How Long Can You Leave Your Dog At Home?

Giving our dogs alone time and leaving them home alone for a little while, we all know, is completely okay and even encouraged. But, how much is too much time for a dog to be left home alone?

All-Day Isolation and Stress for Dogs

For dog owners, it’s a simple truth that their dogs will be left alone at home on a nearly daily basis, if not every single day. The length of time they’re left alone will depend on their owner’s schedule and the lifestyle they lead. Even someone with the best intentions and the purest heart may have an eight-hour shift, a commute, and other things like grocery shopping to take care of…all while their dog waits those 12+ hours at home alone. For many families, this is a daily occurrence.

As dog lovers, this topic might be challenging to read about, but the fact that this conversation is mainstream now is a jump from how things used to be. Dogs have been left alone for long periods throughout history. It wasn’t too long ago that families used to go for weekends at a time and leave their dog–indoor or outdoor–without a second thought. Most people felt that as long as their dog was provided food and water, the dogs were living like kings. A dog’s physical or psychological comfort was not a consideration.

It’s socially common and acceptable to leave a dog home alone for 8-12 hours, but not many dog owners willingly confess to leaving their dogs home unattended for 1-2+ days. The unfortunate truth is that even when people decide to go home and tend to their dog instead of going out after work or something similar, they often face questioning and even mocking from friends and family.

It might sound like, “That dog is fine. Are you going to stop living life for a dog?” Another might be, “It’s only an extra hour to two!” Regardless of how minor the comments may be, over time, they can begin to make a person feel like they are

having to choose between having a social life and caring for their dog properly.

It’s imperative to note that it is not the aim of this article to blame or shame. With that said, I must shoot this straight:

Twelve hours, give or take, is probably too long for a dog to be home alone in one stretch.

That may be a controversial statement, as many people subscribe to the argument that they’ve been doing it for as long as they can remember, and their dogs have been just fine. Indeed, that may be true, but all it means is that their specific dog has figured out a way to cope with it. Dogs are adaptable, but they also can’t talk. That’s why it’s our job to put ourselves in their shoes for a second.

Though we love our dogs, many of us expect our dogs to be ready to play when we’re ready, but don’t think much about the whole lot of nothing we expect our dogs to do in between those times. Luckily, dogs are loving and adaptable, so we, as dog owners, do our part to not ask them to bend too far.



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