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How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

You try to base as much of your life around your dog as possible but sometimes it just won't be possible and you may need to go out without them. Here, our vets in Westfield talk about how to safely leave your dog at home alone and how pet boarding may be a good alternative option.

Is it okay to leave a dog at home alone?

Unfortunately, there will be times when you need to go out and do things without your dog. This means considering other options, like leaving at home. This can leave you asking 'How long can you leave a dog at home alone?'.

The first thing you should know is that all dogs are different. How long you can leave your dog at home alone will depend on the dog itself. Young puppies under 6 months old should not be left alone for more than 2 or 3 hours because of their bladder control and the risk of separation anxiety. When you do leave your young puppy alone it's best to 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 move around comfortably.

So what will your dog do all day while you are gone?

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.

Dogs that get lonely, bored, or anxious easily, will likely find their way into things and situations that they shouldn't. If your pooch does happen to have this problem try leaving them alone in short intervals, gradually increasing the time you are gone. Once a dog can handle being alone for 4 hours, they should be able to manage 8 hours independently. 

The basset hound, French bulldog, Chihuahua, and pug are some of the breeds that are best at being left alone for long periods.

How can you help your dog enjoy their time at home alone?

Even though you can leave your dog at home alone, it doesn't mean that they will enjoy it. Dogs are pack animals and need companionship from their owners to be happy and comfortable. Here are some things you can do to help your dog when you are not home:

Make Sure They Exercise Before You Leave

Before you leave the house, always be sure that your pup has had plenty of exercise! A tired dog is typically a well-behaved dog. The amount of exercise dogs need each day varies widely so be sure to ask your vet or breeder for advice on getting your dog the right amount of exercise to keep them fit, healthy, happy, and out of mischief.

Offer Them a Variety of Entertainment

Before you leave make sure your pup has a toy to keep them busy and occupied while you are away, such as their favorite stuffed animal or a puzzle toy to provide them with a fun challenge.

Check-In on Them Using Technology

You can stay in touch with your pup even when you are not home thanks to technology. Pet cameras let you talk to your canine companion so you can soothe your pup with your calming voice, or even keep an eye on their behavior so you can reward them with lots of yummy treats.

Give Them a Safe Environment

Offer your dog a sense of security or safety by swaddling them in a jacket or keeping them in their crate with enough space to move around and play. Your pup might be hesitant at first but, it can be a lifesaver in the long run.

Pet Boarding in Westfield

If your pup doesn't do well with being left alone or if you will be gone all day, you may want to consider dog boarding.

Our dog and cat boarding facility at Westfield Animal Hospital can provide your canine companion with the care and companionship they need when you are out of the house. The staff at the boarding facility will be sure to meet all of your pet's needs during their visit.

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

Are you considering scheduling a visit to our dog boarding facility? Contact our team at Westfield Animal Hospital today.

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