Mastering Alone Time: Tips for Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

Pawrents, you’re familiar with that look – the one your pooch gives you when you’re getting ready to leave the house, and he knows he’s not coming along. Those sad puppy dog eyes designed to make you feel incredibly guilty for daring to leave.

That guilt often transforms into a sinking feeling of dread as you walk out, knowing that when you return, any number of fates may have befallen your possessions in a fit of canine protest: soiled carpets, chewed-up shoes, scratched doors, and shredded pillows.

Leaving your dog alone at home can be tough, both on you and your dog. In this article, we’ve compiled some tips to help you and your pup get through those unavoidable times when you have to leave your dog at home. We’ll share ways to make our pets feel more comfortable when they’re alone and help you find peace of mind for yourself as well.

What do dogs do all day?

We’re all familiar with the question that keeps many pet parents up at night: What do dogs do when they are left alone?

The answer to that question often depends on your dog’s personality. Some well-behaved dogs will take a quality nap while patiently waiting for you to come back.

If your furry friend is a bit more mischievous, they might engage in some normally forbidden activities, like climbing on the off-limits sofa, start howling or jumping on the counter to snatch a yummy treat.

However, there are also dogs who are absolutely terrified of being left alone. Dogs suffering from separation anxiety may channel their fear and nervousness into destructive behavior, resulting in ruined valuables and stressed-out pets.

Fortunately, modern technology like Petcube, a pet camera with two-way audio, night vision capabilities, and high-resolution video footage, allows dog owners to monitor their pets and tell the difference. This way, you can get an idea of how your dog is coping with your absence.

How long is to long to leave a dog alone?

We all love chilling with our adorable furballs, but let’s face it, life gets busy. Whether it’s those crazy long work hours or never-ending commutes, we end up leaving our pets alone more than we’d want to.

But hey, we can’t take our pups everywhere, right? So, sometimes, we gotta leave them home alone. Now, the burning question is, “How long can dogs be left alone?” Well, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, my friend, it totally depends.

Before you dash out the door, think about a few things: Can your dog hold it in for a while? Is your doggo anxious or easily stressed? How much energy does your pupper have?

Now, listen up, if you’ve got a puppy, they can’t handle alone time like the big dogs. We’ll get into some cool tips on leaving pups alone and teaching them to enjoy solo time later.

So, back to the main question: How long can dogs be left alone? Of course, we’d suggest keeping alone time to a minimum, but life can throw curveballs sometimes, right?

Here are some things to think about before leaving your doggo home alone:

  • Age
  • Health and any issues
  • Separation anxiety
  • Training and behavior
  • Potty breaks
  • Feeding times
  • Exercise and playtime
  • Socialization
  • Other furry pals at home

Remember, dogs are social animals. Even with toys and treats, they need their human to feel truly happy and comfy.

Now, if your busy life leaves you with no choice but to leave your pup alone often, you might need some backup. A dog walker or pet sitter could step in and make sure your fur buddy doesn’t get too lonely and anxious without you.

So, let’s set some guidelines for adult dogs. Ideally, they shouldn’t be left alone for more than 4 hours. There’s a little wiggle room if they have food, water, and a potty spot. But listen up, even if their needs are met, don’t leave them alone and unsupervised for more than 8 hours a day. And puppies? Oh, no way! They can’t handle 8 hours alone.

How long can a puppy be alone?

For pups under 6 months old, keep their alone time under 2 hours. These little furballs need more watching than adult dogs. Their bladders are tiny, and they can get pretty bored and frustrated, leading to some serious mischief. Plus, they’re more likely to feel anxious when left alone.

When you leave your pup solo, make sure they’re in a cozy crate or a puppy-proofed room. Puppies just love chewing everything, and they might accidentally hurt themselves if they’re not in a safe space.

As your puppy grows, you can slowly increase their alone time. If you’re stuck on what to do with your puppy while you’re at work, consider getting a dog walker a few times a week or try a pet sitter or doggy daycare. Even one day a week of socializing will do wonders for your pup.

Leaving a puppy alone during your work hours becomes easier once they’ve had some practice being on their own. Raising a puppy while working full time might sound tough, but with a little effort, you can totally do it.

How long can adult dogs be left alone?

dog alone outside sad

Adult dogs, who are older than 18 months, can handle being alone at home for about 4 to 8 hours. They’re usually used to it and will likely snooze until you come back.

How long can senior dogs be left alone?

For senior dogs, it varies from 2 to 8 hours depending on different factors. If your dog has health issues, they might need more supervision. For example, a pup with urinary problems may need more frequent potty breaks.

Can you leave a dog alone overnight?

Now, what about overnight? Does that count as “alone time” too? Well, the good news is, it’s usually not a problem to leave your furry friend alone during the night. Dogs aren’t night owls, and they’ll sleep peacefully through the night. There’s less going on around them, so they’ll get some quality rest.

The only exception is if your dog has night-time separation anxiety. This means they freak out whenever you close the bedroom door on them. In that case, it’s best to find a solution to keep them calm and comfortable.

Dog breeds that handle alone time well

While every dog has its own unique personality, some breeds are known to handle solitude better than others. Breeds that do well alone are typically those with lower activity levels and energy.

Here are some dog breeds that can handle being left alone for longer periods:

  • Basset Hound
  • French Bulldog
  • Chihuahua
  • Shar Pei
  • Pugs
  • Bull Terrier
  • Chow Chow
  • Akita Inu
  • Boston Terrier

Dogs of these breeds can handle being alone for up to 8 hours while you’re at work. They are intelligent, well-trained, and can entertain themselves without needing constant company.

Additionally, there are other breeds that can handle longer alone periods, like Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Peekapoos, and Shiba Inus. But keep in mind that when we talk about “long periods,” we mean up to 8 hours a day, not more.

