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10 Dogs That Can Be Left Alone

Dog ownership is a rewarding experience, but it also comes with responsibilities. One of those responsibilities is ensuring that our furry friends are well taken care of, even when we’re not around.

Should Dogs Be Left Alone?

Dogs are social animals and thrive on companionship. However, the reality is that many pet owners have jobs and other obligations that require them to leave their dogs alone for extended periods. While it’s not ideal, dogs can learn to adapt to periods of solitude, provided that they receive adequate exercise, stimulation and attention when their owners are home.

Possible Problems if You Leave Your Dog Alone for Too Long

Leaving your dog alone for too long can lead to a range of negative consequences, including:

  • Separation anxiety: Dogs that are left alone for long periods may develop separation anxiety, which can cause them to become anxious and destructive.
  • Destructive behaviour: Dogs that are left alone may become bored and start engaging in destructive behaviour, such as chewing on furniture, digging, or barking excessively.
  • Health issues: Dogs that are left alone for long periods may develop health issues, such as obesity or urinary tract infections, from holding in their urine for extended periods.

Factors Affecting a Dog’s Ability to Be Left Alone

There are several factors that influence how well a dog can cope with being left alone:

  • Breed: Some breeds are more independent and better suited for solitude than others.
  • Age: Older dogs and puppies may have different needs and limitations when left alone.
  • Length of time: The longer a dog is left alone, the more likely they are to experience distress.
  • Type of house: Dogs in apartments may need more frequent breaks and stimulation than those in houses with yards.
  • Training: Proper training can help a dog feel more secure and confident when left alone.
  • Socialization: Early socialization can help a dog feel more comfortable in various situations, including being alone.
  • Individual personality: Each dog is unique and their ability to cope with alone time may vary.

How Long Can You Leave Your Dog at Home By Themselves?

The amount of time a dog can be left alone varies depending on their age, breed and individual needs. It’s essential to consider your dog’s unique situation and adjust accordingly. Here’s a breakdown of the general guidelines for leaving puppies and adult dogs alone:

Puppies: Puppies require more attention and care than adult dogs and leaving them alone for extended periods can be detrimental to their development. When possible, try to limit alone time for puppies as follows:

  • 8-10 weeks old: 1 hour or less
  • 10-12 weeks old: 2 hours or less
  • 3-6 months old: 3-4 hours maximum

As your puppy grows and becomes more independent, you can gradually increase the time they spend alone.

Adult Dogs: Adult dogs can generally tolerate longer periods of alone time than puppies. However, this may vary depending on the breed and the individual dog’s needs. Here are some general guidelines for adult dogs:

  • Small and Toy breeds: 3-4 hours
  • Medium and Large breeds: 4-6 hours
  • Independent and low-energy breeds (e.g., Greyhounds, Basset Hounds): 6-8 hours

Keep in mind that these are only general guidelines and each dog is unique. It’s crucial to monitor your dog’s behaviour and well-being closely and make adjustments as necessary to ensure their happiness and health.

Does it Make a Difference if it’s Day or Night Time?

Whether it’s day or night, your dog’s needs remain the same. However, dogs are more likely to sleep during the night, making it easier for them to tolerate alone time. During the day, they are more likely to need mental stimulation and exercise to keep them content.

How to Tell if Your Dog is Stressed When You Get Home?

Signs that your dog may be experiencing stress due to being left alone include:

  • Excessive barking, whining or howling
  • Destructive behaviour, such as chewing on furniture or belongings
  • Inappropriate elimination (urinating or defecating indoors)
  • Excessive grooming or licking
  • Signs of anxiety, such as panting, drooling, or pacing

Tips & Tricks for When You Have to Leave Your Dog Alone

To help your dog cope with alone time, consider the following tips:

  • Provide enrichment activities and toys to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated.
  • Establish a consistent routine to help your dog feel more secure.
  • Gradually desensitize your dog to being alone by leaving them for short periods initially and slowly increasing the duration.
  • Offer comfort items, such as a piece of your clothing or a favourite toy, to provide a sense of security.
  • Doggy daycare
  • Hiring a pet sitter or dog walker

10 Best Dog Breeds That Can Tolerate Being Left Alone

So which dogs can be left alone? The following dog breeds are known for their ability to handle alone time better than others. For each breed, we’ll provide some details on their characteristics and why they’re well-suited for families with busy schedules.

