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What should I do with my dog while I'm at work?

Many people have to go off to work and leave their dog home alone. But how long is too long for a pooch to be left by themselves? Here, our Westminster vets explain how long you can leave your dog at home without them succumbing to boredom, anxiety or depression. 

Leaving Your Dog Home Alone While You're at Work

What do dogs do when they are left alone? Your dog's nature will usually determine the answer to this question. While some dogs do well on their alone and can take a long nap as they wait for you to return, others will experience fear and uneasiness due to separation anxiety. These may then end up being channeled into destructive behavior. 

Some dog breeds are thought to fare much better at home alone than others. Typically, dog breeds that perform well on their own are less lively and active. Some of these breeds include:

  • Akita Inu
  • Basset Hound
  • Boston Terrier
  • Bull Terrier
  • Chihuahua
  • Chow Chow 
  • French Bulldog
  • Pug
  • Shar Pei

How long can you have a dog alone?

For older dogs, the most common prescribed time appears to be 4-6 hours. Many people find their pets can be left alone for up to 8 hours while they go to work. If they have sufficient space to move around and play, a dog can adapt to staying home for 8 hours. 

Some households have an easier time if other people such as children or spouse are in the house. In any case, as for the answer to the question, "How long dog can you leave a dog home alone?", dogs should never be crated for more than a few hours at a time (disregarding sleepy time). 

How long can puppies be left alone?

There is no simple solution to the question of how long a puppy can be left alone. Puppies can retain their urine and feces for one hour per month of age. They require more care than an older dog, much like a newborn infant. If you work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and do not have someone at home to care for your new puppy, consider getting an older dog, preferably one that is 2-3 years old. Or you can look for doggie daycare and boarding services.

Can I help my dog feel more comfortable being alone?

Leaving a dog home alone while you're at work or elsewhere may have you feeling a bit nervous at first. Fortunately, there are easy things you can do to make your dog feel more at ease while you're away from home.

Make Them Feel Safe

Swaddling jackets and crates can be lifesavers for dogs who are terrified to be in the house on their own. According to some canine psychology specialists, they may provide your dog with a sense of safety and security.

Give Your Dog Some Entertainment

While you're gone, leave your dog with intriguing puzzle toys or beloved plushies to keep them occupied and entertained.

Keep in Touch

When their pets are not with them, pet owners are increasingly employing video cameras to connect with them. Owners can use the technology to monitor their pets' behavior and reward them with goodies or playtime.

Doggy Day Care

Dogs, like children, can make it difficult to organize social trips or holidays that are not suitable for your pet. If you know you'll be gone for an extended period, leave your dog with a doggy daycare in your area. They'll make sure your dog has a great time playing with the other dogs while also receiving first-rate care from professional handlers. If you are faced with the decision of leaving your dog at home while you're at work or finding someone to babysit your pup for the day, Wachusett Animal Hospital offers to let you drop off your dog in the morning and pick them up after work. You may also opt to save yourself an extra trip to the vet and have your dog's wellness exam done while they are here.

What if daycare isn't an option?

Find a high-quality, spacious crate for your dog. However, be aware that the rule of the thumb is that a dog shouldn't be left in a crate for more than 8 hours.

If you don't support crating (many pet owners don't), then make sure you dog-proof your home so they can't accidentally injure themselves. A pet camera can help you keep tabs on your dog while you're at work. You can monitor your pet's location and converse with them via two-way audio. Check out webcams with laser dot features for remote fun to make those working hours feel very short for both you and your pet.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. If you are concerned about your pet's health, contact your veterinarian right away for diagnosis and treatment.

Do you still have questions about how long you can leave a dog home alone, or are you interested in our daycare services? Contact us today. Our team at Wachusett Animal Hospital can answer any questions you may have.

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