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You are looking to get your first dog. Although you are excited for this next phase of your life, you can’t help but wonder who will keep your dog company when you are away from home.
No matter how much we love hanging out with our canine friends, we have to leave them from time to time.
We must go to work, run errands, go for hospital visits, you name it…
Do all dogs really suffer from separation anxiety?
Well, not really. There are a number of breeds that don’t have a problem being left alone for long periods of time.
In today’s post, we’ll highlight for you 12 dog breeds that can be left alone for 8 hours but before then, let’s learn some basics…
How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone?
When left alone, dogs indulge in all kinds of recreational activities. Some will take advantage of the time to take a long nap.
The mischievous kind will tear the sofa apart, jump off fences, or steal treats.
There’s also another type of canines that simply don’t like being alone.
Their own company terrifies them. These are the ones who suffer separation anxiety. To feel better, they will get into destructive behavior.
So, the specific time you can leave your dog alone depends on their personality.
If he’s calm and independent, you can let him hang alone for a longer time.
However, if he has separation anxiety or gets into mischief easily, don’t go away for too long.
On average, adult dogs can be left alone for 6 hours as long as they have plenty of entertainment and feel safe.
Is It Okay If I Leave My Dog Home Alone For 8 Hours?
The recommended limit is six hours but there is wiggle room, especially if the dog doesn’t have a problem with their own company.
Also, if there is enough food and water, toys to play with, and an assurance of safety, he can go for more than 8 hours without needing your company.
Moreover, if the doggie is housetrained and knows where to eliminate, he can go longer than one that has not been house trained.
Dogs That Can Be Left Alone For 8 Hours
Dogs that can be left alone for 8 hours are usually smart, trainable dogs that can manage to entertain themselves for long hours in your absence.
Dogs that don’t mind being alone for this long are often independent and eager learners that don’t rely on their owners to play with them or keep them company throughout the day.
We’ve listed pooches with this type of personality below.
However, always remember that dogs are pack animals and seldom do well if left alone for long periods of time (or more than 6 hours).
So, if you leave any dog alone for too long and too often (including the breeds on our list), it is inevitable that behavioral issues (chewing furniture, scratching, biting, barking, howling, etc) will start to develop.
1. French Bulldog
With a lovable attitude, affectionate nature, and a calm character, the Frenchie is one of America’s favorite.
He does not need a lot in the way of exercise. As a matter of fact, his favorite activity is napping and lounging.
Sure, he loves human company deeply but he can also hang by himself.
When you leave him alone, he will likely take a long nap before looking for a meal and a drink of water.
Obviously, you need to make sure your Frenchie knows where to eliminate and eat/drink before you leave the door.
Consider hiding his treats through fun games to keep him mentally stimulated. Use puzzle toys as well.
2. Basset Hound
The Basset Hound, like the French bulldog, loves his naps more than anything. In fact, the Frenchie has nothing on this breed as far as sleeping is concerned.
During the day, he will prefer snoozing to playing a game of fetch. This makes him great for people who have to work all day and those who live in apartments.
So, if you’ve been looking for apartment dogs that can be left alone, the Basset Hound won’t disappoint.
Despite being big, a Basset Hound can easily lie on your lap and sleep for as long as you let him.
Trust him to stay contained and content within the four walls of your apartment until you come back.
Related Post: Is a Basset Hound Chihuahua Mix Right for You?
Do you work all day and need a dog that can be happy being alone? The Greyhound certainly fits the bill.
Despite being one of the fastest dogs, this breed is also a renowned couch potato.
After sprinting across the yard a dozen times, he will fall on the sofa and go to slumberland. It is not uncommon for a Greyhound to sleep the entire day.
When you come back in the evening, don’t be shocked to find that your doggie didn’t miss you at all. How could he when he was in dreamland all day long?
Related Post: Pros and Cons of Owning Beagle Greyhound Mix
The whippet resembles the Greyhound in more ways than one.
For starters, both breeds are some of the fastest dogs known to man. They can sprint up to 35 miles per hour in under one minute. Watching a whippet take off at maximum speed will blow your mind.
