A brown and white dog stares out the window.

Back to School: Leaving Your Dog Home Alone

Fall is here and school is back in session! So what does that mean for your furry friend who unfortunately has to stay at home while you’re gone? Well, that depends on you. One way or another, once summer is over, most pups get left alone at home, possibly for hours at a time.

Whether you’re on summer break yourself and have a dog or have younger children that have been watching the family dog over the summer while you’re at work, summer has come to an end. Now it’s time to head back to school, which means you’re tasked with figuring out what to do with Roxy, your beloved pooch, during the day. Here are some best practices for leaving a dog home alone.

Best Practices for Leaving a Dog Home Alone

Unfortunately, you’ve got no other choice but to leave your dog home alone while you go to class, so what are some things you can do in order to make your furry friend’s time alone more pleasurable and have it pass by quicker?

There’s one important thing that you must determine when it comes to leaving your dog home alone, and that is whether you’ll allow them to roam free in the house, keep them restricted to a single room or living area, or leave them in a crate/cage. Most of the time, this comes down to how much you trust your dog, and it usually has to do with how old they are and how well they’re trained.

If you trust them to not make a complete mess of the house or have an accident in the house while you’re gone, then it’s very likely that you’d allow them to roam the house and do as they please. It’s also possible that you might trust them, but not enough to let them roam the house, in which case you might leave them in a closed-off room or a large area such as the living room. On the other hand, if you can’t trust them, and they’re just a puppy or still fairly young, you’re likely going to leave them in a cage while gone.

Dogs that are left to roam the house have much more freedom, for obvious reasons. They can come and go as they please, they can nap wherever they’re comfortable, they can play with the toys you’ve left lying around the house for them, and they can eat and drink whenever they so choose. In this instance, it’s easier to leave your dog at home for an extended period of time. If you leave your dog in a cage, then none of the above applies. You shouldn’t leave your dog in a cage for more than a couple hours at a time without letting it out periodically to go to the bathroom and stretch its legs.

If you leave your dog in a cage while you’re at school or away from home, you’ll have to make sure to either come home during a break in your day and take them out for a walk or have someone stop by to let them out. It isn’t healthy for a dog to not go to the bathroom for extended periods of time. If your dog has a small bladder, you might come home to an accident in their cage, which just means you have to clean it up. You don’t want your dog potentially sitting in its own poop for hours.

A solution to your troubles might be to look into dog daycare. Similar to daycare for children, dog daycare is a great option for dog owners who may be gone for a few hours during the day. Dog daycare is a friendly place that dogs can stay during the day and run around and play with other dogs. At dog daycare, they can get their much-needed exercise for the day and meet new dogs, which helps them improve their social skills! This is a great way to introduce your dog to new dogs and people and allows them to become more friendly.

With that being said, here is a list of independent dog breeds that can be left alone for long periods of time:

Independent Dog Breeds

Although the breeds above are typically more independent and open to being left alone for a couple of hours, dogs, in general, should not be left by themselves for longer periods of time, such as a full school day or workday, for example. Dogs are extremely social animals that thrive on attention and need a good amount of exercise in order to remain healthy.

In order to keep your dog comfortable and satisfied while you’re gone for more than a couple of hours, follow these tips.

There are also some smart pet devices that you can look into buying to keep your pup busy while you’re away from home. A couple of these include the playdate smart ball, the WickedBone toy, and Petcube bites. Read the article to learn more about these products, as well as additional devices that you can use to keep your dog busy during the day.