How long is too long to leave a dog alone while at work?

8 Answers

Sanjoy Pinto Profile
Sanjoy Pinto answered
Its absolutely okay to leave your dog alone for long periods of time, so long as you give him the proper care and comforts.

If not, even 15 minutes of leaving your dog alone will be stressful for your pet!
So first off, I'd suggest learning what it is you need to do to make your dog's aloe time as comfortable as possible. This really is the key, and here's a clip I found that shows you what kind of simple things you need to make sure of before leaving your dog alone: 

Now I have a medium sized dog that I leave alone at home for 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week as I have to go work!

She is not let to roam freely in the house though, as she has the typical chew-it-all-and-destroy tendency. I purchased a round cage (~5ft diameter) that is available in most pet stores. 
I place this cage in the center of my large kitchen/living room. This way, even if she is confined to the cage, it feels more comfortable for her as she can "see" a large open area. 
The cage is on tiled floors as she is capable of destroying the carpet. I leave a rug in there sometimes and/or turn on central heat if it is a cold day.
I make sure I leave her plenty of water. I also give her a small bone or a similar treat so she can chew on it during the day. There are also 5-6 toys in there (some squeaky toys and ropes for biting into) so she can play and relieve some stress. Occasionally I leave the living room TV or radio on low volume so there is something to keep her from getting bored.

Before I leave for work, I do play with her for about 5 minutes alongside getting ready to go to work. I make sure she has done her potty in the morning at least once. She can go twice sometimes - once as soon as we wake up and once just before I leave for the day. So I give her the opportunity twice before I go. She generally eats only once during the day (in the evenings), but sometimes I also give her a little in the mornings if I feel she didn't eat enough the day before. If so, I make sure she does potty twice before I leave. I do not leave any food for her in her cage.

When I come back home, she is really happy to see me back. Occasionally she will try to nip my jeans or shirt sleeves trying to say "...you left me for a long time today!". But she is alright and has always been okay with this. I give her some love and take her outside immediately. She will always do potty soon. She has always been able to hold it for the 8-10 hours that I am gone.

Depending on how it is outside (it rains quite a bit where I live), I'll either take her out to the dog park or for a walk (for about 20 mins at least) or play with her at home. Occasionally she likes to play with other dogs and puppies in my neighborhood. After we get back from that I feed her.

Its very important to allow a dog to express himself/herself when you are with him/her. Allow them to bark ... Allow them free outside your house ... Allow them to run and sniff around for a bit. As long as they get to do this regularly, they will be okay with confinement for the 8-10 hours you have to leave them alone.

I'd be lying if I say I don't feel guilty about leaving her alone. But I realize she is okay with it, and so I know it is good this way. Far better than being in the wild or on the road or even in a Shelter or Kennel.
melissa childers Profile
I would say no longer than 8-9 hours..we leave our baby shar-pei in her crate for 8 1/2 hours and she doesn't seem to mind..she waits until we let her out before she potties..thank goodness!
thanked the writer.
Anonymous
Anonymous commented
I leave my dog alone about 4-5 hours a day about 4 days a week.. You gotta leave your dog alone sometimes. I think you need two dogs. They will keep each other company, my one year old chiweenie loves other dogs and i wish i could afford another one. Dont crate him, use babygates to set up an area all his own, use 'potty pads' so he go. And get him entertainment toys, like KONGs. Dont leave a dog in the pound where he will feel cages and alone all the time. These people are silly dont listen!!
Barry Weinzimmer Profile

I have a bloodhound/Basset mixed breed.  She will be 10 years old this June.  I am gone almost 12 hours a day at work.  It is a matter of training.  When I got her, I kept her in the Hall Bath...wrong.  Chewed up the cabinet.  What a mess.  Anyways, I bought a huge kennel/cage (4' long by almost 3 foot) wide that has an adjustable vertical grate that you can expand as the dog gets bigger.

