People often get on to the topic when getting a dog to consider, how long can I leave them in the house alone? As many of us begin to feel guilty going out to work in the morning having to leave their furry friends.
There isn’t currently an answer to this question from any dog ‘experts’, but it is one of the most commonly asked questions by dog owners.
What we do know about dogs:
- Dogs are extremely social animals who develop strong attachments to their humans
- Dogs don’t just tolerate human presence like cats do, they physically seek it out
- Deprivation of human contact can result in welfare concerns
Lots of dogs get stressed when left alone, with many developing separation anxiety. When left alone, the levels of cortisol (a steroid hormone) in the blood increase, sometimes spiking, the whole time that your dog is left alone. Ideally, dogs should be left alone as little as you possibly can.
According to trainers and vets, the discussion is that around four hours is a comfortable time frame for adult dogs. However, this should only be used as an estimate, it depends entirely on the individual dog itself. Puppies on the other hand are completely different, and should only be left for short periods of time, and never for longer than they can hold their bladder. As for older dogs that are less active, they may be more comfortable being alone for longer periods of time.
Trainers have also said that a dog should be left alone for the least amount of time possible. However, a survey of British dog owners had found that more than a quarter of owners believe it is okay to leave their dog at home for between six and ten hours a day!
Hopefully one day there is a definite answer to this question, but we do know that dogs are sociable and loving animals that benefit greatly from attention.