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Leaving Dogs Alone: A Guide

Leaving Dogs Alone - Happy Breath

Leaving Dogs Alone | Have you ever had to rush to attend to an emergency but didn’t know where to leave your untrained pup? Or have a busy work week coming up that will keep you away longer?

If this sounds like you, this article is meant for you. There is no denying that getting a pet is a big responsibility that comes with many learning moments. If you’re a dog parent, it is likely that you have had to leave your dog unattended for a few hours as you went about the day.

Although you may not want to leave your furry friend alone, there are some precautions you can take to ensure they are protected and taken care of.

However, before you even think of leaving your pet unsupervised, you should consider some of the following factors.

Dog Breed

Some dog breeds, such as golden retrievers, are family pets, and hence they love being around people. It may be difficult to leave them as it may cause an emotional reaction. However, some dog breeds such as Basset Hounds can be left to their devices as they can manage fine without their owner for a few hours.

Bladder Control

If your dog is untrained when it comes to relieving itself, you may have trouble leaving it unattended for long hours. This is because some dogs have a weak bladder that requires them to pee frequently. You may have to take them outside to pee if they are not fully trained to do so on their own.


If your pet is a puppy (younger than two years), then it is not a good idea to leave it alone for too long at once. Like a baby, a puppy needs care and attention and relies on its mother or the owner. However, if your dog is above the age of two, you can leave it alone for 7-8 hours.


Finally, you should consider your pet’s behavior and attitude. If they get emotional too easily, then they may have separation anxiety once you leave them. If the reaction is severe initially, you may have difficulty leaving it alone the next time you want to.

If you have considered these factors and have decided you can leave dogs alone for a few hours, the following guide is for you.

Here are some tips you can follow:

1. Leave Them Alone Gradually

One easy way you can accustom your dog to being left alone for some time is by leaving them alone a little at a time. Don’t try to leave your dog alone at once for a long stretch. This may be new for them, and they may get a bit disturbed by this. What you should do is try leaving them alone for an hour, then increase this time slowly to however many hours you want to. The idea is to make them used to your absence, slowly and gradually.

2. Play With Them a Bit Before Leaving

Before you leave dogs alone for a long time, try to play with them so they are happy and slightly tired. This will ensure that once you go away, they have immediate memories of you that get them through the period of your absence. Not only this, but play can make them tired, which will allow them to sleep for some time after you’re gone.

3. Fill Their Water Bowl

Depending on how many hours you plan on leaving them unsupervised, you should fill their water bowl and keep it in sight. This is to avoid dehydration as you may not give them water as you normally would have.

4. Take Out Their Food Dispensing Bowl

When you’re filling their water bowl, make sure you also fill their food dispensing bowl so they are able to eat. Usually, a food dispensing bowl is a good idea since it can keep your pet busy for a little while. However, if you don’t have a food-dispensing bowl, a normal bowl would do just fine. Just keep it in your dog’s sight and with only enough food that’s good for them.

5. Display All Their Favorite Toys

Try to keep all their favorite toys on display, so they have enough options to keep them busy. However, make sure you sort all those toys that are harmful or a choking hazard to minimize any chance of an accident.

6. Hide Away Anything That Makes Them Curious

Since ensuring dog safety is a vital aspect of leaving them alone, you should stow away all items that spark their curiosity. These items may include wires, trash cans, mirrors, or anything else that you are sure will attract your dog or cause a ruckus in your absence.

7. Lock All Doors and Windows

Moreover, make sure you lock all doors and close all windows tightly before leaving your dog unsupervised. This is important to ensure dog safety as they run outside or out of the main gate, which is a troublesome issue on its own. As extra precaution, ensure you have put a dog collar with a name tag, just in case.

8. Hire a Dog Walker

Finally, if your budget allows, you should hire a dog walker so they can drop by and check in while you’re away. Moreover, a dog walker can take your furry friend on a walk or play with it for some time to ensure they have an enjoyable day. However, make sure to arrange for one in advance so your dog can learn to trust them while you’re away.

The Bottom Line

It’s definitely not easy leaving your furry pet alone. However, at times, there is no option but to leave them unattended for a while as responsibilities and chores call. You may leave them alone, but it’s always a good idea to ensure proper care and safety precautions beforehand. Moreover, upon your return, make sure to give your pet ample time so they are not in any distress. As such, give them their favorite treat, so they are back to their normal self.