On the other hand, he can also just curl up on the kitchen floor and do absolutely nothing.
His low-energy character makes him a great choice for people who have to work 8-hour shifts.
As soon as you hit the door on your way out, the Whippet will not take long to go to sleep.
He might wake up to eat, drink, and play a little and then go back to bed until you come back in the evening.
When you do, please be sure to take him for a walk or jog to let him burn off some energy.
5. Bull Terrier
The bull terrier is a playful, affectionate, and gentle dog.
As a member of the terrier family, he is fearless, brave, fiercely loyal, and protective.
Bull terriers also make great guard dogs. It is for this reason that the bull terrier can go so long without his owners.
When left alone, their guarding instinct will kick in. Rather than obsessing about your coming home, he will take it upon himself to watch over the house.
How about a super tiny dog breed that can also go for more than 8 hours without crying for you to come back home?
The Chihuahua, also called, a big dog in a tiny body knows how to balance human company and independence.
Provided the environment is safe and warm with enough food and water, your Chi can actually go for up to 10 hours without your company.
If you have another Chihuahua, the pair can go even longer as long as they have the basic needs.
7. Shar Pei
The Shar-pei is yet another breed for people who are busy during the day. This medium-sized dog that is native to China was once a fighting and hunting dog.
Although these qualities still play out, most modern Shar-Peis are low energy. They won’t complain if they are left to lounge or curl up on the sofa all day long.
The breed is pretty reserved and quiet, perfect for staying alone.
As long as he has enough food and water, entertainment, and elimination spots, he can get by on his own for 8 hours and beyond.
Related Post: 15 Medium Sized Low Energy Dog Breeds
8. Shiba Inu
The Shiba Inu is to Japan as the Labrador retriever is to America.
The Japanese adore this medium-sized dog like no other. A majority of households in the Asian continent have one or two dogs from the breed.
There are plenty of reasons for this including loyalty, affection, and friendliness.
In addition, Shiba Inus score very low in the separation anxiety meter.
You can leave them for eight hours without worrying that they will get destructive.
9. Chow Chow
This teddy bear of a dog is as beautiful as they come. His dense coat of fur is always begging for you to run your fingers through it and cuddle your dog.
Not too fast though, the Chow chow can be very independent and quiet.
While this can be heartbreaking when you want to spend with your dog, it is definitely a blessing in disguise.
He can stay behind for more than eight hours without your company as long as his needs are taken of.
10. Boston Terrier
The bull terrier is not the only terrier dog to stay alone for eight hours. His cousin, the Boston terrier, ticks the box as well.
This breed sure loves human company but if you have to go to work, he won’t hold you back.
All you have to do is create a safe environment for him. A crate or a dog-proof area works best.
It goes without saying that this can only work if the doggie is housetrained.
Beagles are family-friendly companions that love their human owners profoundly.
From friendliness to playfulness and loyalty, what is there not to love about this breed?
The best part is that beagles have no problem staying alone provided they have their basic needs and are properly trained.
12. Golden Retriever
Friendly, affectionate, social, playful, calm, gentle… there are so many words used to describe a Golden retriever.
The breed has stolen his way into many American hearts and counting.
Whether you live alone or with a bunch of people and pets, the Golden will love all.
He’s also fine with his own company if trained early enough.
Just make sure he has enough toys to play with and sufficient food and water and he will be fine.
Can You Leave A Puppy Alone For 8 Hours?
When you bring home a puppy from the shelter or the breeder, you often wonder how long you can leave her alone.
It is very tempting to want to spend every waking hour with her since you view her as a newborn baby.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, you have to teach the young canine to be content without you around.
However, a puppy of six months and below should not be left alone for more than two hours. They are still trying to recover from the shock of being torn away from mommy and siblings.
Without an adult around for more than two hours, they can easily go into a nervous state.
Is leaving a dog alone for 8 hours animal cruelty?
Well, leaving your pup alone for extended periods of time is cruel but it doesn’t amount to animal cruelty.
The number of hours a dog can stay alone depends on personality, breed, health status, age, and the factors we’ve discussed above.
