Is it okay to leave a dog alone for the weekend?
When you become the owner of a dog, you start to fret about everything.
I always worried about leaving my dog home alone, even just during the day for a few hours.
In an ideal world, we’d never have to leave them alone, especially overnight.
Unfortunately, emergencies come up and we have no choice but to leave them behind for a few days.
If you are wondering how long you can leave your dog alone for, I’m here to help you answer that question.
Can You Leave a Dog Alone for the Weekend?
While there is no simple answer to that question, overall, it’s not a good idea to leave your dog home alone for several days without any supervision.
Before you pack those bags, ask yourself these two questions.
#1 Is your dog old enough to stay home alone?
There is no simple answer to how long a dog can stay home alone on their own as it depends on their age, breed and temperament.
The general recommendation for puppies is that they aren’t left alone for more than two hours per day as they aren’t used to it and may destroy something you value.
I know the pain of losing your favorite pair of shoes to sharp teeth.
When it comes to adult dogs, most can be left alone for between four and six hours in a day.
This is because they have learned how to cope with you not being around, such as distracting themselves by playing with toys or even sleeping.
However, when dogs are left to their own devices, they can cause a lot of destruction in a short amount of time.
#2 Can your dog cope without you?
Even if your dog is the most well-trained pooch on the planet and is physically capable of staying home alone, you need to ask yourself if he’s emotionally able to handle it.
If your dog has separation anxiety when you leave the house for a few hours, going out of town for the weekend is definitely going to cause major distress.
For dogs that are used to spending all day with their people (when you work at home, for example), your sudden departure is likely to freak them out.
On the other hand, if you frequently go out of town overnight and leave your dog with a friend, he be more likely to accept your absence without freaking out.
You really need to know your dog’s personality before figuring out if he can handle being home alone for an entire weekend.
What Happens When They’re Alone
When dogs are left home alone for long periods of time, it is likely that they will develop some bad habits. After all, you aren’t there to stop them from misbehaving.
This could range from something as small as howling or barking at random things, to chewing on furniture or emptying the bins of all the rubbish.
My family dog used to love doing this when we weren’t paying attention to him.
Then there is a simple fact that your dog can feel lonely when there is no one else home.
Dogs are sociable animals and love to interact with other people, so it makes sense that they would miss us when we aren’t around.
There are certain ways a dog behaves that show they are lonely, such as whining or pacing around, which will be easily seen through the use of a camera.
Even when you eventually come home, dogs who are lonely will still feel depressed once you are back and just haven’t gotten over it yet.
This can be seen in reduced appetite, hiding away and being less interested in the activities they usually are.
Where to Put Them for the Weekend
With all this in mind, what do you do when you need to go away for the weekend?
74% of pet owners worry about leaving their dogs behind when they go on vacation, so you aren’t alone in feeling this way.
One of the ways you can make sure they are looked after while you are away is by employing the help of family and friends.
If you happen to have a spare key, ask someone if they would be able to house-sit and look after your beloved pooch, or get a few people to take it in turns.
I’ve looked after dogs for my family and I’ve never encountered a problem.
Of course, the dog knows that something is up when their owners aren’t there, but they are happy to have some company.
Another thing you could do is to put them in kennels, although this isn’t always the best option.
Not only can it be expensive, but sometimes it can do your dog more damage.
When I was younger, we put our dogs in the kennels while we went on holiday and once we were home, we realized one of them had developed separation anxiety.
Now, this may not happen to your dog, but it is something to consider.
Bottom line: I would advise against leaving your dog home alone for an entire weekend without human contact, but if you have people who are willing to help out, it can be done.