Our dogs love the company of their human family, but sometimes we need to leave the house without them. And like any good pet parent, you’re probably wondering, how long can you leave your dog alone? Whether going back to work, heading out on a day trip or running errands, your adult dog can probably be left home alone for about four to six hours a day.
How Long Can Your Dog Be Left Home
Many factors come into play when determining how long your dog is able to stay home alone.
How old is your dog?
- Puppies under 2 months old shouldn’t be left alone for more than 1 hour.
- Puppies under 4 months old shouldn’t be left alone for more than 2 hours.
- Many adult dogs over 18 months old can be left alone for up to 6 hours depending on some of the factors below.
- Some dogs might be okay being left alone for 8 hours, however it’s important to know your dog’s tolerance for being alone.
- Senior dogs may need more bathroom breaks or have medical conditions that require frequent monitoring and may not be able to be left alone very long.
Does your dog get nervous when you leave?
If so, there are steps you can take to help ease your dog’s separation anxiety, but it will determine how long your dog can be alone.
How often does your dog need to go to the bathroom?
Understanding this will give you the maximum amount of time you can be gone.
What time of day (or night) will you be gone?
Many dogs sleep through the night so will not need to be let out. However, some dogs may suffer from anxiety at night that would need to be managed.
How to prepare for your dog to be home alone
Prepare for a change in routine
A change in routine can be difficult for all of us and our dogs may feel it, too. So when you are trying to determine how long you can leave your dog alone, you can help your dog adjust by making arrivals and departures as uneventful as possible and keeping your own stress levels low. Take the time to help your dog adapt by slowly starting and sticking to the new schedule. This will help get them back on track and eliminate any randomness that may be throwing them off. Designate specific time for walks, play, and meals.
Prepare your dog before you leave
Take your dog out for a potty break before you leave the house and consider taking them for a walk or a little play time. Exercise will help them rest when they get back in.
Prepare your home before you leave
Remove anything dangerous they can get into or valuable that they might break or chew if anxious. Consider turning on the TV or music if you find your dog likes the sounds. And keep your dog busy while you’re gone with a puzzle feeder or toy stuffed with treats.
What to do if your dog can’t stay home alone
- Maybe you need to be gone longer than your dog is able to be alone.
- A doggie daycare can provide your dog with exercise, mental stimulation, and a routine; keeping your pup from getting bored and anxious at home.
- A pet sitter or dog walker, whether professional or a family member or friend, can keep your dog company and keep them busy.