Discussion Forums

Discussion Title: Is it Fair to Leave a Dog Alone All Day?

Posted by Daphne_Reid on Date: June 9th, 2005 00:00

This is a discussion topic for the Ask the Experts Q&A below. Do you think its fair to leave a dog alone all day while the family is at school/work? Do you have a dog sitter instead? Or do you have a friendly neighbor who calls in to check on him and walk him during the day?

Posted by Karen_Peak on Date: Aug 28th, 2005 16:31

Yes if you take the steos to ensure that the dog has someone coming in daily to walk and spend time with it when you cannot. But then technically the dog is not home alone all day, he is having his needs met by an owner willing to do what is needed to make sure they are met.

Posted by TheGuys on Date: Sept 1st, 2005 21:56

I agree with Karen, aslong as someone is caring for the dog while you cannot then it is ok. Im a full time student, but i come home at dinner to walk my dog. If I cannot then I always have someone else do it for me.

Posted by Teddy on Date: Sept 3rd, 2005 05:43

I guess I'm a bad "mom" haha. I wouldn't trust a stranger to come into my home to walk my dog, I don't have a friend/family member who can take time to walk my dog during the day and I don't have time unfortunately on my lunch break to come home to walk my dog. He is home in his kennel for 8 hrs a day while I'm at work. I do my best, which is get up early to make sure he has food if he's hungry. we go for a 30 min walk and we play ball in the morning before work. He's a small dog (shih-tzu cross), he's in a bigger kennel with room to stretch out, he has lots of toys and chew things and water. When I come home we go for another 30 min walk, he gets fed and we play periodically throughout the evening before bed. I often feel guilty for leaving him for so long but as far as I can tell he's a happy puppy and could do a lot worse than me haha.

Posted by Megan14 on Date: May 16th, 2007 20:19

I try to get home each day and walk my dog, Riley, at lunch. As an attorney, this doesn't always happen, so if it is right after work, I make sure to give her an extra long walk and extra attention. And I reward the puppy pads so she knows that if I don't get home at lunch, she won't get in trouble;). The system seems to work for us.

Posted by poohmika on Date: May 16th, 2007 21:25

Dogs don't have the same sense of time as we do. Dogs know when you're gone, but can't tell the difference between five minutes and five hours. It's all about training. No "friendly neighbor" or "dog sitter" is needed otherwise.........

Posted by Leonberger on Date: May 16th, 2007 21:38

I leave my dogs alone if I cannot take them to work with me, and even then they are in a kennel for 9hrs. If they are left at home my puppy is caged with water & my Leo allowed to roam free with water available. During the summer I leave my back doors open for the dogs. If they come to work they are in a kennel for 9hrs and see me walking past with other dogs etc. They are happy and contented, friendly and listen to my commands regulary, they don't take it out on me because I work. At the end of the day they are dogs, and to be honest even if I was home all day would spend most of it sleeping. I think as long as they get their stimulation, walks, company, pack needs etc when I am with them they are happy to be left when needs must. I also know people that ake their dogs with them wherever they go and hose dogs have low esteem, seperation issues and also jealous issues, these all can become nasty in a dog if not controlled correctly, so I would rather have well adjusted dogs than over protective ones who can't be left alone without becoming distructive. Thats just mu opinion on this issue.

Posted by Katie0555 on Date: May 16th, 2007 23:09

I leave my dog home while every one is at work and school. But she has the whole house to herself. She doesn't stay in a kennel when we are gone. She is pretty well trained and doesn't cause any damage to the home. Most of the time she sleeps while we are gone during the day, but when we travel she comes along, she thinks she is a princess. She seems fine with us gone during the day.

Posted by poohmika on Date: May 16th, 2007 23:23

exactly Katie. good job!

Posted by cute_birdz on Date: May 17th, 2007 01:41

This is one of the reasons my mom was against getting a dog. She said she would rather not get a dog at all instead of leaving it alone all day.. She thinks its unfair and it would be like a prison.

