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  • Writer's pictureAndy Wiltz

How Long Can Your Dog Stay Home Alone?

Leaving your fur baby at home is never a fun experience, but unfortunately dogs sometimes need to be left at home while parents run errands, go to work, and have human social time. A common concern is how long is too long to leave a pup unsupervised in the home? This varies from dog to dog, but here are some general rules of thumb as well as tips to help make the experience more enjoyable for you and your dog.

Age is one of the largest contributing factors to leave dogs home. This is largely due to the different bladder tolerances of puppies and dogs. In general, a puppy can be left home one hour for every month of their age. So, a 3 month old puppy can likely hold their bladder for 3 hours before needing a potty break. Pups under 10 weeks will likely need a potty break every hour. Once your dog is about 18 months old, they should likely be comfortable at home for around 6 hours, and from there you can work them up to about 8. Keep in mind, these numbers are average. Your dog may need more potty breaks, depending on training, diet, exercise and other factors.

Of course, potty accidents aren't the only risk that you take when leaving your dog home alone for extended times. Dogs are pack animals, and they view you as a part of their pack. Especially if you've spent a significant amount of time with them at home and make a drastic change in your schedule, your dog may experience separation anxiety. This can lead to behaviors such as drooling, chewing, barking, and getting into things they shouldn't. Be sure to asses your dog's separation anxiety levels before leaving them for significant amounts of time. If your dog exhibits any of these behaviors, or stops eating/drinking, or eats/drinks too much - you may want to check in on them more often. If you can't get away to check on them, you can check with your local Woof's Play & Stay, and see if Woof's At Home services are offered in your area! We'll send you updates on your dog, and visit as many times in a day as you need to make your pup feel safe and happy.

When leaving your dog at home, some tips to ease their anxiety and help them have a good day at home are:

  1. Don't make leaving/coming home a big deal. Treat this as if you were just popping out for a minute. Make sure your dog has everything they need, and give them a toy or treat to distract them as you walk out the door. When getting home, say hello, but try not to get your pooch too excited. This makes leaving and coming home just a normal part of your pup's day - not something to dread or anticipate.

  2. Make sure your dog has a safe space to occupy. If they have tendencies to bark at people/cars, put them in a room away from the street. Close curtains (and make sure the curtains aren't within reach for them to be pulled down). Make sure there is nothing in the room that could be tipped over or that could hurt your dog. Put on the radio or TV for soothing noises, and give your pup some comfort items, like a shirt that smells like you, toys, or chewy bones.

  3. Set up a Dog Cam. There are several options on the market for doggy cameras. Similar to nanny cams, this lets you check on your pup any time of the day. If you notice something is off, you can either pop home to check on them, or find someone trustworthy to do so. Some cameras, like this one from Furbo will even let you talk to your dog and toss them treats, which can help ease their anxiety.

If you just can't stand to leave your pup at home, or you need to be away for longer than you're comfortable with, you can always enroll them in DayPlay at Woof's. Our cameras give you every bit of piece of mind that a doggy cam would in your home, and you can rest at ease knowing they will get as many potty breaks as they need. They will also benefit from the socialization of being around other dogs with similar play styles, and have all the attention of the pack leaders to look out for them and take care of them. Doggy daycare is a great option for dogs of all ages, and you can even add on services like Play & Train or Puppy Preschool to help teach your dog new behaviors or correct current behaviors. Whether you prefer to have Woof's check on your dog at home, or have them spend the whole day with us, we've got the best interests of your fur baby in mind, and we're ready to talk about your needs. Call today to schedule your FREE meet & greet!

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