This worked out great.  When she reached the age of about 3-4, her chewing diminished and I started leaving the kennel cracked before I left so she could walk around.  This worked out great...except... For the one time she did chew something, she chewed my portable home phone. I tied it around her neck with a small rope for a week (loose of course).  To this day, when I show her a phone, she looks away. I know it sounds cruel, but she never did it again...LOL. 

Anyways, now she can stay at home by herself, well with the cat I have, and she normally lies on the couch most of the day.  After a good 5-6 years staying at home by herself, roaming the house for almost 12 hours a day/ 5 days a week, no issues. She can hold her bladder for that long.  I let her out in the morning and when I get home, she hears the beeping of me disarming the security system from the outside and when I open the door she is all over me. Then I let her out in the back yard to go.

So, with all that said, you can train a dog to be by themselves for at least 10-12 hours.  Maybe the cat helps, I don't know. I do know they love each other because I have found my cat sleeping on her nose while she naps.  Funniest thing you ever want to see.  I even made a video and posted it to Youtube.

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

Jeez! I agree with Tandy, I don't think any of you deserve a dog as it happens!

I own a dog and if we are out we arrange someone to come and check on him  allow him a walk make sure water is available but i also live next door to a couple who  leave their dog locked in a bathroom from early morning 9am/10am to 8 to 10pm at night and the poor thing howls and cries all day.

You don't know how stressed your dog is if you aren't there, I won't leave my dog alone for more than 2 to 3 hours without a check by someone, simply because we care.

I hear you say "but but we gotta work" and I say if you're incapabable of spending the time with your dog then you shouldnt have 1! 

And think of your neighbours. Yeah I know you don't give  a *** about your neighbours either!

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered

Yes, but it depends on the dog. A lot of people will tell you that you're a horrible person, but there are hundreds of thousands of dogs living in shelters who barely have any human contact at all. If you can give a loving home to one of those dogs, then you're not a bad person.

It's a new concept for me, as I grew up with a mom who was home with our dogs during the day. Then, when I got my first dog as an adult, I lived in a laid-back beach town where I was able to bring him to work with me, and I spent most of my "fun" time at friends' homes, where I would bring him with me (I also had a car). Not to mention, my commute was 5 minutes so I could easily take him for a full hour-long beach walk in the morning.

I moved to New York City last summer and planned to bring him, but a coworker's family who was watching him for me while I moved guilt-tripped me into leaving him there and he gets to live that same life.

But after several months in NYC I wanted a dog again, so I recently rescued another one. This time I have no car, a 30-minute commute, a dog-free office, and almost all socializing is done out and about. At first I felt so guilty and anxious about leaving him home and having a young, busy life that I freaked out and was about to just foster him. But things have turned out great, actually!

I take him for a half hour walk in the morning and spend time with him while I get ready. After 8 hours or so, my roommate comes home and takes him for a long walk. Then we hang out with him and play/pet/love him for several hours. We take him out once or twice more to pee.

Dogs sleep on average 16 hours a day (some more or less). That means it would be normal for them to sleep all night beside you, then your entire workday. Another thing is that dogs are used to having full bladders, as they evolved to be able to "mark" their territory. So we think of even a remotely full bladder as unpleasant, it is a different sensation for dogs. This is not to say dogs don't become uncomfortable at a certain point, but my last dog was able to go out as much as he wanted (house with open doors to backyard) and he often wouldn't go for 12+ hours at a time by choice.

My new dog has been great! He was used to sitting in a crate all day because he was in shelters for at least several weeks before we got him, so he did fine. Now we let him roam free in our living room while we're gone, so he can sleep on the couch, rug, floor-- wherever he wants.

I am still able to do things like go to ballet class or on a weeknight date because my roommate is usually home every evening. If she works late, I plan to come straight home and spend time with him. If we both have to work late, I call my dog walker. He loves that because he gets to walk and play with other dogs, too.

