How Long Is it Safe to Leave a Dog Alone

While most adult humans might cope with being left alone for 8+ hours a day, not all dogs can. Dogs are like people in many ways; the length of time you can leave them alone per day depends on the dog and ordinary living situations.  

Case by case

Factors such as the age and temperament of the dog need to be considered. If your dog is accustomed to companionship for the vast majority of the day, any sudden changes might cause a difference in your dog’s behavior. 

Cruel or kind? 

german shephard at home

Many dog lovers will tell you that leaving your furbaby alone for extended periods is wrong and cruel. While there is some truth in the matter, it is entirely dependant on how long and how old the dog is and consider other environmental factors. 

There is a fine line between cruelty and discomfort. Dogs are sentient beings with feelings that they respond to and show love and affection, much like humans do. Before leaving your dog alone, explore alternatives, and know that it is not an easy task leaving your pet alone. 

Special considerations

Consider the following before leaving your dog at home alone: 

Length of time 

The length of time you leave a dog alone can vary between 4 to 48 hours. Deciding how long you leave your pets is dependant on many other factors. If you usually only leave for four hours on any given day, you will most likely not be able to leave your dog for longer than 14 hours unless it is a once-off emergency. 

Companionship

Does your fur baby have other animals or humans present that can keep them company while you are away? Some animals require at the bare minimum another animal present with them during the day. 

Access to facilities 

Take special consideration of the environment you are leaving your pup in. Is your dog able to access water and a safe space to eliminate? Are they able to run around a garden and take shelter if the weather turns? You will need to consider these for any stays more than 8 hours away from your dog. 

Stimulation

Boredom, coupled with stress, is the number one cause of destructive dog behavior. Suppose your dogs are stimulated and have access to toys and other things to keep them entertained. Dogs that are stimulated will be less likely to trash your house when you leave your dog at home alone. 

Activity levels

Dogs are not ornaments; they shouldn’t live a sedentary life unless medically ordered by a vet; all dogs require exercise. Different breeds require different activity levels. Some species require additional walking if they are not stimulated enough. 

It might be worth walking your dogs twice before leaving your dog home alone. Some dog walkers offer twice a day walking services where they walk your animals more than once a day. This service is an excellent choice for dogs that are a little more on the excited side

Age

Cute German Shepherd

Elderly dogs might cope better than new puppies at staying home alone for extended periods. They have established a routine and can hold their bladders for more extended periods. 

Puppies need to eliminate roughly every two hours and need to get outside for that time. It is not advised to leave a puppy unattended for long. Ask friends or relatives to check in every few hours and spend a few minutes with your puppy. If you need to be away, alternatively, look into local doggy daycare centers. 

Safety

Consider the safety of the environment. Your house and garden should be dog-proofed before leaving them at home alone. Consider your dog’s needs and prevent any falls or injuries by installing ramps inside your home while your dog is left alone; nonslip ramps with rails like Chasing Tails are a good choice. 

Ensuring that your pets are safely able to climb stairs or onto furniture is extremely important. 

Making the best out of a tough decision

Many pooches suffer from a form of separation anxiety of some kind throughout their lives. Separation anxiety can cause a dog to misbehave or become destructive as they battle to manage their emotions. They can injure themselves as well. 

If you need to leave your pup alone, consider a doggy daycare or a dog walker that can pop into your home when required to give them love and comfort while you are away. If your dog is naturally sensitive, consider not leaving them alone for longer than four hours. 

Is it OK to leave a dog home alone for 24 hours?

If you are leaving your pooch at home alone for periods longer than 12 hours at a time, it can cause quite a lot of stress, especially if you leave them in the dark for long periods of time. If you need to leave for more extended periods, consider a house or dog sitter that can ensure your dog’s needs are met, and they can go out for a potty break without the stress of holding their bladders. 

A dog sitter does not replace your dog’s need for his owners; however, it minimizes the stress levels. Always interview potential dog sitters and ask to observe how they respond to your animals. 

Consider discussing the following with a potential dog sitter: 

  • Ask for references. 
  • What does the dog minder include in their services?
  • Do they have experience with your breed of dog? 
  • What happens in an emergency? 
  • What do they need from you?
  • Can they send updates? 

With these questions and your provided lists of requirements, you will be able to establish a healthy set of ground rules surrounding the care of your pup while you are away. 

Happiness is all that counts. 

We all know that sometimes we have to be away from home and our loved ones, including our furbabies. If you plan around your absence and allow your dog to be happy and safely cared for, you will find your dog responds better to being left alone.

Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by

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