How Long is Too Long to Leave A Dog Home Alone?

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Can you leave your dog alone for 10 to 12 hours or not? Discover this and more further in this article. Read on.

Leaving your home can be tough! If it were up to dogs, they would follow their humans everywhere and spend hours up to humans’ feet doing nothing.

Dogs see us as members of their pack, and they want us close.

However, work obligation, unplanned life situations, all together, can lead to several extra hours outside the house.

Many owners do leave their puppies from day one alone, so they can see that being alone is not scary.

Others prefer to leave dogs occasionally alone to see if they are about to demonstrate any de structural behavior when alone.

Did you know that some dogs can’t handle being alone? Or that dogs can develop separation anxiety? Anxiety can affect their mental well-being and another aspect.

Still, if you are at work and an emergency pops-up, you must work longer, and your dog will be alone longer.

So, how long is too long to leave a dog home alone? Let’s discover.

How Long is Too Long to Leave A Dog Home Alone?

You can’t be with your dog all the time, and that’s OK. However, leaving your dog for too long alone can lead to several various issues.

If you are apartment-based your dog should know what his areas are, and what is allowed.

That’s why proper training and puppy restrictions are important. If you know that you will spend an entire day outside, get a dog sitter, or think about dog care.

Also, check if your company offers a pawternity leave.

This way, you will stop separation anxiety development and any destructive actions, such as destroying the couch and so on.

There is a theory when it comes to leaving your dog alone, and then there is real-life practice.

Due to busy work schedules and after-work obligations, it’s not uncommon to leave the dog home for 10 to 12 hours, and although this is a long period, it’s a common practice.

If you aren’t sure how to keep your dog entrained while you are at work, here are some ideas.

The theory says otherwise. According to theory knowledge, you should mind the dog’s age when it comes to time for being alone.

How Long Can You Leave Your Dog Home Alone

1. Puppies

For puppies, 2 hours a day is the limit. Puppies are just discovering the world, and they aren’t used to be alone.

They need their family to introduce them to new things and show how the world works.

Plus, they need to pee more often, so frequent walks followed by treats are mandatory to teach his bathroom habits.

Puppies are more likely to develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long.

2. Adult dogs (over 18 months)

Adult dogs can be left alone four to six hours a day. Plus, adult dogs are usually used to be alone.

They can sleep when you aren’t around, and they are unlikely to destroy something in the house if they behave nicely.

3. Senior Dogs

Can be left alone two to six hours: Having a senior dog means that you should learn about different dog’s needs and address them adequately.

Also, senior dogs are more prone to health issues. Sometimes, they may need to pee more, etc.

How Much Alone Time Is “Too Much”?

Now that you know how much a dog can handle being alone in each life stage organize. Make sure that your dog isn’t in isolation, not even tied up outside all day – you want your dog to thrive and not suffer.

So, never leave your dog alone for a whole day.

It’s cruel, and not a part of responsible pet ownership. Plus, dogs are very social animals, and they love being a pack member.

There are always ways to keep your canine happy indoor for some time. Mental stimulation is important for every dog, regardless of age.

If your dog is alone for more than six to eight hours, you should organize your day better and find other ways for your dog to get socialization.

Some of the ways may include:

  • Having a dog sitter all day with your dog
  • Having a dog walker
  • Going to doggy daycare
  • Getting someone you know, who is a dog lover, to drop by for a walk, feeding, or a simple pet

If you miss tending your dog’s needs, you can expect specific behavior.

This Can Happen When Your Dog Is Home Alone For Too Long

Next to strong separation anxiety, dogs that Are left alone for too long many develop bad dog-behaviors such as:

  • Biting
  • Getting lost
  • Stressing about the smallest sound
  • Binge eating, as you probably know already obesity in dogs is a rising problem
  • Excessive barking
  • Excessive howling
  • Scratching
  • Chewing on your favorite clothes and furniture

Luckily, clothes, shoes, and furniture are replaceable, but if your dog gets lost, you know that much more is at stake.

