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How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

Leaving a dog alone at home is a common concern for pet owners. It is crucial to understand how long you can leave a dog alone and ensure their well-being during your absence. In this blog post, our vets will discuss the various aspects of leaving a dog alone, including what they do all day, how to keep them occupied, and whether they need company.

Pets Alone at Home: What do dogs do all day?

When left alone, dogs typically engage in various activities to pass the time. Depending on their personality and training, they might:

  • Sleep: Dogs often sleep when left alone, sometimes for several hours at a stretch.
  • Explore: They might wander around the house, sniffing and investigating different areas.
  • Play: If they have toys available, dogs may play with them to keep themselves entertained.
  • Eat and Drink: They may visit their food and water bowls intermittently.
  • Wait for Their Owners: Dogs often spend significant time waiting for their owners to return, sometimes by the door or a window.
Understanding these behaviors can help you create a more enriching environment for your dog while you're away.

How long can you leave a dog at home alone?

The length of time you can leave a dog alone depends on several factors, including their age, breed, and individual temperament.


Puppies require more frequent attention and cannot be left alone for extended periods. As a general rule:

  • 8-10 weeks old: No more than 1 hour
  • 10-12 weeks old: No more than 2 hours
  • 3-6 months old: Up to 4 hours

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs can typically be left alone for longer periods, but it's still essential to consider their needs:

  • Healthy adult dogs: 4-6 hours is usually manageable.
  • Senior dogs may need more frequent bathroom breaks and companionship.
Leaving a dog home alone while at work for 8 hours or more without breaks is not ideal. If your schedule requires long absences, consider the abovementioned solutions, such as doggy daycare or hiring a dog walker.

What can I do with my dog while I am at work?

While some dogs are okay with being alone a little during the day, they don't necessarily like it. Dogs are pack animals and need companionship from their owners to be happy and comfortable. Here are some things you can do to help your dog when you are not home:

Provide Them With Entertainment

Before leaving, ensure your dog has a toy to keep them busy and happy while you're gone, such as a favorite stuffed animal or puzzle toy for a fun challenge.

Communicate With Them

Thanks to technology, you can stay in touch with your dog even when you're not at home. Pet cameras enable you to communicate with your canine companion, comfort your dog with your soothing voice, and monitor their behavior so you can reward them with plenty of tasty treats.f tasty treats.

Ensure Adequate Food and Water

Ensure your dog has access to fresh water and enough food to last throughout the day.

Help Them Feel Safe

Offer your dog security or safety by swaddling them in a jacket or keeping them in their crate with enough space to move around and play. Your pup might be hesitant initially, but it can be a lifesaver in the long run.

Hire a Dog, Walker

A midday walk can break up the long hours and provide physical and mental stimulation.

Doggy Daycare

Our team at Eastgate Animal Hospital is prepared to look after your dog during our doggy daycare. We welcome large dogs on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and we offer Tiny Time for our small friends on Tuesday and Thursday.

We provide comprehensive general pet boarding services for our patients and medical boarding for pets that require a higher level of care than standard boarding facilities can offer.

Does a dog need company, or does it like to be alone?

Dogs are social animals and generally thrive on companionship. While some dogs may handle being alone better than others, most dogs prefer to have company. Prolonged periods of isolation can lead to anxiety and behavioral issues.

However, it's essential to note that every dog is unique. Some may enjoy solitude for a while, especially if they gradually acclimate to being alone and have adequate stimulation and comfort.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to leave your dog overnight? Contact our Cincinnati animal hospital today to book your dog's stay in our boarding facility. We look forward to meeting you and your pup!

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Eastgate Animal Hospital is welcoming new patients! Our compassionate vets are passionate about the health of Cincinnati companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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