How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?

Even though it depends on factors like your dog's age and how long he has lived at home, the rule of thumb is not to leave your dog alone for over 8 hours.
How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?

Last update: 18 August, 2018

You cannot adopt a pet and stay with him for 24 hours a day. Eventually he’ll have to spend some time alone, sometimes for long periods of time. Well, how long can you leave a dog home alone? Read this article to find the answer to that question in order to help you care for your pet responsibly.

How long can a dog stay home alone?

People adopt pets in order to have a companion, promising in return to take good care of them. This doesn’t mean that they have to be home all day, which would be impossible due to work, errands, and other day to day activities.

An often asked question is: Should you adopt a pet knowing he’ll have to spend many hours’ home alone? In general, no. However, if you decide to go ahead, this is what you need to know:

Age is important

While it would be nice to give you a number of hours that your dog can be home alone, there are a variety of factors that affect the answer. One of them is age. Leaving a one-year-old dog alone is not the same as leaving a three-month-old puppy alone.

Home alone

The puppy has a much harder time spending a lot of time home alone, and it might get separation anxiety. You also have to keep in mind that the biological needs of puppies are greater than those of adult dogs, so the less time he’s alone, the better.

How long you’ve had him

You must consider how long you’ve had your dog. If it’s been a while and he’s already comfortable at home and confident that you’ll return, he won’t be so stressed out like was before when he just arrived to the home. If you’ve just adopted a pet, start by leaving him home alone just a few hours a day. He’ll probably feel scared, abandoned, and sad.

Experts recommend only adopting a pet if, at first, the animal won’t spend more than three or four hours a day along, at least at the beginning of your relationship. In actuality, it’s not good for a dog to stay home alone for more than 8 hours.

What happens if he’s home alone a lot?

A dog that doesn’t go outside much, especially if he isn’t trained or is still a puppy, might show behavioral problems. He’ll start to chew up furniture, shoes, and doorsHe might bark so much that the neighbors start complaining. These are visible signs, but there are other less obvious ones you should look out for.

Guilty dog

When your dog spends too much time alone at home, he can experience a lot of emotional and self-esteem issues. The main ones include feelings of abandonment, being unwanted, guilt, fear of an unfamiliar environment, stress, anxiety, and depression.

Just by spending many hours home alone, he might mess up his intestinal flora and bodily systems. This happens when he can’t defecate or urinate when needed. An animal can “hold it” for up to 8 hours, but it’s not natural or comfortable. That’s why his cycles might change.

You also have to remember that coming home in the middle of the day can be a good way to break up the 8 or 10 hours your dog is spending home alone. If the 8 hours alone are at night, when the dog is sleeping, it’s also easier for him to handle it.

Whatever you decide, we assure you that if your puppy has to be home alone for 8 hours or more, you can always ask a relative or friend to visit your dog during the day for a quick walk or some playtime. This will make waiting for your return more tolerable, and your pet will feel much better.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.