More often than not, we can be as anxious as our four-legged friends when we need to leave them alone.
And why wouldn’t we be stressed?
Apart from those sad dog eyes and guilt we feel over leaving them alone for more than a few hours, there is always the question of what you’ll come back to.
Ruined carpets, chewed up shoes or scratched doors are a frustrating reality for many pet parents.
So, how do you help your pet feel more comfortable when they are alone, and find peace of mind for yourself as well?
- Pets Home Alone: What Do Dogs Do All Day?
- How To Help A Sad Dog Feel Comfortable Alone
- How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone?
- Leaving A Puppy Home Alone
- Dogs That Do Well Alone
- What To Do With Your Dog While At Work?
Pets Home Alone: What Do Dogs Do All Day?
The answer to that question often depends on your dog’s personality. Some dogs that do well alone will take a quality nap while they patiently wait for you to come back.
If your furball is a bit more mischievous, they might turn to some normally forbidden activities, like climbing on the off-limits sofa or jumping on the counter to snatch a yummy treat.
However, there are also dogs who are absolutely terrified of being left alone. Dogs who suffer from separation anxiety channel their fear and nervousness into destructive behavior, resulting in ruined valuables and stressed out pets.
How to Help a Sad Dog Feel Comfortable Alone
One of the hardest things for most pet parents is leaving their dog home alone, especially when the dog is absolutely miserable in your absence. I mean, how can anyone be indifferent to a sad dog looking at you like you’re breaking their heart by going to work?
But, even if your pooch can’t bear to be away from you, there are simple ways to make them feel more relaxed when you’re away.
Make them feel safe
Try swaddle jackets or a crate. Even though your dog might resist both ideas in the beginning, these pet accessories can be lifesavers. Some canine psychology experts believe they might offer your dog a sense of safety and security.
Even if your pooch is heartbroken when you’re away, a challenging, fun toy might make them feel better in your absence. Leave them with stimulating puzzle toys or favorite plushies to keep them engaged and entertained.
Stay in touch
Technological advancements allow us to communicate with our pets even when we are not with them. Pet cameras offer not only the possibility to soothe your four-legged friend with your voice, but also track their behavior and reward them with treats or playtime.
How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone?
As much as we would love to, we can’t spend our days lounging with our precious furballs. From long working hours to even longer commutes, we often leave our pets alone more than we’d like to.
But how much is too much?
Ideally, adult dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than 4 hours. There is some wiggle room, provided that your pooch has access to enough food and water, as well as a place to go potty if they need to. However, even if their basic needs are met, you shouldn’t leave your pet alone and unsupervised for more than 8 hours a day.
But, what about sleeping, does that count in the final number of daily “alone hours”? Can dogs be left alone overnight?
Whether you’re working night shifts or just don’t want your pet in your bedroom, it shouldn’t be a problem to leave your pooch alone during the night. Dogs are not nocturnal animals, and they’ll sleep through the night. There are fewer stimuli in their environment and less excitement, so they’ll use that time for some quality rest time. The only exceptions are dogs who suffer from night-time separation anxiety, a disorder that means your four-legged friend goes into panic mode every time you close your bedroom door in front of them.
It’s important to remember that dogs are pack animals. Even if you leave them toys, treats and a safe place to retreat to, they will still need their human to feel happy and comfortable.
Leaving A Puppy Home Alone
Raising a puppy and working full time might seem like an impossible mission, but, with a little effort, it can be done.
First, it’s important to take note of your puppy’s age. Young puppies under 6 months of age can’t be left alone for more than two hours, so you might need a pet sitter or a doggy daycare to help you get through this tender period.
When you leave a puppy alone, it should be in a spacious, comfy crate or a puppy-proofed room. Not only that puppies love chewing everything they get their paws on, they can also injure themselves if they’re not confined to a safe space when they are alone.
As your puppy grows, you should start gradually increasing the time they’re spending alone. Leaving a puppy alone while at work will be much easier when they’ve had the time to get used to being on their own.
Dog Breeds That Do Well Alone
Even though every dog has their own personality, some dog breeds are known to cope with solitude much better than others. Breeds who do well alone are mostly those who are known to be less active and energetic than others.