  1. Greyhound
  • Known for their speed, Greyhounds are surprisingly low-energy when indoors.
  • They are affectionate and gentle, making them great family pets.
  • Greyhounds are comfortable lounging around the house and can tolerate being alone for several hours.
  • Daily exercise is essential, but they are usually satisfied with a moderate walk or a short sprint in the yard.
  1. Basset Hound
  • Basset Hounds are friendly, easygoing and love to nap.
  • Their laid-back nature makes them adaptable to being left alone.
  • They require moderate exercise, so a daily walk will keep them healthy and happy.
  • Basset Hounds may be prone to separation anxiety if not given proper training and socialization.
  1. French Bulldog
  • French Bulldogs are small, low-energy dogs that are well-suited for apartment living.
  • They are affectionate and loyal, making them great companions.
  • Their calm temperament allows them to tolerate being left alone.
  • It’s essential to monitor their weight and provide regular exercise, as they can be prone to obesity.
  1. Chihuahua
  • Chihuahuas are tiny dogs with a big personality, making them adaptable to various living situations.
  • They bond closely with their owners but can also enjoy time alone.
  • Chihuahuas need minimal exercise, making them suitable for busy families.
  • Proper socialization is necessary to ensure they don’t develop small dog syndrome.
  1. Shar Pei
  • Shar Peis are known for their distinctive appearance and independent nature.
  • They can be aloof with strangers but form strong bonds with their family.
  • Shar Peis are comfortable spending time alone, but it’s essential to provide them with mental and physical stimulation.
  • Daily exercise and consistent training are necessary to keep them well-behaved and happy.
  1. Whippet
  • Whippets are gentle, affectionate dogs that enjoy lounging around the house.
  • Their calm demeanour makes them suitable for being left alone.
  • Whippets require daily exercise, such as brisk walks or short sprints in a fenced yard.
  • They are sensitive dogs that need a consistent routine and gentle training.
  1. Maltese
  • Maltese dogs are small, affectionate and adaptable to various living situations.
  • They can tolerate being left alone if given proper training and socialization.
  • Maltese dogs need regular grooming due to their long hair but require minimal exercise.
  • Early socialization is crucial to prevent them from becoming overly attached to their owners.
  1. Boston Terrier
  • Boston Terriers are friendly, intelligent dogs that can adapt well to apartment living.
  • They are affectionate and enjoy spending time with their families but can also tolerate alone time.
  • Regular exercise, such as walks or playtime, is necessary to keep them healthy and happy.
  • Consistent training and early socialization can help them become well-behaved pets.
  1. Chow Chow
  • Chow Chows are known for their distinctive appearance and aloof personality.
  • They are independent and can tolerate being left alone.
  • Chow Chows need daily exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.
  • Early socialization and consistent training are crucial for raising a well-adjusted Chow Chow.
  1. Shiba Inu
  • Shiba Inus are intelligent, independent dogs that can adapt well to various living situations.
  • Their strong-willed nature allows them to tolerate being left alone.
  • Shiba Inus require daily exercise and mental stimulation to keep them

While it’s not ideal for dogs to be left alone for extended periods, many dogs can adapt to their owner’s schedules with proper care, training and consideration. By understanding your dog’s unique needs and limitations, you can make the best decision for your family and your canine companion. Remember to monitor your dog’s behaviour and well-being closely and make adjustments as necessary to ensure their happiness and health.

Left Alone Suitability by Breed

Are you trying to find out how suitable a particular breed is to being left alone for long periods of time? See below for detailed information on all of the most popular breeds.

10 Dogs That Can Be Left Alone (How Long is Too Long?)