How long should you leave your dog alone?

Can you leave a dog at home alone? The question that plagues many new pet parents’ minds. The answer is yes. However, how long is okay to leave a dog alone? Find the answer to your canine query below, including a few ways you can help your dog out when it gets lonely.  

How long can you leave a dog alone?  

It’s widely recommended that you don’t leave your dog alone for more than 4-6 hours. 

Of course, the dog cops aren’t going to come and get you if you have left your dog alone any longer than this time frame, but it’s just a general guide.  

Dogs Trust say you should avoid leaving your dog at home alone for any more than 4 hours, whereas American Kennel Club (AKC) suggest that dogs over the age of 6 months can be left alone for around 6-8 hours.  

As we said, you’re not going to get locked away if you don’t spend every second with your pet but, keeping animal wellbeing at the forefront – the PupPod way! - we think it’s a good idea to keep alone time to a minimum.  

Is it okay to leave a puppy home alone? 

As you can imagine (or know from experience), leaving a puppy alone can wreak havoc on everyone involved. Puppies need a lot more attention, training, and bathroom breaks! You should avoid leaving your puppy unsupervised for any more than 2 –3 hours max.  

The guidelines in the section above are better suited to dogs that are 6 months and over. However, even after the 6-month mark, some puppies aren't mature enough and need that extra bit of TLC. It’s up to you and your pup to figure out what works for you.  

The best way to leave your dog at home for the day 

It can be tough managing your work-dog balance. If you can’t dodge leaving your dog at home for extended periods, there are ways to make sure they’re as happy as they can be, giving you peace of mind, too! 

Take them for a walk before you go 

A substantial walk before you leave is a great remedy for a dog left home alone all day. This will squeeze in a bit of quality time, but also help them exert some energy so they can rest easy while you’re gone.  

Leave them something to stay entertained  

Entertainment is key! Give them something to activate their senses or to feast their paws on. Leaving the TV or radio on is effective in making them feel less lonely. A mix of toys is also useful. Games such as – you guessed it – PupPod tick so many boxes. It’ll tire them out through physical activity, keep them mentally stimulated, and launch tasty treats for them to seek some comfort in.  

Drop in if you can  

Breaking up the block of time spent alone with your unbeatable presence can make a huge difference. See if you can head home on your lunch break to give them some midday company and quick cuddles. Just make sure you don’t fuss on exit or entry!  

See why fussing before you go isn’t beneficial, and some other tips to easing separation sadness, here. 

Consider other canines  

Are there any other furry friends that you can leave your pup with? Having some canine company will be beneficial for both dogs – especially if your dog’s pal also gets left alone a lot! There’s always the option of getting another dog, you know, if you have to...  

Classical music  

It has been found that classical music has a calming effect on dogs. You could find a classical music channel on the radio, or even play your own playlist for your dog to relax to throughout the day. Classical radio can work best as the music combined with calming speech is a good mix to lower your dog’s stress levels.  

5 tips for leaving a dog at home: 

Below are some extra considerations when leaving a dog home alone: 

  • Know what they need: Adapt the house for your pup’s bladder and food requirements. 
  • Use a camera to effectively prepare: Set up a pet cam (as found in PupPod) to see how your dog gets along home alone – this way you can prepare for the above in the best way possible. 
  • Move hazards: Keep anything that could harm your dog, or that it might love to chew, firmly out of reach! 
  • Build a doggy den: Made up of your dog’s favourite comforts, a doggy den can help your pet with any separation anxiety. 
  • Slowly increase alone time: If you’re leaving your dog home alone for the first time, try to start small and then slowly build on the time you spend apart.  

To sum up... 

Leaving your dog home alone can’t be avoided from time to time. Ideally, you shouldn’t leave your dog home alone for more than 4 – 6 hours. When you’re gone, prepare to make sure they’ve got everything they need for a fulfilling time at home. 

Doggy day care, or day-time dog walkers are also a good solution to keep your canine company. Or, dropping some (not-so) subtle hints to your boss about bringing your pup into work!  

If your dog is engaging in destructive behaviors, being hyperactive, or has lost interest completely, it might be time to take further action and speak to an animal behaviorist.  

Combining a mix of the above solutions will help to enrich your dog throughout the day, beating boredom and passing the time until you’re reunited. 

Want to spoil them and get them a pup pastime you know they’ll love? Buy a PupPod today!  

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