On Fridays, if we are at work all day and then go out at night, I plan to put him in doggie daycare on those days so he has been around dogs and people all day and won't miss us one bit.

I am the kind of person who likes to stop at home after work just to re-group, even if it's out of the way, so it works.

Weekends work out well, too, because we are usually around or in-and-out throughout the days, and he gets lots of walks, park trips, and quality time with us. Then we go out around 10 or 11pm, which is his bedtime anyway, so he doesn't miss us then either.

My dog is a 6-year-old poodle mix, which is easier than, say, a border collie pup. He seems very happy, and doesn't show signs of anxiety even when we leave or come back. I will say I got really lucky with him! So far he hasn't had an accident or made any other kinds of messes. He doesn't bark a whole lot either, which is good because the other units in our building are all businesses that would not be able to handle a barking dog all day.

And I couldn't do it without my roommate! Even though he is "my" dog, she puts in just as much day-to-day time with him as I do. Without her I would feel terrible if I ever went and did anything after work.

Especially if you are young, people will tell you to not get a dog, that it's like having a kid and your life is over, but that's not true.

Some dogs are very needy and can't deal with being alone all day, even with a dog walker. If you adopt a dog, make sure to tell them that you work full-time, and they will make sure you get a dog who can handle it. A couple of dogs I tried to adopt, the shelter said it would be a bad idea, but suggested better dogs for me.

Another great option would be fostering rescue dogs. That way you can see how well you can handle a dog and find the right one for your lifestyle. I also wanted a social dog who would enjoy coming to dog-friendly bars and restaurants, since I am young and am going to be doing a lot of that.

Best of luck!

Gerri Wise Profile
Gerri Wise answered

I don't have to not get a dog because I work.  I work 10 hours a day four days a week and my dog Bailey is used to my schedule.  When I get home in the evening she is excited to see me, and I am just as happy to see her.  When I am home on the weekends I spend all the time I can with her. I don't cage her on the weekends, she has free reign of the house.  Once I took her to the shelter because I thought I didn't have time to care for her.  I missed her so much I went back and got her.  I won't apologize for what I have to do to take care of my family, and I won't not get a pet because of someone else's opinion.  If you want to sit home with your dog all day, do that.  Get a sitter even.  Whatever works for you.  I do what works for me.

Allabarra Lantern Profile
Two to three hours maximum, in a whole day, is more than enough to leave an animal like a dog, alone. That does not mean you should let it roam the streets. If you can't be there for aq dog, you should not have one. It  really upset me when I had to go to work and leave my dog. The only answer was to find her a new, loving home where she could get the time and attention she needed and deserved.
Tandy Williams Profile
Tandy Williams answered
I think a majority of you are all messed up. 1 you have to work that's a given but if there is no one home at all during the day to stimulate, love and take dogs potty then you need a sitter, a dog walker to come in an hour a day mid day. If that is not what you are willing to do then you have NO business owning a dog. They are creatures of feeling and a desire to be with companions. You keeping them around like that without a companion in the day is SELFISH. However they also can handle longer the 1 or 2 hours. Rule of thumb, only as long as they can hold their bladder safely. I have a Chi, he sits on my chair while I am gone, with tv going and I return 4 hours later, greet him, take him for a walk and then lots of attention. I am gone only 3 days a week. My maltese puppy I put in the bathroom with a bed, food water bottle for rabbits (due to staining), a kong toy, stuffed animal and a small blanket of hers I slept with for my scent and put puppy gate up so she can hear the tv going and my Chi can safely visit without biting her. I have my daughter come and walk them after 4 hours on the 1 day I am gone all day shopping or at work on Saturday. This is called smart and reasonable, I then can work without my dogs getting sick or lonely or lonely causing sickness or bladder infections or other infections for holding bladder and bacteria in body for 8 hours a day. Live but live with your companion, whom has feelings too, in mind

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