Needing to leave your dog at home while you are at work is one of the most common reasons why dogs are routinely left alone. But how long is too long? Today, our Irvine vets discuss how long you can leave your dog at home without them succumbing to boredom or depression.
What do Dogs Do All Day When Left Home Alone?
When dogs are left alone, what do they do? The answer to that question is typically determined by the nature of your dog. Some dogs who do well on their own will take a long nap as they wait for you to return. Unfortunately, fear and uneasiness are channeled into destructive behavior in dogs suffering from separation anxiety.
Some canine breeds are considered to fare much better alone than others. Dog breeds that perform well on their own are typically those that are less active and lively. Some of the breeds that can do well alone include:
- Basset Hound
- French Bulldog
- Shar Pei
- Bull terrier
- Chow Chow
- Akita Inu
- Boston Terrier
However, don't think this gives you free rein to leave these dogs home along as you please. Dogs are social animals. Just because a particular breed may be adaptable, that doesn't mean they enjoy being home alone for so long.
How Long Can Dogs be Left Alone?
4-6 hours appears to be the most usually prescribed time for older dogs. Many people leave their pets alone for up to 8 hours while they go to work. A dog can adapt to staying home for 8 hours if they have sufficient space to move around and play.
If there is another person in the house, such as a married couple or their children, some households have an easier time. In any case, a dog should never be crated for more than a few hours at a time (disregarding sleepy time).
How Long Can Puppies be Left Alone?
There is no simple solution to the question of how long a puppy can be left alone. Puppies can retain their urine and feces for one hour per month of age. They require more care than an older dog, much like a newborn infant. If you work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and do not have someone at home to care for your new puppy, consider getting an older dog, preferably one that is 2-3 years old. Or you can look for doggie daycare and boarding services.
Can I Help My Dog Feel More Comfortable Being Alone?
There are easy things you can do to make your dog feel more at ease while you're away from home.
Make Them Feel Safe
Swaddling jackets and crates can be lifesavers for dogs who are terrified to be in the house on their own. According to some canine psychology specialists, they may provide your dog with a sense of safety and security.
Give Your Dog Some Entertainment
While you're gone, leave your dog with intriguing puzzle toys or beloved plushies to keep them occupied and entertained.
Keep in Touch
When their pets are not with them, pet owners are increasingly employing video cameras to connect with them. Owners can use the technology to monitor their pets' behavior and reward them with goodies or playtime.
Doggie Day Care
Dogs, like children, can make it difficult to organize social trips or holidays that are not suitable for your pet. If you know you'll be gone for an extended period, leave your dog with a doggie daycare in your area. They'll make sure your dog has a great time playing with the other dogs while also receiving first-rate care from professional handlers. If you just need someone to babysit the dog while you're at work, some services offer to let you drop off your dog in the morning and pick them up after work.
What if Daycare Isn't an Option?
Find a high-quality, spacious crate for your dog. However, be aware that the rule of the thumb is that a dog shouldn't be left in a crate for more than 8 hours.
If you don't support crating (many pet owners don't), then make sure you dog-proof your home so they can't accidentally injure themselves. A pet camera can help you keep tabs on your dog while you're at work. You can monitor your pet's location and converse with them via two-way audio. Check out webcams with laser dot features for remote fun to make those working hours feel very short for both you and your pet.