Most of the time, dogs are left alone at home when their owners are at work. In this post, our Fort Collins vets explain how long you can leave a dog at home without them becoming depressed or bored.
What Dogs Do When They Are Home Alone
Many owners wonder what their dogs get up to when they are home alone. Most of the time, the answer to this question depends on the nature and personality of your dog. Some dogs that do well on their own generally take a long nap while they wait for their owners to return. However, for dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, their fear and uneasiness are channeled into destructive behaviors.
Some canine breeds are considered to deal better with being home 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 generally do well alone include:
- Boston Terrier
- Akita Inu
- Bull terrier
- Shar Pei
- Chow Chow
- Basset Hound
- French Bulldog
However, don't think this gives you free rein to leave these dogs home alone as long as you please. Dogs are social animals. Just because a particular breed may be more adaptable, it doesn't mean they enjoy being home alone for long periods of time.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?
Usually, the prescribed time for older dogs to be left alone is 4 to 6 hours. However, many people leave their pets alone for up to 8 hours a day while they are at work. Dogs can often adapt to staying home for 8 hours if they are provided with sufficient space to move around and play.
If there is another person in the home, 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 You Leave a Puppy Alone?
There is no simple solution to the question of how long a puppy can be left alone. In most cases, puppies are able to 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 AM to 5 PM 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 consider doggie daycare and boarding services.
How to Help Your Dog Feel More Comfortable When Alone
Here are some easy things you can do to make your dog feel more at ease when you are away from home.
Help Them Feel Safe
Swaddling jackets and crates can be lifesavers for dogs that are terrified to be home alone. According to some canine psychology specialists, they could provide your dog with a sense of safety and security.
Provide Your Dog With a Bit of Entertainment
While you're gone, leave your dog with intriguing puzzle toys or their favorite 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 at a doggie daycare or boarding facility 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 your pup while you're at work, some services will let you drop off your dog in the morning and pick them up after work.
When Daycare Is Not 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. Look at webcams with laser dot features for remote fun to make those working hours feel very short for both you and your furry friend.