Posted by loveanimals on Date: May 17th, 2007 09:24

I have 3 dogs. I have 2 of my own and foster for an organization so I usually have 3 dogs in my home all the time. But, I am home all day and I take them to the local doggie park which has a creek where they can swim and run free and intermingle with other pooches. My dogs have the run of the house when I leave if I can't take them with me. Then never destroy the house and never have separation anxiety. It's because I trained them that way, they didn't come like that. They are up-to-date on all their vacs or they wouldn't be able to run free at the park. My dogs are also crate trained so if I have to separate them for any reason, I have a crate to use for this purpose. I think if people work and have dogs that's okay. Dogs don't understand time, and if you walk your dogs before going to work and again when you come home and again at bed time, that's better than no walking at all. Dogs just love to be with their people and what's any better than having your loving companion lying at your feet or curling up on the couch with you after a long, hard day at work. Just because you work doesn't mean you can't provide a good life for your pet. After all, you do have weekends to be with him/her. And folks please, don't buy a dog or cat or any other animal, please, please adopt!!!

Posted by ahtnamas on Date: June 29th, 2009 13:24

Remember, the dog may be okay being alone during the day, but he can only hold it so long before he has to go to the bathroom. The smaller the dog, the more often they have to go to the bathroom.
If nothing else, the dog-sitter can come & walk him, so as to prevent accidents.
I have a local pet-sitter in, to walk Marlowe in the afternoon, as he gets his first walk at 7:30am most days, & then we don't get home until at least 7:30pm or later (long commute). He can't hold it that long.
Dog-sitters are licensed, bonded, have other customers you can talk to, & probably have other customers in your neighborhood (ask anybody you see with a dog, ask at the dog park for recommendations).
This way, you also have someone you can hire who can care for your dog when you're on vacation & can't take him (& can't find a friend to take care of him), that your dog already knows. It's also far cheaper to have a sitter come in, even for an overnight sleep-over (my dog sitter does this), than to check the dog into a pet hotel at $60.00 a night to start.

Posted by megank on Date: Oct 5th, 2009 04:30

Sorry but i think if you are going to be a responsible loving pet owner you shouldnt have a dog if you are going to be at work fulltime. That is a recipe for disaster and would be like leaving a child at home alone. Different if the dog is older.

Posted by ahtnamas on Date: Oct 5th, 2009 10:44

However, if you have other animals in the house, it makes a difference; and the during-the-day visits are always good.
I also have 2 cats - we adopted them a few months after we adopted Marlowe - so he actually isn't alone all day, there are other warm bodies in the house.
He's decided that the younger cat, Faro (a tuxedo cat who looks like he stepped off of an Egyptian tomb painting) is a recalcitrant puppy that he has to supervise, so he actually has in interest during the day. (Marlowe is a natural baby-sitter.) (Tuxedo cats are half dog, anyway...) And Faro doesn't seem to mind the supervision thing, so it works out for all involved.
And Marlowe's certainly better off having a permanent home than still being in a foster home. He needed one-on-one attention, lots of love, & the chance to get over an undiscovered (until we got him) fear of men. We're Home #4 in his life (he was 2 1/2 when we got him), so he's got stability now.
Even a working pet owner is better than the dog being in a foster home or a shelter.
Dogs adapt better to being alone for long periods of time than parrots.

Posted by nancy4 on Date: Dec 14th, 2009 08:37

I keep seeing posts that say a dog does not have a concept of time. Does anyone know of a dog behavior test that taught this to the experts and why it was determined? I know if I walk out for 15 minutes, my dogs don't do much...but if I am gone all day they jump and bark (greetings) like crazy as though they are very happy to see me. So, how do we know they have absolutely no concept of time? I would be interested to know how that was determined. just wondering.

Posted by ahtnamas on Date: Dec 14th, 2009 10:25

Actually, I think the average dog has a very good sense of time.
That's the only explanation for them waking you up at the same time every morning for a walk, no matter what time the sunrise is - and the fact that, for example, even if Marlowe's been walked at 9pm instead of his usual 7:30 or 8pm, he ALWAYS turns up in front of us at almost exactly 11pm, his usual last-walk-of-the-day time. Even if he really doesn't need to go, he still wants to go OUT. And he knows that THIS is the time he's supposed to go out. A sense of time is the only explanation for this.

