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October 3, 2023

PetSafe® Expert

Hank Champion

The Do’s And Don’ts For How Long You Can Leave a Dog Alone

Whether you’re getting a new puppy or adopting an adult dog, you’re bringing a new family member into your life. While you may want to be with your new buddy all the time, responsibilities like work, family and errands can force you to leave your dog alone at home. That’s why we’re going to take a look at the do’s and don’ts of how long you can leave your dog alone at home.

How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone

If you’re starting with a puppy, they’ll need more potty breaks and require more of your attention. The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a guideline that recommends new puppies up to 10 weeks old can only hold their bladder for 1 hour. Puppies 10-12 weeks can hold it for 2 hours, and after 3 months, dogs can usually hold their bladder for an hour for each month they’ve been alive, but no longer than 6-8 hours once they’re adults.

The list below is another helpful guide based on research from David Chamberlain, BVetMed., MRCVS, and a PetSafe® Veterinary Consultant, with recommendations for how long you can leave a dog alone based on their age.

  • Mature dogs over 18 months of age: Up to 4 hours at a time during the day
  • Adolescent dogs 5 - 18 months: Gradually build up to 4 hours at a time during the day
  • Young puppies up to 5 months of age: Should not be left alone for long periods during the day

The do’s and don’ts of leaving your dog alone.

The chart above is a good place to begin. But because every dog is different, and life can be unpredictable, we’ve created a list of do’s and don’ts that provide everyday solutions to help you and your dog enjoy your time more together.

Do give them a dog door for potty breaks and sunshine on demand

Giving your dog access to the outdoors with a pet door has many benefits. Getting outdoors provides your dog fresh air and sunshine and provides mental stimulation and exercise. Plus, your dog will appreciate having unlimited potty breaks, and you’ll appreciate that it helps to avoid indoor accidents. An excellent example of a classic pet door that will let your dog come and go while keeping cold and hot weather out is the Extreme Weather Aluminum Pet Door™.

If you have a sliding glass door with access to a patio or yard, the Sliding Glass Pet Door is a great solution. It involves no cutting for installation and is easy to take with you if you move, so it’s perfect for renters.

Do provide a fence to keep your dog safe when you’re not watching

We just went over how giving your dog access to your yard is essential for mental stimulation, fresh air and potty breaks. But it’s also important to keep your dog safe in the yard and make sure he doesn’t escape. By installing a Stay & Play® Compact Wireless Fence or Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence™, you can keep your pup secure in your yard whether you are watching him or not. If you already have a traditional physical fence, but your dog still manages to escape, you can add a pet fence to keep him from digging under or jumping over your traditional fence.

Do provide fresh food and a consistent dog feeding schedule

Dogs love routine. Feeding the right amount of food on a consistent dog feeding schedule helps maintain a healthy weight. It can also prevent food-related bad behavior like dumpster diving in the trash can when you are away or begging for food when you’re at home. With an automatic pet feeder, you can give your dog portioned meals with the mealtime routine he craves. Here are two different types of automatic pet feeders that can help you with this. The Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder connects to your home's Wi-fi to schedule feedings and lets you adjust and monitor your pet's meals from your phone with the My PetSafe® app. Another great choice is the Automatic 2 Meal Pet Feeder, with easy-to-use dial timers that let you schedule 2 meal or snack times in ½-hour increments up to 24 hours in advance.

Do provide fresh, flowing water

When you can’t be home, you can still help your dog stay hydrated by providing access to fresh, flowing, filtered water. Dogs prefer clean, moving water, so the PetSafe® ½, 1 and 2 Gallon Pet Fountains encourage them to drink more, which is better for overall health. In addition, better hydration can help prevent a variety of common kidney and urinary issues, some of which may be linked to stress, which may be elevated when you’re not home. The fountains also have an adjustable trickling flow which can provide a soothing source of white noise to calm your dog while you’re away.

Don’t let your dog access off-limits areas at home

When a dog gets bored, and they know you’re not watching, they may venture onto furniture or places that they’re not supposed to be. Here are 2 ways to create pet-free zones in your home or around the yard. The Pawz Away® Mini Pet Barrier is completely cordless, wireless, and keeps pets off furniture and out of the trash, and because it’s waterproof, it can even keep your dog from digging in the flower beds. The ScatMat® Indoor Pet Training Mat is another way to help your dog stay on his best behavior. This clever and innovative training mat will quickly and safely teach your dog (or cat) where the off-limits areas of your home are. Just place the mat on your kitchen counter, sofa, near electronic equipment or even the kitchen trash can to keep curious pets away.

Do leave dog toys to play with

Interactive toys can chase away boredom, stress and help prevent separation anxiety while your dog waits for you to come home. One toy that's sure to capture your pup's attention is the Kibble Chase™ Roaming Treat Dropper. This engaging toy moves in an unpredictable rolling action while randomly dropping treats to entice your dog to chase it. If your dog loves to play fetch, the Automatic Ball Launcher is an interactive fetch system that's adjustable to throw a ball from 7 to 30 ft, so it's perfect indoors or outside. It has sensors in front of the launch zone for safety and a built-in rest mode that activates after 30 minutes of play to prevent your dog from becoming overstimulated.

If it were up to our dogs and us, we’d probably be together all the time. But since that’s not always possible, PetSafe® is here to help keep your dog healthy, safe and happy so that when you have to be apart, coming home will be that much better.

Written by

Hank Champion

Hank Champion

PetSafe® Brand Copywriter

PetSafe® Expert

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