There are dog breeds that can be left alone for 10 hours without any issue. For such dogs, as long as you leave them everything they need—water, enrichment, and stimulation—they will just be okay.
However, most dogs can only manage to be home alone for 4-6 hours before they begin manifesting stress symptoms or become destructive.
Related post: How Long Can You Leave A Dog Alone Legally (in the US?)
Factors to Consider Before Leaving Your Dog Home Alone For Extended Periods
Even after you’ve settled on dog breeds that can be left alone for long periods, there are still a few factors that you need to keep in mind when leaving your pup home alone, including:
A. Your dog’s bladder control
Like human beings, bladder control in dogs differs. Puppies, sick, and elderly dogs tend to have weaker bladder control and may need more frequent breaks outside.
Related Post: How Long Can a Small Dog Hold Its Bladder Overnight?
Before leaving your pooch home alone, therefore, consider his physical needs and set a routine that is favorable for him.
Tip: To give your dog a better chance of relieving himself, let him out last thing before leaving him home alone and first thing when you return home.
Your dog’s age is critical when it comes to establishing how long you should leave him home alone.
As aforementioned, puppies under 6 months old should be left alone for up to 2 hours. Even then, you need to build this gradually because he will need to eliminate after this length of time.
Dogs that are over 18 months old can be left alone for between 4 and 6 hours. If they are older, they can do up to 6-8 hours depending on their health status.
C. Your dog’s Activity/Exercise Requirements
How long you should leave your dog alone is also dictated by his activity level or exercise requirements.
Dogs that love spending a lot of time on their own or those who can curl up on their beds for long when you are out of the house can be left home alone for longer periods compared to their counterparts who love cuddling on their owners’ laps or those that are used to daily two-mile walks.
D. Behavioral Changes
You should reconsider leaving your dog for longer periods if you’ve noticed worrying behavioral changes whenever they are alone.
Some of the behavioral changes that should worry you are destructive tendencies, increased lethargy, and loss of interest in his favorite activities.
E. Your Dog’s Health Status
Your dog’s health condition is correlated to the number of potty breaks that he needs in a day.
Dogs with underlying health conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, or Cushing’s disease will need more frequent trips outside compared to their healthy counterparts.
Tips for Making Staying Home Alone For Long Easier For Your Dog
Leaving your dog home alone is sometimes as difficult as leaving your human baby with a sitter, but there are situations when there is no way around it.
Managing how your pup spends his time alone during these situations can go a long way in helping your dog feel fulfilled and satisfied.
Here are some of the top strategies that you can leverage:
I. Tire out the dog before you leave
One of the best things to do when you plan to leave your pup for extended periods is to ensure that he is exhausted by the time you leave the house.
Consider taking him for long walks or playing with him game of fetch a few minutes before you leave so that by the time you’ll be leaving, he will have passed out asleep.
This way, you’ll leave the house without your pup worrying about it.
II. Keep the dog Engaged
Dogs resort to destructive behaviors because of boredom.
If you plan to leave your pup for long, ensure that there are constructive ways he can spend his time when you are away.
Consider leaving him with a bunch of puzzle toys to make him active and occupied when you are not around. Just ensure that the toys are safe and indestructible.
Feel free to check these posts for the best toys that can help you keep your dog occupied:
III. Crate train your dog
Crate training your pup is another excellent way of helping him get used to being alone.
A crate offers a safe and comfortable space for your dog to stay when you are away.
But dogs shouldn’t spend a lot of time confined in a crate. Too much crate time may stress up your dog and limit his socialization abilities.
Related Post: How Long Can You Leave A Puppy in a Crate?
IV. Train him to recognize when you are leaving
Another excellent way of helping your dog cope when you are way is to train him to recognize that he will be alone for a while when he sees you leaving.
There are different cues that you can expose your pup to, including words like “bye”, “won’t be long”, I’ll be right back shortly” to mean that you’ll be back after 2-4 hours or longer.
V. Introduce your dog to ‘alone time’ early enough
Just like other types of dog training, consider introducing your pup to ‘being left alone for long’ from the outset.
