The question of how long is too long when it comes to leaving dogs home alone is one posed by many dog owners and would-be dog owners, particularly those who work a 9 to 5 full time job.

A recent study conducted by the University of Brisol has suggested that a huge number of dogs are suffering with separation anxiety as a result of being left alone at home for long periods of time.

We wanted to solicit the views of dog owners on this thorny issue as it often proves one of the most commonly asked questions at K9 Magazine HQ…just how long is too long to leave a dog at home alone?

Dog Home Alone

Leaving Dogs at Home: How Long is too Long?

There tends to be two schools of thought on this issue

1. Working people should be able to have dogs, but leaving the dog at home for more than a few hours at a time is cruel and proper arrangements should be made to cater for the dog’s needs i.e professional dog walker or owner returning home to take the dog out.

2. There is a certain ‘cut off point’ at which it is simply too long to leave a dog at home on their own.

How Long Can a Dog Be Left At Home For?

So, the question is, where do you stand?

Is there a magical number after which it’s not OK for a dog to be left alone and, if so, what is it?

Should dogs EVER be left alone for periods of longer than, say, two hours?

Are we getting worked up over nothing? Is it OK to leave a dog alone for the length of a normal working day (above 6 hours).

And finally, what tips, experience etc do you have in helping a dog cope with potential separation anxiety issues?

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Your thoughts on this hot topic are very much appreciated. You can use the comment form below and we’ll publish your views – they might just help someone who is thinking of getting a dog but evaluating whether or not they have the time and resources to be fair to the animal.

  1. Provided they are well balanced animals and possibly if they have other dogs to keep them company I see no problem in leaving dogs for a working day, if other arrangements can’t be made.  Give them Food, water and something to entertain them, mentally, there shouldn’t be an issue

  2. I think different dogs react differently. Over the years we’ve owned a number of dogs, usually 2 at a time and they were quite content to be left for long periods of time,but now we have just one terrier who hates being left even for a short time. Some of my friends have breeds that are very lazy and really only want to sleep or look out of the window all day so I suspect they’d be happy on their own for sveral hours.

  3. I had a dog for 8 years who was happy to lie on the bed and look out the window, or sleep for 10 hours.  I saw that she was warm, fed, healthy and loved more than anyone could love her.  I lost her 3 months ago and am really struggling with wanting another one (rescue) but worry about the health consequences.  It’s very hard to paper train a dog that is already house trained.  I know plenty of people who work and leave their dogs home all day and they seem perfectly content.  I never had an issue with my dog unless she was sick, which was rare.

  4. The Daily Telegraph recently reported an article together with a set of statistics from Petplan regarding “peternity” leave. Peternity leave is time taken off work for one of two weeks when a new, young dog is brought into the house.
    As a dog-lover, I welcome the sentiment about settling a young dog into its new environment, but I find it thoroughly disturbing if this implies that post-peternity, the pet will have to get used to the idea of regular, lonely, cooped-up hours a day. Pets – particularly dogs – are not utilities to be switched on and off at users’ discretion, nor are they toys in a box that come out whenever the owner is so inclined. Remember – dogs’ lives pass 7-times faster than those of ours: an hour to us seems significantly longer to them. Its hardly surprising that they can be destructive due to boredom; hyper-excited when the ‘companions’ return; and prone to developing behavioural problems. Their four legs are not like those on a table… they’re there for a different purpose: for running around – whenever they want to. Their brains need frequent stimulation. We owe it to them to provide it.
    Should working owners have a companion dogs under these circumstances? That is a question that Petplan would be commercially shy to consider.

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