Of course, let’s not forget about adorable mutts. Each dog has its own unique personality, and sometimes, breed plays only a small role in their temperament.

Are there easy-to-care-for dogs?

When picking a dog, it’s totally normal to want a pet that won’t suffer because of your busy schedule. You’ve got to think about everything – from your home setup and work commitments to your relationships – to find the perfect match for you and the pup.

Most folks look for low maintenance dogs that can handle being alone when they’re off to work. But remember, a dog’s behavior depends on their personality and sometimes their breed.

To find the right furry friend for your family, you gotta be realistic. It’s not the same for a dog to be alone in a house with a backyard or stuck in a tiny apartment waiting for their walk for hours.

Apartment Dogs

If you’re in an apartment and need a dog that can handle being alone, go for smaller breeds with lower exercise needs. These cuties still need daily walks, playtime, and activity, but they won’t get too restless or destructive after a few hours of solitude. Check out breeds like Bichon Frise, Coton de Tulear, Maltese, or Toy and Miniature Poodles.

But hey, what if you’re dreaming of a big, goofy pooch? Does that mean you can’t have one if you work long hours?

Big Dogs

Don’t worry, larger dogs can handle being alone too, but they need more space to chill out. Size doesn’t always determine energy levels, and many big breeds are quite laid back. However, they may have some bone-related issues later in life, so regular exercise is crucial for their health. Look into breeds like Shar-Pei, Greyhound, Bullmastiff, or Labradoodle.

Just remember, even though some dogs handle alone time better, it doesn’t mean you can neglect them. Always make time for quality bonding with your pet and make sure they have everything they need to be happy and healthy!

Teaching your puppy to be alone

When you first bring home a puppy, you’ll probably want to spend all day cuddling and playing with them. But eventually, you’ll need to leave them alone, and that can be stressful for both of you. So, it’s essential to help your pup get used to alone time from the start.

Create a safe space

First, set up a cozy area for your pup. Crates can be handy, but if you’re not a fan, baby gates can do the trick too. Make this space a positive and happy place for your pup by playing with them there or feeding them their meals. Having a special toy for their alone space can also help. Once they associate this area with good feelings, you can start training them to be alone.

Training your puppy to be alone

Puppy by himself ready for training

Start by getting your puppy into their special space with a fun chew toy or activity. While they’re happily occupied, quietly step out of the room. Come back right away with a treat and lots of praise. Keep repeating this process, gradually increasing the time you’re away. Remember to reward and praise your pup when they stay calm and quiet.

If your puppy cries when left alone, it might mean you started training too soon or left them alone for too long. Don’t give in to their crying every time. Instead, take a step back, shorten the alone time, and reward them when they handle it without fuss.

As your puppy gains confidence in being alone for longer periods, you can ditch the crate or confined space and give them access to more areas of the house when you’re out.

Leaving your puppy alone at home for the first time will be a test of your training. Don’t be away for too long, especially for pups younger than six months – two hours max is plenty. Gradually increase the time you’re away over time.

I know this training can be nerve-wracking for owners. We all worry about our furry babies and want to do our best for them.

If you want to ease all anxious thoughts, I’ve got a suggestion: the Petcube Emergency Fund. With a subscription of less than 1 dollar a day, you get an alternative pet insurance that can be a lifesaver in emergencies. You’ll have access to a certified veterinarian anytime, anywhere. Plus, you may get reimbursed for emergency room visits – talk about peace of mind!

When you’re not home

Make sure your dog stays happy and fulfilled while you’re away. It’s not just about food and water – provide mentally stimulating toys like treat puzzles and snuffle mats. Leaving the radio or TV on can also help keep them company. Consider hiring a dog walker occasionally or sending them to doggy daycare – even one day a week can be beneficial.

Stay connected

Thanks to technology, we can stay in touch with our pets even when we’re not there. Pet cameras not only allow us to soothe our furry friends with our voice but also let us track their behavior and reward them with treats or playtime. It’s a win-win for both you and your pup!

What to do with your dog while at work?

Since you’re the one bringing home the kibble, you’ll probably be away at work for a few hours each day. So, how can you make sure your pup is happy while you’re away?

If you’re not into doggy daycare, your furry buddy might be home alone while you work. In that case, make sure you have the right setup.

Get a good-quality, spacious crate for your dog. Remember, a dog shouldn’t stay in a crate for more than 8 hours. If crating isn’t your thing, no worries – just dog-proof the room they’ll be in to keep them safe.

A pet camera like Petcube Play 2 or Petcube Bites 2 can be a lifesaver. You can keep an eye on your pet and even talk to them with two-way audio to help them relax. Plus, some models have a laser dot for remote playtime and treat dispensers to make those working hours a breeze for both you and your fur buddy!

Leaving your dog home alone can be tough, but with a few tricks and the right gear, it can make a big difference. Your pooch will be more calm and relaxed when you’re not home, and you’ll feel happier too!

What to do when you go back?

Get ready for some serious love and excitement! Your dog will probably shower you with jumps, licks, and wagging tails – they’ve missed you for sure, whether you were gone for an hour or six.

Take your dog out for a nice long walk or play a fun game of fetch to help them release any built-up energy and tension. After being home all day, they’ll love the chance to stretch their legs and play. Plus, it’s a perfect time to strengthen your bond with your furry best friend after your time apart.

Wanna know more about dog behavior?

Explore these informative blogs to deepen your understanding and enhance your relationship with your canine friend:

Each blog offers insights, tips, and techniques from professionals and experienced dog owners alike. Learn how to communicate with your dog, understand their needs, and establish a relationship built on trust and mutual respect.