It would be ideal if you could stay home all of the time, especially if you have a canine companion waiting for you at home. Unfortunately, life won't always allow you to be home. Our Baton Rouge vets talk about how long you can leave a dog home alone and ways to make it go smoothly when you do.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?
You have a busy life filled with responsibilities and things that need to get done, so as much as you love your pup you just can't be home with them all the time. So how long can you leave a dog home alone?
Frankly, there's just no one size fits all answer, it depends on your dog's age, breed, and their overall personality. Young puppies under 6 months old should not be left alone for more than 2 or 3 hours because of their 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 puppy gets older gradually increase the total amount of time you leave them alone. Adult dogs are generally okay on their own 4-6 hours a day. But, many dogs are good at adapting to being alone for 8-9 hours while you are at work if they are provided with enough space to comfortably move around.
What Will My Dog Do While They Are Alone?
If you have a dog with a laid-back personality, while you're gone your pup will likely take a long and restful nap, or take your absence as an opportunity to sneak up on the off-limits sofa to relax. Less chilled-out dogs might be a bit more mischievous - jumping up on the counter to steal a treat or chew on an item they normally aren't allowed to.
Unfortunately, if your dog suffers from separation anxiety they may channel their anxious energy into destructive behavior, ruining furniture or breaking precious valuables. If your pooch does happen to have this problem try leaving them alone in short intervals, gradually increasing the time you are gone. Once a dog can handle being alone for 4 hours, they should be able to manage 8 hours on their own.
The Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Pugs are some of the breeds that are best at being left alone for long periods of time.
How Can I Make Leaving My Dog Alone Go Smoothly?
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:
Take The Time To Prepare
Before you leave the house, always be sure that your pup has had plenty of exercise! A tired dog is typically a well-behaved dog. The amount of exercise dogs need each day varies widely so be sure to ask your vet or breeder for advice on getting your dog the right amount of exercise to keep them fit, healthy, happy and out of mischief.
Ensure That There Is Plenty of Entertainment
Before you leave make sure your pup has a toy to keep them busy and occupied while you are away, such as their favorite stuffed animal or a puzzle toy to provide them with a fun challenge.
Utilize Technology To Communicate
Technology has come a long way and now we are able to view and speak with our pets over video devices even when we aren't home. 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.
Provide Security While Your Dog is Alone
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. This may take some time for your dog to adjust to but it will make leaving your dog alone much easier.
Choose Doggie Daycare or Boarding Facilities
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. Doggy daycare can provide your canine companion with the care and companionship they need when you are out of the house. The staff at the boarding facility will help keep your dog safe while providing exercise, attention, supervision and keeping up with their regular routine.
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.