We all know the very worst time of the day… you’re running late for work or an appointment, just about to shut the door, and your dog runs over to give you their very best puppy dog eyes in hopes that you won’t leave them behind.
When you have to leave your fur baby at home, be sure to consider how long they should be alone. Here are a few things we think that you should consider before leaving your dog alone at home.
How Long Should You Leave Your Puppy at Home?
The golden rule for puppies is no more than one hour alone per one month of age (EX: two-month-old puppy = no more than two hours alone). Puppies need frequent bathroom breaks, especially when they are being potty trained. Make sure you get the go-ahead from your vet before you start leaving your new pup alone for longer periods of time.
Young dogs from the age of puppy to a few years old have high energy, so it is important to provide them with physical and mental exercise to encourage and develop good behavior habits. Remember, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog!
Leaving Your Older Dog at Home
Healthy, middle-aged dogs may be okay for a longer period of time while senior dogs may require frequent visits depending on their needs. Consider their eating schedule as well as any medications or supplements they may be taking on the schedule recommended by your vet.
Often, pet parents can forget that our senior dogs (who I affectionately call “sugar muzzles”) still need and deserve exercise and activity to the extent they can physically manage. Physical and mental stimulation can help prolong your pup’s life and we all want that, right?
From Small to Tall, and Lazy to Crazy
In addition to your dog’s age, you should also take into consideration the breed of your dog. This impacts your dog’s size and energy levels. Small dogs may need more frequent bathroom breaks than large dogs. Larger dogs may need to burn more energy and get moving more often as well.
Working and sporting breeds may naturally have very high energy and have a need for a higher level of mental and physical stimulation than other breeds.
Unseen Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Dog at Home Alone
Some things to consider before leaving your pup at home alone may not be as obvious as age or size. This includes animal-specific behavioral and medical issues. Crated dogs may display undesired behaviors after spending too long in a contained area due to limited physical and mental stimulation.
While dogs that are uncrated may have a more open space to play and walk around, they may display destructive behaviors if left unattended for too long. Double-check to make sure any hazards are cleared before you leave the house.
These undesired behaviors may be the result of lack of mental or physical stimulation, or from separation anxiety. If your dog is on medication, it is important to visit them frequently for proper medication dosage and to monitor side effects from the medication.
When To Hire A Pet Sitter
Each pet’s personality, activity level, and medical and behavioral issues are different. It is important to carefully consider each of these factors before you leave to determine the length of alone time that is appropriate and safe for your pet’s needs.
If you have long days at work or are headed out for a long day trip, consider a dog sitter or dog walker to give your dog the attention and care they deserve. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian if you feel unsure about how long your dog should be left at home.
What do you normally do when you have to leave your dog at home for a longer period of time?
Melanie is the owner and founder of Brevard’s premier trusted in-home pet care company. With a Sociology & Criminal Justice degree from the University of Tennessee, in 2016 she took her corporate security background and combined it with her lifelong passion for animals – that’s how Space Coast Pet Services was born! She is certified in Pet First Aid & CPR, bonded, insured, and proudly completed a full background check successfully. She is committed to ongoing training and education for herself and her team. To learn more, click here.
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