So, the best that you can do for your dog is to make the transition to staying alone go smoothly.

Dogs love routine, and they love to learn, especially if the learning process brings them treats.

Transitioning to Alone Time

Again, dogs love routine. So, if you make a massive change in your routine, your dog will feel it. With that in mind, here is how to teach your dog being home alone.

First Step

When at home, place your shoes at the exit. Leave them for a few hours. Then put your shoes on and go to the door. If your dog starts panicking, ignore him.

Wait outside the door for a minute, and then walk in. Take the shoes off and pet your dog once he sits. He must obey a command before you pet him.

Then put your shoes on and walk out for 5 minutes and go back. Then do the same while staying 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, a house, and more outside.

This way, your dog will see that you leaving is not that bad, because you will always get back.

Repeat this action at least three times every day.

Second Step

This one may be a bit challenging, but it has to be done.

Once you come home and your dog starts walking up to, wagging his tail, or jumping on you to get some kisses, you need to be cold as a cucumber. Don’t show any reaction or emotion.

Avoid giving your dog a warm welcome, especially if he is over-ecstatic.

Third Step

Once you are inside your home, keep ignoring your dog. Tell him to ‘sit’ and to wait, and only when he does that you can pet him.

You can even tell him to sit in his bed, whatever works for you.

After, and only after he listens to your command, settles down, and start breathing in a regular rhythm, welcome him and show affection.

After you wash your hands, of course, because a number of bag things can be transmitted from human to dog’s skin.

Also, don’t make a big buzz when leaving your home.

Don’t teach your dog words goodbyes, and so on. Just leave without saying anything. Of course, make sure that you leave fresh water in the dog’s bowl.

Do Dogs Really Get Lonely

Many wonder if the dog really gets lonely, or that’s a misconception. However, various studies have shown that dogs, during history, learn how to adapt to our world.

Still, they did preserve some of their initial needs, including one of being in the pack.

In the pack, dogs are felling the best, the strongest, and the most united. That’s why they suffer when they are left alone. They feel abandoned.

This is especially important if you have a puppy because if your puppy is younger than 14 weeks of age, they are insensitive periods.

They can only benefit from social interaction.

Again, for emphasis: Leaving a puppy home alone all day can damage his lifelong benefits.

What About Crating A Dog While At Work

People often think that crate can fix anything. Sorry, but crating a dog while at work can cause more damage, than create benefits.

If your dog is destructive of shows any sign of mental exhaustion, the problem is deeper.

The truth is that too-long stretches of isolation usually create behavior issues.

Plus, crating the dogs can only make bad situations worse.

Crating the dog can increase the dog’s stress level and even limit his ability to interact with his surrounding.

Sleeping in a crate is different than being the whole day in it.

So, instead of choosing to crate your dog for his behavior, use a better approach and address behaviors through positive training, or even proper management that might involve a professional trainer, and meeting the dog’s physical, emotional and intellectual needs.

Quick Ideas on How to Minimize Your Dog’s Time Alone

If you want to spend more time with your dog, but you can’t, here are some ideas:

  • Dog Sitter
  • Doggie Daycare
  • Come home for Lunch
  • Hire A Dog-Walking Service
  • Work From Home From Time to Time
  • Bring Your Dog to Work with You
  • Arrange for Someone to Visit Your House and Let Your Dog Out

The Bottom Line

If you could, you would probably take your dog everywhere with you. However, different job roles, the company’s strict rules, long-distance, and so on, can be a barrier to taking your dog to work, and so on.

So, the best thing that you can do for your dog is to prepare him for your extended absence by creating a frim routine.

Have a dog sitter over, or hire someone to walk a dog at least once when you are aren’t home.

If you have to travel, think about the best place to leave your dog. In the meantime, provide enough, routine, workout, lover, cuddles, and play.