How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

Did you just cancel happy hour with your co-workers so you can go home to your dog? Many dog owners find themselves skipping out on social activities or completing tasks after work to avoid leaving their dog home alone for too many hours. Creating a safe and healthy environment for your dog helps pass the time but potty breaks are the top priority on the list when it comes to leaving your dog home alone.

As a pet parent, you have to work but you also need to balance it with being a responsible dog owner. Keep reading to find out how long you can leave your dog alone and how you can solve the problem quickly.

Potty Breaks

Chances are you have come home from a long day away from the house to find potty messes all around the house. Your dog most likely didn’t do it on purpose but it is a sign you have left your dog home alone for too long.

Most people work 8 hour days plus a total of 2 hours travel time round trip. This means you are at least away from the house for about 10 hours or more. Your dog is either highly uncomfortable holding their pee for that long or they have decided to release it in the house.

Quitting your job and staying home with your dog is not an option but you can make things easier for your furry family member by hiring a dog walker, pet sitter, or enrolling them in doggy daycare.

You can use the information below to see if hiring a dog walker is needed. Consider the amount of time you leave your dog at home and compare it to the general times a day a dog needs to go to the bathroom.

  • Puppies – A three-month-old puppy can hold their bladder one hour for every month of age. This means your two-month-old puppy can only hold their pee for two hours. If you are away from the house for more than two hours, finding alternative care as mentioned earlier is recommended.
  • Adult dogs – Healthy dogs aged one year and up can hold their bladder for up to eight hours. However, it’s recommended to not exceed six hours. Holding urine for too long increases the risk of developing a urinary tract infection, crystals, or stones.
  • Senior dogs – Healthy senior dogs aged eight and up can hold their bladder from two to six hours depending on their current health status. The size of your dog and health conditions play a role in the time frame recommended for leaving your dog alone. Consult with a veterinarian to determine the right time frame for your dog.

Exercise is a Must

All dog breeds require daily exercise to keep them healthy, stimulate their mind, burn calories, and digest meals. Exercise needs depend on the dog breed and their health status. If your dog is a bundle of energy when you get home, chances are they lack exercise and have been cooped up for too long in the house.

Whether your dog stays home for one hour or eight, you need to keep them entertained. Supply them with plenty of toys to stimulate their mind and help them pass the time. Interactive treat-dispensing toys are an excellent choice.

Every dog has their own specific needs. Discussing the healthy amount of time your dog can be left alone with a Saratoga area veterinarian is recommended. As a pet parent, you need to consider your dog’s age, health conditions, need for exercise, and potty breaks when creating the schedule. Don’t forget, you can hire a dog walker or enroll your dog in daycare to ensure all their needs are met!