There are certain hot topics when it comes to dogs, and their time alone at home is one of them. As society evolved, so have our understanding of man's best friends and their reaction to our behavior. Years ago, people wouldn't even worry about hours or days their dog is left at home if they were provided with sufficient water and food.
However, today, we know much more about dog psychology and they don’t like being alone and isolated for long periods. So, how long can you leave a dog alone actually depends on several things and practices that can help you both feel more comfortable.
Take into account certain specifics
Young and senior dogs need to go potty more often, and shouldn’t hold it for more than two hours. If the dog has certain medical conditions, that will also require that you take them outside more frequently. On average, dogs need bathroom walks three to five times a day although it all depends from pooch to pooch.
If you adopted an adult dog from the shelter, they may already have certain anxiety issues. This means that you should spend as much time as possible with them and even take time off work.
A crate is not a solution for the entire day
A crate may seem like the most comfortable solution for you both, but leaving your dog caged for long periods is detrimental. Separation anxiety can cause a dog to chew things like furniture and shoes or bark constantly. But if you approach the problem with patience and determination, it may be prevented.
So, confining them to crate is okay if temporary and for short periods, not more than two hours. And to avoid destructive behavior, take them to behavioral training and meet their needs at home. Every dog needs socialization with humans and other dogs, so make sure to provide them with this interaction.
Ask for help
A dog sitter or dog walker could be a good solution when leaving your dog at home alone. However, you can also ask a friend or family member to stop by, take them for a walk and play with them for a while. Dogs are social animals and like the company, so someone checking on them is good for them and you, especially if you suffer from separation anxiety.
Use pee pads for puppies since they need to go potty more often. That way you will stop them from making a mess all over your place.
Take them to work
Some companies are pet-friendly which is a great opportunity to take your furry friend to work with you. But, if that is not the case, talk to your boss about working from home for a few days a month or allowing you to keep the dog in your office. Take into consideration that some colleagues may be afraid of the dog which can prevent them to do their jobs.
Know the basics
You can easily find out about dog health and care through websites like Totally Goldens and available videos on dog training. To teach your dog to withstand being alone for longer periods, you need to cover the basics. For example, puppies 8 to 10 weeks old should be left alone for an hour since they need to pee several times a day and also are still babies who need closeness.
From then on, you should gradually increase the alone-time as they grow for up to 8 hours per day when they are 18 months and older. Dogs need to go potty on every 4 to 6 hours and while they can hold it longer, they shouldn't. One of the reasons is that bacteria pile up in their urine and can lead to infection and some other serious conditions like cancer.
Leave them at doggy daycare
Doggy daycare is a good idea if your pooch is friendly with others of their species. However, this shouldn't be something you do every day, but only a couple of times a week. After all, if it becomes too expensive or the daycare closes at one point, your dog will develop a habit that may be traumatic to break.
Also, pay attention to the state of the daycare. Namely, if it’s clean, how they treat the dogs and how much space they have. Other times, when your companion is at home, consider installing a monitoring system that will also allow you to communicate with your dog. For example, you can use speakers to tell them to stop chewing on something or calm them down when they’re barking.
The answer to the question of how long can you leave a dog alone depends on the breed, age and behavior characteristics of your furry companion. Today, you can use all sorts of resources to help you make your dog comfortable while you are away, like doggy daycare or dogsitter. But staying apart for too long is not good for their overall health, and may also cause you a fair amount of discomfort.
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