Dog breeds that can be left alone for longer periods include breeds like:
- Basset Hound
- French Bulldog
- Shar Pei
- Bull terrier
- Chow Chow
- Akita Inu
- Boston Terrier
There are a few more breeds that have a good track record with separation, but how long can a dog be left alone in the first place, or, more precisely, does breed have anything to do with it? Just because your pooch doesn’t chew your shoes while you’re gone, it doesn’t mean you can leave them alone for days.
As I’ve already mentioned above, adult, housetrained dogs can be left on their own for a few hours, provided that their needs are met (food, water, toys), and that you regularly take them for walks and exercise each day.
Dog breeds that can be left alone for 8 hours while you’re working are usually intelligent, trained dogs that can entertain themselves in your absence. Pooches with this type of personality are eager learners and independent, and don’t rely on their owner to keep them company throughout the day. Dog breeds that can be left alone for long periods include Labrador and Golden Retriever, Beagle, Peekapoo, or Shiba Inu. Naturally, by long-term periods, it’s implied that the period is up to 8 hours a day and not more.
Of course, you shouldn’t forget about adorable mutts. Each dog has a personality of their own, and, sometimes, the breed of the dog only plays a small role in your dog’s temperament.
Are There Low-Maintenance Dogs?
When you’re choosing a dog, it’s only natural that you want to have a pet that will not suffer because of your hectic schedule. You need to consider every aspect of your life, starting from your living space and work obligations to your relationships, to making sure that the dog you’re getting will be the right match for you - and vice versa.
In most cases, people look for low maintenance dogs that can be left alone while they’re away for work, but a dog’s behavior will largely depend on their personality and, sometimes, breed.
To determine what type of dog will be happy in your family, you need to be realistic. After all, it’s not the same if a dog is alone in a house, has access to a fenced yard all day, or is stuck in an apartment, waiting for their walk for hours.
Apartment dogs that can be left alone are usually smaller in size, with fewer exercise requirements than large, active canines. They still need regular walks, playtime and healthy activity each day, but they just won’t get the pent-up energy that drives them to destructive behavior after a few hours of solitude. These small dogs that can be left alone include breeds such as Bichon Frise, Coton de Tulear, Maltese or Toy and Miniature Poodles.
But what should you do when you want a big, goofy pooch? Does that mean you can’t adopt a large dog if you work long hours?
Larger dogs can be on their own, too, but they need more space to feel comfortable. Size doesn’t always indicate the amount of energy a dog has, and many large breeds are quite laid back. However, they often suffer from bone-related illnesses later in life and need regular exercise to maintain their health. Breeds of big dogs that can be left alone include Shar-Pei, Greyhound, Bullmastiff, or Labradoodle.
It’s important to stress that, even though some dogs cope better with being alone, it doesn’t mean they should be neglected. Always make room for quality time with your pet and ensure they’re getting everything they need to be happy and healthy!
What To Do With Your Dog While At Work?
Since you’re the kibble-winner in your home, you’re bound to be away for at least a few hours a day at work. So, what should you do with your dog while you’re away?
In case you’re not too keen on leaving your pooch in a doggy daycare, chances are they’ll be home alone while you work. In that case, make sure you’re armed with the right supplies.
Find a high-quality, spacious crate for your dog. As for how long can a dog stay in a crate, the rule of the thumb is it shouldn’t be more than 8 hours. If leaving dog in crate while you’re at work is not an option or you don’t support crating (many people don’t), dog-proof the room you’re keeping them in to ensure they can’t injure themselves while you’re away.
A pet camera such as Petcube Play or Petcube Bites can help you stay on top of the situation even when you’re at work. You can keep track of your pet and communicate with them via two-way audio, using your voice to help them relax. To make those working hours feel super short both to you and your pet, check out the laser dot feature for remote playtime, as well as the rewarding treat dispensing pet camera model!
Even though leaving your dog home alone can be a trying experience, learning a few simple tricks and using the right accessories can make all the difference. Not only you’ll notice your pooch is more calm and relaxed when you’re not home, you’ll feel happier too!