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How long can you leave a dog alone?

How long can you leave a dog alone?

We know you'd love to stay home and snuggle with your pooch all day but it's just not feasible to be home all of the time. After all, you have work, school, and errands to take care of. So, how long can you leave your dog alone, and what they will get up to while you are gone? Our Southgate vets explain.

How long can you leave a dog home alone while I'm at work?

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? 

To be honest, there is no one-size-fits-all answer; it all depends on your dog's age, breed, and overall personality. Because of their bladder control and the risk of separation anxiety, young puppies under 6 months old should not be left alone for more than 2 or 3 hours. When you do leave your young puppy alone, 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 for 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 I'm away?

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, such as destroying furniture or breaking valuables. If your dog has this issue, try leaving them alone for short periods of time and gradually increasing the time you are gone. If a dog can handle being alone for 4 hours, it should be able to handle 8 hours on its own. 

The Basset Hound, French Bulldog, Chihuahua, and Pugs are some of the breeds that are best at being left alone for long periods.

What can I do with my dog while i am at work?

While some dogs tolerate being alone for a short period of time during the day, they do not enjoy it. Dogs are pack animals that require the company of their owners to be happy and comfortable. Here are some things you can do to assist your dog while you are away:

Get Off To a Good Start

Always make sure your dog has had plenty of exercise before leaving the house! A tired dog is usually a well-mannered dog. The amount of exercise dogs require each day varies greatly, so consult your vet or breeder for guidance on getting your dog the right amount of exercise to keep them fit, healthy, happy, and out of mischief.

Provide Your Pup With Entertainment

Make sure your dog has a toy to keep them busy and occupied while you're gone, such as their favorite stuffed animal or a puzzle toy that will provide them with a fun challenge.

Communicate With Them Via Tech

Technology allows you to communicate with your dog even when you are not at home. Pet cameras allow you to communicate with your canine companion so you can soothe them with your soothing voice or keep an eye on their behavior so you can reward them with lots of tasty treats.

Help Them Feel Safe

Swaddle your dog in a jacket or keep them in a crate with enough room to move around and play to give them a sense of security or safety. Your dog may be wary at first, but it could save his life in the long run.


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 boarding facility. Boarding can provide your canine companion with the care and companionship they need when you are out of the house. They give your dog plenty of time for exercise, socialization, and fun!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

Are you looking for a dog boarding facility to give your pooch a safe, comfortable, and welcoming home-away-from-home? Contact our Southgate vets right away to learn more about our dog boarding program.

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Southgate Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Southgate companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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