Do you feel guilty every time you close the front door on your beloved canine friend? Find out how long is too long to leave them home alone, and what you can do to enhance your dog’s day.
Dogs are incredibly social animals, and as their owner you are their pseudo-pack; the person they rely on for companionship and interaction. When we leave our dogs at home for long periods of time, they are at risk of becoming lonely, bored and/or developing separation anxiety.
While the amount of time a dog can be left alone varies depending on breed, age, and individual temperament, no dog should routinely be left alone for long periods of time, particularly if you are housing your pet in a crate.
Puppies that aren’t fully toilet-trained should never be left for more than one to two hours at a time. Read Leaving your puppy home alone for some tips to help reduce their stress levels when you do venture out.
Enrich your dog’s day
Of course, in the hectic, fast-paced world we live in, checking in on our dogs every four hours is simply not possible for everyone. Here are some things you can do to enrich your dog’s day:
- Get your dog a friend. Although second pets aren’t substitutes for your company, they do help to keep your dog occupied. Think about adopting another dog, or a cat to keep your dog company while you’re away.
- If a second pet is too much for you to commit to, arrange for a friend or neighbour who also owns a dog to come around during the day for a play. Bear in mind, the dogs need to be familiar and friendly towards one another.
- Look to hire some help. Consider getting a dog walker, a pet sitter or taking your canine to doggie day care.
- Give your dog some engaging toys to keep them occupied throughout the day.
- Take your dog with you on small errands.
- Go for a walk every morning before you leave the house to burn off excess energy and help reduce separation anxiety.
Signs of boredom
- Non-stop barking
- Following you from room to room
- Escaping from your yard
Make sure your dog is kept entertained and active, whether you’re around or not.
Dog breeds for busy people
While all dogs need your love and company, the following breeds tend to be a bit more independent than others:
- Bull Terriers
- Miniature Schnauzers
- Chinese Shar Peis
- Basset hounds
- Chow Chows
- Shiba Inus
- Tibetan Mastiffs
- Boston Terriers
- Norwegian Buhunds
- Black and Tan Coonhounds
- English Foxhounds
If you’re unsure whether your dog is bored or lonely, or a combination of the two, check out Is my pet lonely?