For instance, you can begin with half an hour then gradually extend the length of time based on how he behaves while you are out of sight.
VI. Leave him with plenty of water
Your pup should be hydrated all the time—no matter the time of the year.
So, if you are going to leave him for extended periods, consider leaving him with enough water to drink.
If you are going to crate him, ensure that the crate is located in a cool, temperature-controlled space.
VII. Leave TV or radio ON
Some dogs get easily agitated by outdoor noise such as car noise, other dogs barking, or lawn mowing.
If yours fall in this group, leaving radio or TV on can go a long way in alleviating any kind of stress that he may suffer because of outdoor noise.
If possible switch to stations or apps that play relaxing and dog-friendly music or programs.
VIII. Make your leaving and Return uneventful
Never make it a big deal every time you want to leave your pup alone or when you return.
However tempting it can be, avoid rewarding agitated dog behaviors with attention.
By comforting your dog when you are leaving, you will simply be reinforcing their worries.
Instead, let the dog understand that being alone is normal and something that he shouldn’t be afraid of.
On the flip side, when you return, don’t act too excited. Wait until your dog is calm before hugging him or showering him with kisses.
With time, the dog will understand that you are going to return and there is nothing to be worried about.
IX. Invest in a doggy door
If it is safe for your pup to enter the house and exit at will, consider getting him a doggy door.
This will allow him to relieve himself outside and enjoy the outside environment whenever he deems fit.
X. Get a doggy monitor
You may think that your pup is sleeping all day because we have listed him among the best dog breeds that can be left alone but the moment you leave him alone, he gets involved in destructive behaviors.
A doggy monitor will allow you to see what your pup is up to in real-time.
XI. Adopt a cat or another dog
You can also alleviate your dog’s anxiety by getting a companion—another dog or a cat.
Just ensure that they get along before you leave them alone for extended periods.
Additionally, don’t be tempted to leave them home alone without having given them time to interact with one another and adjust to their new lives accordingly.
Related Post: 10 Guard Dogs That Are Good with Cats
XII. Take your dog to a nearby boarding facility
If you plan to be away for longer periods, consider dropping your pup of a doggie boarding facility or day-care.
These facilities are great for social dogs who like to play with other dogs.
They also offer an excellent way of meeting your dog’s exercise and socialization needs.
XIII. Hire a dog walker
If your dog is not comfortable around other dogs, you can hire a dog walker every time you plan to be away.
It is better if the dog walker comes in the middle of your Fido’s alone time to let him out to do his business, give him treats, and interact with him.
Ensure that you carry some background research on the dog walking facility you plan to hire so that you are sure that your pup will be well taken care of.
XIV. Ask a friend or relative to visit your dog
You can always ask your friend or relative to pay a visit to your pup to avoid a situation where your dog becomes unnecessarily stressed when you are away.
They can play with the dog, interact with him, or give him the attention that he dearly needs—even if it is just letting him relieve himself.
Which breed should you choose among the highlighted dogs that can stay home alone for 8 hours?
This boils down to the type of dog that works best for your lifestyle and personal preferences.
For instance, if you have a busy schedule, we recommend that you opt for a low-maintenance breed that may not require a lot of grooming.
The amount of space that you have at your disposal is also critical to the type of dog that you should own.
If you live in a small apartment, for instance, you should consider going for dog breeds that can be left alone in an apartment.
Small spaces may not be enough for breeds like Shar-Pei or Greyhound to roam freely.
But if you have a larger home, there is no issue when you opt for larger dog breeds that do well alone.
We all want to spend as much time with our pets but life gets in the way.
If you have to work all day, don’t fret. Simply get a dog that doesn’t mind being left alone for 8 hours.
This list is a great place to begin.
If your favorite dog breed is not on our list, you can go with any senior dog of your choice.
Older dogs are known to be excellent at spending time alone.
See, a senior dog is already potty trained, doesn’t need a lot of exercise, and likes to sleep for more hours like puppies or young adult dogs.
What’s more, welcoming a senior dog into your home, especially from a shelter, is a good course and a kind gesture to the canine world considering that they are the least desirable dogs to many pet owners.