Can I leave my dog alone for 12 hours?

Most experts agree you shouldn’t leave your adult dog alone for more than eight to 10 hours, but some dogs (especially ones with small bladders) can’t last that long. DO prepare your dog before you go.

We understand that you don’t enjoy leaving your dog at home by himself. However, there are times when it must be done (have you ever heard of the word “work”?) The general consensus is that you shouldn’t leave your dog alone for longer than four hours if you have to leave the house without it. The length of time depends on the age, health, temperament, and behavior of your dog. A senior dog who snoozes most of the afternoon and a puppy who still needs to be potty trained require very different schedules. Continue reading to discover more about the elements influencing how long you should leave your dog alone—and how to do it safely.

The Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) is a U. K. -based nonprofit with 48 pet hospitals in its network. Pets have five welfare needs, according to the PDSA: companionship, environment, behavior, health, and diet. Even dogs who enjoy their alone time need companionship and interaction to live healthy lives because they are social animals.

Interesting behavior changes in many pets have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to alone time. According to the PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report for 2021, 27% of dogs adopted since the pandemic began in March 2020 exhibit behavior that can be attributed to a lack of socialization. Nearly 20% of newly adopted puppies experience stress when left alone, probably because their new humans were always around for the majority of their time together.

Before the pandemic, even dogs that were already members of the family began to behave differently. According to the PDSA, 22% of dogs that were previously owned are now engaging in novel behaviors, such as choosing to spend time by themselves in quiet areas and becoming fussy when left alone at home. Since the pandemic started, there have been “41 [percent] more reports of dogs being clingy,” according to a different Dogs Trust survey.

Changes in our circumstances and schedules can really mess with our dogs’ heads because they thrive with a routine. People who adopted dogs during the pandemic when they were working from home or spending almost all of their time indoors are, unfortunately, now realizing how time-consuming dog ownership really is.

Leaving your dog alone can be a sensitive topic, regardless of your experience level as a dog owner. Keeping an eye on their mental health is essential to ensuring their safety.

Can I leave my dog home alone for 12-hours?

It is not advised to leave your dog home alone for 12 hours, unless there are special circumstances. The typical dog won’t be able to do this comfortably, and they’ll also need much more stimulation than being left alone at home can offer.

However, there are some situations where you can prepare your dog for success if you must leave them unattended for a long period of time.

It’s crucial to note that if another choice, such as a dog sitter, pet service, or boarding facility, is offered, this is not advised.

Your dog must have access to a bathroom if they are left alone at home for more than 12 hours.

This might entail installing a dog door that leads to the backyard or installing a litter box or potty pads inside the house.

Both of these options have their drawbacks, though.

Dogs left unattended in the backyard run the risk of being stolen, escaping, or suffering other harm.

Training your dog to use a litter box or potty pad can be helpful in situations like this, but if your ultimate goal is for your dog to relieve themselves outside, it can occasionally throw a wrench in that plan.

Dogs must first be trained to use potty pads because they do not always do so.

Your dog needs access to plenty of water in addition to a location for bathroom breaks. Dogs can go for up to 12 hours without eating, but they shouldn’t be dehydrated.

If you will be gone for a long time, it is best to leave water in several containers so that your dog will still have access to water even if one of them spills.

You can provide your dog with access to water and a bathroom location, as well as an exercise pen or a special room in your house that has been made safe for dogs. Including lots of fun toys!.

Find a dog walker, pet sitter, dog daycare, or another option to give your dog a more predictable schedule for the day.

However, you can prepare your dog for a longer day at home if an unexpected emergency requires you to be gone for 12 hours rather than just 8.

This needs to be a one-time occurrence, and your dog needs to get enough attention and exercise as soon as possible.

Regular 12-hour stretches of solitude are a recipe for boredom, which can result in destructive behavior and even behavior disorders that call for medical attention.

When you leave your dog alone, take into account both their physical well-being and their capacity for solitude.

Dogs are social animals, and regularly spending 10 to 12 hours alone is unhealthy for them.

Before you leave your dog home alone, it’s a good idea to take them for a morning walk if it’s necessary. A lengthy stroll will enable them to take in the scenery and exercise their brains.

Being alone at home and not exercising could result in problematic behaviors. Social interaction is vital for a dog’s happiness.

How long can I leave my dog alone?

Depending on your dog’s age, tolerance for solitude, and toileting needs, you should only leave them home alone for the recommended amount of time.

Additionally, it will depend on how well you have prepared them for success. Do they have enough dog toys at their disposal, such as food-dispensing toys, chew toys, and toys for teething dogs?

Have they been trained to be OK with alone time?

The capacity of your dog to hold their bladder is one of the most important factors. According to the chart below, the suggested hours are equal to your puppy’s age in months plus one.

Age of Dog (Months) How Long Can be Left Alone (Hours)
2 3
3 4
6 7
12+ 8+

Or in this infographic:

Inside or Outside?

While their owners are at work, many dogs are left in the yard where they are happy and secure. The process for acclimating your dog to this is the same as for acclimating them to being left inside, and there are a few safety concerns to take into account.

Some dog breeds are better suited to being left outside, and some canine temperaments are more suited to this. Small or toy breed dogs shouldn’t be left outside; however, if they are used to it, the majority of other breeds will do just fine.

You’ll need to ensure your dog cannot escape your property. Dogs that are bored have been known to jump fences, dig under them, or chew their way through them as very skilled escape artists. You might want to have your dog microchipped so that if they do manage to get away, it will be easier to find them.

Additionally, if your dog is excessively barking or whining while you are away, you should be aware of it and show consideration for your neighbors.

Weather is a crucial factor, and your dog needs to be adequately protected from extremely hot or extremely cold weather. A reliable source of clean water and adequate shelter are both necessary. In extremely cold weather, your dog’s kennel may require a heating pad.

If your dog enjoys spending time alone outside, make sure you spend enough time with them inside and that they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom when you are gone.


Is 12 hours too long for a dog?

Different breeds have different social requirements: hounds are extremely social, but some “working” breeds and guard dogs are fine for 10–12 hours. Dogs can sleep for 8 to 10 hours without having to go to the bathroom.

What to do with your dog when you work 12 hours?

Before the shift, entrust your dog to a kind friend or relative you can trust, and pick them up the following morning. The second choice is to leave them alone and secure at home all night long.

How long is too long for a dog to stay home alone?

For adult dogs, 4-6 hours seems to be the most frequently recommended amount of time when left alone. However, many people leave their pets unattended for up to 8 hours each time they leave for work. Some families find it easier if there is a second resident who has a slightly different schedule.

Is it cruel to leave a dog alone all day?

Adult dogs shouldn’t ideally be left alone for longer than four hours. There is some leeway as long as your dog has access to enough food and water as well as a place to relieve themselves if necessary.