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How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

It used to be that we never thought twice about leaving dogs alone at home say, for several hours or an entire weekend. But more and more pet owners have been asking the question about just how long you can leave a dog alone and whether or not isolation has some long-term effect on our beloved pets’ well-being. Then there’s also the legal question of what’s considered “too long” when leaving your pet alone. Animal Welfare Act 2006 requires pet owner to provide all their pets’ basic needs, but no specified timeframe as to how long it’s deemed illegal to leave them, even with access to these.

Except maybe in cases of a huge emergency or an unavoidable situation that have prevented the owner from returning home, there are some situations which would be considered neglectful and may instantly merit legal repercussions, such as:

·         Leaving a dog without access to water for 12 hours or longer

·         Leaving a dog chained up, with access to food and water for longer than 48 hours

·         Leaving a dog outdoors in hot weather for more than 24 hours, without shade or water

·         Leaving a dog outdoors in extremely cold weather

Moral Concerns

Now if we discuss moral concerns regarding how long you can leave your dog alone at home, opinions often vary. The length of time they could stand isolation would also depend on the dog’s personality or breed, but generally, dogs should be allowed to relieve themselves every four hours. Most experts also agree that 8-10 hours should be about the longest period you can leave a dog alone, provided he has access to food and water.

Dogs are highly sociable creatures and many of them tend to feel stressed and anxious if left too long without a companion. Some dogs may resort to aggressive or destructive behavior if left unsupervised. However, leaving home for work or a few days sometimes, can’t be avoided. If you’re leaving for work, you’ll most likely be gone for at least 8-10 hours at a time. As long as you take some measures to ensure that his needs are adequately provided for and take into consideration some of the following recommendations, being left alone would be much easier for you and your pet.

Here's is an infographic that you need to know about how long can you leave your dog alone?


How to Make Separation Easier

It may be unavoidable to leave your dog for longer stretches but there are some options you may consider to make separation a lot easier, for both you and your pet. How long can you leave a dog alone? For an average adult dog, 6-8 hours should be the maximum time you should be leaving your dog on its own. If your dog shows signs of anxiety or exhibits destructive behavior if left alone for long periods, there some options you may consider so you can make separation easier.

1.      Leave your pet in a comfortable home environment.

Create a safe, large enough space for your dog to rest and roam while you’re away. If your dog is comfortable inside a crate or having a room on his own, make sure he has food, water and everything he need within reach. If your dog is crate trained, someone should still check on him every 4-5 hours.

2.      Keep your dog busy.

Leave him chew toys or dog puzzles to keep him entertained. Pet stores online now sell a variety of toys that your pet will surely enjoy. Before leaving your dog home alone while at work, schedule a walk around the block or a bit of play time in the yard so he’s happily tired and content right before you go.

3.      Consider doggie daycare or a pet sitter.

If you’re leaving your dog home alone overnight or an entire weekend, you’re going to need a bit of help. Whether it’s hiring a pet sitter, leaving him with a pet boarding facility, or talking to a trusted friend or a family member, you’ll have better peace of mind knowing there’s someone who would take care of your pet’s needs if you have to go on a long vacation or will be gone for 12-24 hours or longer.

4.      Train him on being alone.

A little training can go a long way to raising a well-adjusted pet dog. Practice leaving your dog in his crate or space, going through all the motions of leaving i.e. putting on your shoes, grabbing your coat and car keys, etc. Wait for a few minutes outside and return inside, only if he’s quiet. Extend the periods of time until he gets accustomed to you leaving and returning. Never come back if he barks or cries. Give him praise and treats if he stays quite while you’re “away.” Puppies would be easier to train but some older dogs can be taught too, with a little more patience.

5.      Find ways to adjust your own lifestyle.

If you’re lucky, you and your dog can benefit from a work-from-home arrangement, even if it’s just a day or two every week. See if this is something your work nature or employer can allow. If you live nearby, you can go home during y our lunch hour to spend time with your pet. This would make parting a little easier for the both of you.


It’s hard to be separated from our beloved furry friends but for most of us. We have to go to work for eight or so hours a day and the commute would take a little more time away from home. Apart from your dog’s basic physical needs, you may consider the factors that would help you determine just how long is too long for your pet dog to be left alone. If you have to go away for weeks or months, we offer tips on what to do with your pets while you’re on vacation.


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