Even though more and more stores, restaurants, and workplaces are becoming dog-friendly, sometimes leaving your dog home alone is unavoidable. How long is it OK to leave your dog home alone for? There is actually no easy answer. It depends on a lot of factors such as your dog’s age, breed, health, and whether or not he has separation anxiety.
In general, puppies need to pee one hour for every month of their age. That means your two-month-old puppy that you just brought home needs to go outside every two hours. By the time he’s six months old, he can hold his bladder for up to six hours.
Healthy adult dog
A healthy adult dog can go six to eight hours between potty breaks. Keep in mind, though, that if your dog needs to hold his bladder for eight hours a day on a regular basis, that can lead to urinary tract infections, stones, or crystals. If you can’t get home on your lunch break to let your dog out, you might consider hiring a dog walker or taking your pup to doggy daycare.
As dogs age, they can lose the ability to hold their bladder for long periods of time. Plan on taking your senior dog out every two to six hours.
Dogs with health issues
Some health conditions or their treatments can cause your dog to need to urinate more frequently. Steroids, in particular, can cause a dog to drink a lot more water than usual, which then causes more need to urinate. Talk to your vet about your dog’s condition to see how long they think your pup may be able to hold his bladder. Your dog will certainly let you know if you’ve left him alone for too long, and you’ll be greeted by the guilty face of a dog who didn’t want to have an accident inside the home but had no choice.
If you work from home
If you work from home, your dog (and his bladder) are used to you being around more often than not. Try not to leave him alone for more than four hours when you do need to leave the house. A dog walker can give your dog the potty break he expects when you need to leave him alone longer than that.
Dogs with separation anxiety
Obviously, the longer you need to leave a dog with separation anxiety home alone, the more upset he’s likely to become. Doggy daycare, dog walkers, and treat-dispensing webcams can all help your dog get through the day if you can’t bring him to work with you. For more information on separation anxiety, check out this article.
-Give your dog a safe space to stay while you’re gone. Try this method at your own discretion. Some dogs feel more comfortable in smaller spaces, whether that’s limiting them to one room of your house or giving them a comfortable crate to bed down in. Other dogs will become more anxious in an enclosed space and will be happier if they can roam your entire home.
-Don’t make leaving a big deal. If you start to become anxious about leaving, your dog will pick up on it and become more anxious. The more relaxed you can make your departure without a big farewell speech and hug, the better your dog will do while you’re gone.
-Don’t turn your arrival home into a big production. Again, if turns into a party as soon as you walk back through the door, your dog will spend all day anxiously awaiting the big moment. When you come home, spend at least five minutes acting like it’s no big deal before lavishing your dog with all your attention.
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-Leave him with plenty to do. Help your dog avoid boredom by leaving him with puzzle toys, treat-dispensing balls, bully sticks, or a Comfort Cuddler to snuggle with in order to prevent your dog from taking out his boredom on your shoes or furniture.
-Start and end the day with long walks. Walks are a great way to burn off your dog’s energy and make him more inclined to sleep while you’re gone. It’s also great bonding time between you and your pup.