Having a dog also means having schedules, routines, and planning. Organize your work hours, social outings, and various tasks based on when you’ll be back home to attend to your best friend’s physiological and affectionate needs. While dogs enjoy the company of their humans (hence the unconditional love they give us), leaving them alone at home is not necessarily a bad or dangerous thing. Keep reading to find out how long you can leave a dog alone and get tips to make their time alone at home safe and enriching.

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Consider their bladder

The first question most people have about leaving a dog alone at home is: How long can my dog hold it without peeing? According to experts, dogs generally need to pee between three and five times a day. However, this number varies depending on the dog, their breed, and size. Additionally, puppies and older dogs need to pee more frequently.

Photo by Joe Smith

So, how long can a dog hold it before needing to pee? Here are some guidelines on common time limits for dogs at different stages of life. This will help you navigate how long you can leave a dog alone:

• Puppies: One hour for each month of age. For example, a three-month-old puppy can go about 3 hours without peeing.
• Adult dogs: From one year of age, dogs can go up to 8 hours without needing to empty their bladder, but ideally, it shouldn’t exceed 6 hours.
• Older dogs: From eight years old, the frequency with which dogs pee will depend on their size and health. But they will need to empty their bladder approximately every 2 to 6 hours.

Of course, the above times are mere estimates and vary depending on the dog’s size, health, and habits. Don’t strictly adhere to them. Use them only as a rough guide. Gradually, you’ll get to know your dog and understand how often they need to pee.

It’s important to emphasize that this doesn’t mean the dog should “hold it.” Like in humans, holding back the urge to pee can pose a high risk of urinary infections, gallstones, or kidney crystals in dogs.

Our recommendation? For your dog’s safety and comfort, try to provide them with the opportunity to pee every 4-6 hours.

Work and Dog Balance

The ongoing struggle of balancing work and family life also takes center stage for dog owners. After all, they are another member of the family. So, a key aspect of leaving a dog alone at home during working hours is precisely knowing how to reconcile work and family life to meet your furry friend’s needs.

We have the solution! Average workdays typically last between eight and ten hours. So, if it’s impossible for you to come home during lunchtime to take your dog for a walk, you can rely on the help of a Gudog dog walker. In this case, we recommend regular walks. Look for walkers in your area, contact them through their profile, and formalize your first reservation. You won’t regret it! And we know someone (woof, woof!) who will be grateful for it for a lifetime.

Exercise Matters

We shouldn’t only consider physiological needs when thinking about leaving a dog alone. There’s more to it. Your dog needs physical activity during the day. Regardless of your dog’s energy level and physical condition, exercise will help them:

  • Digest meals
  • Stimulate their mind
  • Burn calories and stay healthy
  • Avoid boredom (and boredom-induced destructive behaviors)
Photo by Anna Dudkova

Exercise needs vary based on your dog’s age, breed, and health. But regardless of this, all dogs need to stretch their legs at least a couple of times a day.

In general, healthy dogs need about 60 minutes of moderate activity every day, but it doesn’t have to be continuous. Before leaving a dog alone at home, we recommend walking or actively playing with them for 20 to 30 minutes. Tire them out so that their time alone at home is more relaxing and rejuvenating.

And of course, don’t forget to spend quality time together when you return home! It’s the best time of the day for them (and probably for you).

If your dog exhibits anxiety or destructive behaviors after being alone, they may need more intense and frequent exercise. You can discuss this with your veterinarian to get some insights.

Mental Activity Matters

Beyond how long a dog can hold the urge to pee or how much exercise they need daily, mental activity is crucial for keeping your best friend healthy, happy, and well-behaved.

Puppies and young dogs require more mental stimulation than adults, but all dogs need something to engage their minds during the day. Without this, they might get bored and even adopt destructive behaviors when they are alone. The latter doesn’t necessarily reflect behavioral problems but is a sign that the dog needs more stimulation to avoid getting bored and, consequently, to refrain from adopting these behaviors.

Whether it’s a training session, a walk in the park, a puzzle game, or a round of clever games at home, stimulating activities help keep your dog healthy and compensate for the time they spend alone.

Photo by Chewy

Ideas to keep your dog busy:

  • KONG toys are a classic: fill them with treats you usually offer to your dog. It will be a challenge!
  • Nina Ottoson puzzle toys are great for sharpening our dogs’ wit.
  • Safe chew toys are essential, such as Nylabone or natural antler chews.
  • Create a safe and comfortable area for your dog. With their bed, toys, and even a shirt that smells like you if your dog is prone to separation anxiety.

Count on Gudog so you don’t have to leave a dog alone

All dogs are different. Some can tolerate being alone longer than others. But they all need to attend to their needs, get physical exercise, and receive proper mental stimulation. Therefore, if your schedule means your dog spends most of the time alone at home, consider enlisting the help of a trusted caregiver to lend a hand.

A dog walker or caregiver can provide your dog with the activity they need during the day, help you feel better about separating from your best friend, and, of course, make your return home a much more enjoyable experience for both of you!

Feel free to reach out if you need assistance finding the best caregiver for your dog 🙂

What is Gudog?

Gudog is the easiest way to find & book the perfect dog Sitter. Thousands of loving Sitters are ready to care for your dog like family! All bookings come with Veterinary Care & Free Cancellation.