How Long Can You Leave Your Dog Home Alone?

We all have to do it but we hate it when it happens. We run out the door from work, stop for errands on the way home, and hurry to make it home before the dog’s bladder bursts.

How Long Can You Leave Your Dog Home Alone?

It is never the ideal situation to leave your dog at home alone but, when it happens, how long can you leave your dog at home before it is too long?

The answer depends on the following:  age, size, training, and health issues.  

Puppies and smaller adults dogs usually need to go outside more often than larger adult breeds.  Health issues and medications, like prednisone, can increase urination in canines.   Elderly dogs may need more bathroom breaks due to advanced age and/or incontinence issues.

When leaving your dog at home, what is a general guideline for how long your dog can be left alone?

  • Puppies that are 8 - 12 weeks old need outdoor breaks every hour or more often (like every 15 minutes) when playing.
  • Puppies that are 3 - 4 months old can last 1 - 3 hours before needing to go outside.
  • Dogs that are 4 - 5 months old can generally last 4 - 5 hours before requiring outside time.
  • By 1 year old, dogs should be able to last 6 - 8 hours before needing to go outside.

If dogs are being left alone 10 - 12 hours, that is likely too long for any dog to wait before relieving himself.  When dogs are being left for extremely long periods of time, it may be necessary to review other options like; doggy daycare, coming home at lunch, hiring a dog walker, take dog to work, or work from home.

Work/life situations can always arise that are out of our control.  If there is a temporary situation that suddenly arises, you may not have time to interview dog walkers or to arrange for doggy day care.  In these kind of extreme situations, arranging an area in a room for a dog may be ideal to keep your dog comfortable while also allowing options for your dog to relieve himself.  Using mobile, portable grass inside could be ideal if your dog is like mine and refuses to use pee pads.  

Situations can always arise but remember that your dog is counting on you.  Building trust and a solid bond between you and your dog depends on your dependability.  Accidents can happen but by limiting alone time and/or making other arrangements for breaks, will set your dog up for success!