This is how long you can leave your doggy dearest home alone

By Kim Abrahams
09 July 2017

How is too long when it comes to leaving your dearest doggy home alone?

In some ways a dog is like a baby.

You practically raised your pooch from birth so you know its personality like the back of your hand, and even though it has the ability to infuriate you beyond belief, there’s little to nothing those puppy eyes can't get away with.

So it’s natural to feel guilty when duty calls and forces you to leave it to its own devices.

But how long is too long when it comes to leaving your furry friend home alone?

Read more: This pooch celebrated her pregnancy with an adorable maternity shoot

According to Tractive, a blog with information on canines, dogs over 18 months (when they're normally considered adults) can be left alone for four to six hours a day.

Puppies, on the other hand, should never be left without supervision for longer than two hours.

But the amount of time your adult dog can spend on its own depends on the type of personality your pet has, says Tamsin Durston, head coach at UK dog training organisation Dogs Trust Dog School.

“Just like humans, some dogs are fine being left alone and some need more company,” Durston told

“So it really depends on the individual and if it’s been trained to be alone since being a puppy.”

So what to do if you have no other choice but to leave your dog alone at home?

Make sure there are things to keep it occupied, Tractive suggests.

Read more: Pet dogs could help older owners be more active

Whether it’s a toy for it to play with, or making it so tired beforehand that all it wants to do is sleep, there are ways of ensuring your fur kid doesn’t lose its mind out of boredom.

“Dogs really do enrich our lives so there are ways to make it work if you have a full-time job,” Durston says.

Here are her tips on what you can do to make your dog’s alone time less of a moan-time.

  • Make your dog tired. Whether it’s a run in the yard or a walk around the block (if you’re fortunate enough to have the time before work) giving your dog some exercise before you leave mentally and physically tires it out, leaving your pooch ready for some R&R once you’re gone.

  • Leave the TV or radio on. Some people find this useful as it guarantees continuous sound and creates the impression that there’s life in the house. But Durston warns there are risks involved in leaving electrical equipment unattended. She adds that a pet reliant on constant sound would find it foreign if there’s a power cut.
  • Leave it doggy toys and chews. Instead of using a food bowl, having food-dispensing toys around is a fun way to keep your pet occupied and its hunger satisfied. Avoiding boredom prevents the dog chewing things it's not supposed to and peeing in inappropriate places.
  • Demarcate an area for your dog to move around by using a large dog crate. “Some people don’t like them but we like to think of them as four-poster beds,” Durston says. “You can also use a baby gate to keep the dog in another part of the house.”

Read more: WATCH: Dog doesn’t recognise owner who dropped 25 kg

Another option could also be to get your dog a friend, but two might not necessarily be better than one, Durston says.

“They might not help each other and you could just end up with two anxious dogs instead of one,” she warns.

Whichever option you choose, the most important thing is to take care of your precious pet.

They are man’s best friend after all.


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