How long can you leave a dog alone? My husband and I are out of the house all day, so our dog is pretty much by himself for about 9 or 10 hours. Are we bad parents? Thank you, Tina.
The fact you’re concerned about this shows me you’re not bad parents, the opposite in fact. In an ideal world we’d have enough money not to have to go to work, or at least have the opportunity to work from home. That isn’t the case, and we don’t want to deny ourselves the amazing companionship of a dog either. Having said that, dogs are social creatures and it isn’t fair to leave them alone for that length of time.
They absolutely have to spend some time alone, otherwise they will develop separation anxiety, but not that long.
So is there a solution? There are a few in fact.
Whatever you decide, it is important to take him for a long walk, or even run before you go to work. It will tire him out and make him less anxious about being alone. I know there’s always a mad rush to get out the door, but I’m afraid it’s too important, so you may have to get up a few minutes earlier.
How about doggy day care? Prices vary but even if you can’t send him every day, one or two days a week will help.
Hire a dog walker to break up the day for him, not to mention give him the chance to pee and poop.
Do you have friends or neighbours who could take him for a walk?
How about a barter system? You have someone walk the dog, or let him stay at their place during the day, in exchange for any help you can offer.
How about an animal care student from a local college? It would be great experience for their resume.
These are just some of my ideas, but I’m sure you can come up with others that best suit you.