogs are amazing companions and enjoy being around you just as much as you love being around them. However, you do have to leave them by themselves to get things done: running errands, going to school, or going to work. But how long can you leave your dog home alone? And what do they get up to while you are gone?
There is no one size fits all answer to these questions, it depends on your dog's age, breed, and overall personality. Young puppies under 6 months old should not be left alone for more than 2 or 3 hours because of their limited bladder control and risk of 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 dog grows older, you can gradually increase the time you leave them at home alone. Adult dogs will generally be okay with being at home alone for between 4 and 6 hours each day. However, many dogs are quite adaptable too and can become accustomed to 8-9 hours a day while you are at work as long as they have enough space to comfortably move around.
What Does My Dog Get Up To While I'm Gone?
When you are gone your pooch may take a long and restful nap, or even sneak up on the off-limits sofa to relax if they are a calm dog. Sneaky dogs that are a bit more mischievous may try to jump up on the counter to steal a treat or chew on an item they normally aren't allowed to.
If your dog has separation anxiety, they may use their anxious energy to fuel destructive behaviors, possibly ruining furniture or breaking things as they worry (or even panic). If your dog has separation anxiety, try leaving them alone in only short intervals and gradually increase the time you are out of the house. Once your dog can handle being alone for about 4 hours without becoming distressed, they should be able to manager 8 hour work days on their own.
The Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Pugs are typically the best breeds for 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 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:
Provide Them With Entertainment
Before leaving, make sure that your dog has a toy to help keep them busy and engaged while you are away. This can include their favourite stuffed animal or a puzzle toy to give them a bit of a fun challenge.
Communicate With Them
You can stay in touch with your pup even when you are not home thanks to technology. Pet cameras let you talk to your canine companion so you can soothe your pooch with your calming voice, or even keep an eye on their behavior so you can reward them with lots of yummy treats.
Help 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.
Doggy Day Care
If your dog doesn't like being left alone, or you are going to be away longer than 8 hours, you can bring your pup to a doggy daycare facility.
At Companion Animal Hospital we offer daycare and overnight boarding for dogs and cats. We can provide your pooch with the care and companionship they need when you are away.
We make sure that all of our boarders get plenty of socialization, exercise and fun throughout their day. Because of our veterinary expertise, we can also accommodate medical boarding needs that regular boarders can't and will be sure to provide your dog with their medications on schedule. Our caring Groton vets love spending time with the pets that board with us and treat them like their own.
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.