How Much Time Is Too Much To Leave Your Dog Alone?

How Much Time Is Too Much To Leave Your Dog Alone?

Author WDF Staff | Last updated: Apr 24 2023


As you already know, dogs are social animals; they thrive on companionship and interaction with their humans. However, modern life often requires dog owners to leave their dogs alone for a certain period of time. We all have responsibilities, and undoubtfully we will need to leave our dogs alone at certain times, and this raises an important question: How much time is too much for dogs to be alone?

To better understand the answer to this question, we made this guide with a little help from our vet expert. In this guide, we will explore all the important factors that will influence the ideal amount of alone time for dogs and some suggestions that will ensure that your furry friend remains happy and satisfied when you are not around.

Factors to consider when leaving your dog alone

Certain factors will play a major role when you need to leave your dog alone for a long. By understanding these things and with proper preparation, you can be sure that your dog will easily get through his alone time, and in no time, he will welcome you back home without even knowing how much time has passed.

1. Breed and dog temperament

The proper amount of time that certain dogs can handle alone will depend on their breed and temperament. Certain breeds, such as Greyhounds, as they are more independent, could easily survive alone for a longer period, while others, such as Labradors or Goldens – more social breeds may possibly struggle with separation.

Dogs with separation anxiety might need special care and attention to be left alone for a long. If you own a dog with separation anxiety, the best thing you can do is speak with your vet about all the steps you can take to ensure your dog can handle alone time.

In the meantime, to learn more about separation anxiety in dogs and what can happen with this health issue read this article - Separation Anxiety In Dogs - How To Stop It

alone dog

2. Age

Puppies and senior dogs require more care and attention from their owners, and if you own your puppy or a senior dog, it is not likely that you will be able to leave them for a longer period, especially if this is something you will want to do daily.

Puppies need constant socialization, training, and, most important frequent potty breaks, and to secure them, you must be around, and it is not advisable to leave them alone for too long.

On the other hand, senior dogs could have some age-related health issues that will need constant and frequent check-ins to secure their health. Senior dogs could also have problems with potty breaks due to their age.

RELATED: Puppy Alone Time - Here's How Long You Can Leave a Puppy Alone

3. Exercise

Dogs that receive proper and constant exercise and mental stimulation are more likely to be alright with being alone. A well-exercised dog is less likely to become bored and develop destructive behavior, and to do that, you must secure proper physical and mental stimulation for your dog.

This will extend their ability to be alone for a longer period.

alone dog

How much time is too much?

As a general rule, most adult dogs can be alone for 8-10 hours if you secure all the important things for them – mostly adequate physical and mental stimulation.

When we talk about puppies, the most you should leave them alone is 2-4 hours, since leaving them alone for an extended period, you can be sure that your puppy will become bored and destructive.

Depending on your senior dog, and his general health, the time he can be alone can greatly vary. If your senior dog doesn't have specific health problems, you can leave them for sure for 6-8 hours alone but take note that this should not be done daily.

If your senior dog has a certain health condition that requires constant attention, our advice would be not to leave them alone for more than 2-4 hours.

How to ensure that your dog will behave during the alone time?

There are steps that you can follow to ensure that your dog handles his alone time the best possible. Here are a few tips that can help you with this

1. Establish a routine

Every dog will thrive on a daily routine and consistency. Establishing a routine for your dog that includes regular feeding time, regular walks, and playtime could help your dog feel more secure when he is alone.

2. Provide proper stimulation

To keep your dog's mind occupied during his alone time, provide him with certain puzzles or interactive toys. This will help him elevate boredom; you don't have to worry about developing destructive behavior.

If you need to leave your dog alone for an extended period, consider enrolling your dog in doggy daycare or even hire a dog walker that can check your dog and take him on a quick walk during the day.

alone dog

3. Gradually increase the alone time.

If your dog is not used to being alone, you should do it slowly and at a pace that your dog is comfortable with. Don't just leave your dog the first day for the 8 hours because he will not know what is happening, and it is more likely that you will come back and find something destroyed in your house.

Start by leaving your dog for a shorter period and see how your dog will react to alone time. Investing in a dog camera is a good idea, so you can follow every step they make while you are not around. Here you can find some best dog cameras on the market and choose the best one for you and your dog - Best Dog Cameras

4. Check for separation anxiety

Separation anxiety is a serious problem for many dogs, and you must ensure that your dog is not suffering from it because if he does and you decide to leave him alone, you will only create more problems. Talk with your vet, and they will for sure give you the best possible advice for your dog.

How do dogs feel when they are left alone?

Every dog is different, and their emotions and experiences will greatly vary depending on their breed, temperament, age, and environment. Here are some of the most common feelings dogs could experience when left alone

1. Boredom

The most common feeling dogs will have when they are left alone is boredom. This is especially true if you own a sociable dog breed. Boredom will, in most cases, lead to destructive behavior, and in order to prevent that, you must ensure proper stimulation for your dog before you leave home alone.

2. Anxiety

As we said earlier, many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, and if your dog is one of them, you will have to find a proper way to make this thing work. You can't just leave your dog alone and hope for the best.

alone dog

3. Loneliness

Dogs thrive on companionship since they are social animals, and when you leave them alone, they could feel lonely since all they want to do is to spend time with their owners and play with other dogs.

4. Fear

In certain situations, dogs could become fearful when left alone. This is especially true if the dog is left alone in an unfamiliar environment, if he hears loud noises, or even if he has some past traumatic experiences.

To minimalize protentional negative emotions from your dog when left alone, you must provide them with a secure and conformable environment, establish a proper routine, and offer him proper mental and physical stimulation.

Gradually increase the amount of time that your dog will be alone, and if you follow all these steps, you can be sure that your dog will get used to spending time alone.

If you are concerned about your dog's behavior or emotional well-being when alone, consult your vet or a professional dog trainer who can give you some advice and guidance.

World Dog Finder team