How Long Can You Leave Dog Alone?7 December 2022
Written by Dr. David Cuffe, MVB MA MRCVS Veterinary Surgeon
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 6 Jun 2023
We never want to leave our precious pups behind and I’m sure most of us are guilty of canceling plans in order to stay curled up with their pooch and watch Netflix. According to a study by Link AKC, who looked at 2,000 dog owners, over half of owners regularly skip plans in order to stay with their pooch. Too sweet.
Sad as it is to say, we all have to separate from our fuzzy friend once in a while. But how much is too much? We asked the experts.
Back in a bit
One of the hardest things about having a dog is the guilt that comes with having to leave your pup alone. Physically, some dogs can hold their pee for up to 8 hours but beyond toilet breaks there is loneliness that comes into play. As David Cuffe, from Cuffe vets, explains “dogs are social animals and need company. So any sort of regular alone time will seriously lower the quality of life.” Therefore, he explains that if you are thinking about leaving regularly, no time is good. If you have to leave them behind when you work everyday, then Cuffe would recommend finding dog support help. But the occasional bout of alone time of “a few hours at most” is usually fine.
Dog trainer and bestselling author, Nigel Reed adds, “how each dog perceives the experience of being left alone varies from one another. For example, some dogs will cry, worry and destroy the home the minute the owners leave where others will sleep for the whole duration. In the former example, leaving the specific dog for one minute is too long.” But he feels the maximum alone time for a dog who tolerates separation well is four hours - but, again, only occasionally.
If you do have a dog that has serious separation problems, both experts think some training needs to take place to build up their confidence. Doggy independence doesn’t come naturally. Typically, puppies are trained to help them get used to alone time. If your dog panics you can help them by walking out of the home and back in again for very short periods so they get used to the regular coming and goings of life. As Reed explains, “this should all be done without speaking or looking to your dog. Once they appear confident with you leaving for short periods, you can slowly extend the time you are out before returning again.”
We hope this helped. Worried you may be leaving your pup for a little too long? Not to worry we’re here to help. Sign up to create a free profile and take a look at the local borrowers here who would love to keep your doggy company in those alone moments.
This article is for information only, and should never replace any advice, diagnosis or treatment from your veterinary surgeon. Always contact your local vet or out of hours vet without delay if you have any concerns about your dog.
Know someone who’d love this?
Want to hear about a different kind of dog care that both you and your dog will love?
Or perhaps you’re a dog lover who can’t have one of your own right now?
We have the pawfect solution, BorrowMyDoggy!