Posted by nancy4 on Date: Dec 15th, 2009 08:08

I think it's cruel to put a dog away like a toy and remove it from the box when you are ready. They indeed do have a sense of time...perhaps different from ours. But they also have the need to run, play and stretch like any animal. The thought that my dog might need to go pee or stretch but is forcing himself back to sleep to cope with a kennel for 8 hours seems very selfish. Even when I had little money, I searched till I found someone to barter dog-time with. The friend came by in the middle of my work-day to walk my dogs for an hour. In exchange I washed and walked his dogs and bought their food occasionally on weekends. I also, as one poster said, did not like someone in my house when I was not home, so I took the trouble to lock one closet with stuff in it. My dogs were worth the trouble.
I worked toward a life for my dogs as I worked toward a nice life for myself. Now, they have a fenced yard that I have just paid off, and a dog door where they can come and go while I am away. We are both very happy with the arrangement. Took a while to get here, but they were worth it to me. I took the responsibility when I adopted them to give them a decent life. That's my opinion. I may seem hard-lined on the compassion front, but these animals are capable of unconditional love....I think we could learn from them. Nancy

Posted by ahtnamas on Date: Dec 15th, 2009 17:51

I don't believe in crates in the house, either. Marlowe has several places he goes: under my vanity (mostly at night), in the computer room (when he wants to get away), on the couch (when he's sociable) & in my bathroom (when he's scared/insecure/upset). It works out for us.

Posted by vosisdos on Date: Jan 14th, 2010 01:57

I think the greatest solution to this common problem and a big help to the overpopulation of dogs in shelters is to get your pack animal a dog to keep him company when he is alone.
Of course you would have to be able to afford it and they would have to get along well with each other.

Posted by music2hisears on Date: Jan 14th, 2010 16:02

My guy is 5 years old and it has just been the two of us since he was 6 weeks old. When I first got him, I worked down the road and was able to come home and check on him at lunch hour. Now, I work a little further away and cannot get home at lunch as often as I'd like. We go for a walk in the morning, a walk when I get home, and a walk before calling it a night. He has free reign of my home, lots of toys and rawhide and nylabones to keep him content. His only requirement is a window to look out at the world during his day. He's a perfect gentleman. When I travel, he goes with me. He loves to hang his head out the window. I did kennel him for the first 2 years during the day, but slowly started introducing him to the whole house.

Posted by woofnmew on Date: Nov 3rd, 2010 00:21

I'm fortunate enough to live on a fenced acre in the woods, so my dogs have free rein of the house and yard via a dog door. I usually aim for at least an hour of play time twice a day for my Lab mix, and a short swim for my elderly GR. If I'm gone all day, I'll usually have someone come over and throw the ball for my Lab and take him for a walk. If I'm late, all my animals are fed and checked on by a neighbor.
A good example of leaving animals alone for hours on end are my neighbor's Beagle and Lab mix (my dog's brother). Both these dogs live on 20 unfenced acres and usually end up spending the day, and sometimes the entire night, at my house. They're lonely and bored so they leave their property and go where they know there will be pets and cookies, not to mention a soft sofa.
Personally, I don't think it's fair to leave animals alone for hours on end, especially if they're crated. However, I can appreciate the fact that it's essential due to work schedules. As long as the dog gets plenty of together time with the owner, and lots of play/walk time, I don't think the dog will suffer unduly if left along. However, if the owner is gone for more than eight hours, I believe it's wise to have someone take the dog out to relieve itself and have fifteen minutes or so of play time. Doing this twice during the day would be ideal, especially with a young, active dog.

Posted by penquinsfan on Date: Jan 7th, 2011 19:38

There is no circumstance in which I would not crate a dog if no human was home.
It is for their safety as much as to ensure they don't destroy the house and piss and crap everywhere.
A dog who is crated can't chew a cord and electrocute himself. He can't knock over a flat screen. We have an indoor wave pool as well as a hot tub so that is a drowning risk aside from the fact that I would never trust a dog not to piss in the pool or tub. Et cetera.
There is a first time for everything. To quote Jackson Browne, "Don't think it won't happen just because it hasn't happened yet."
There is no way I would pay someone or have a stranger in my home for the dog's convenience or entertainment.
The dog is a dog, not Queen Elizabeth.
The dog is in the crate until someone comes home.

Posted by nancy4 on Date: Jan 7th, 2011 21:03

Poohmika, I'd like to ask a question. Could you please provide the scientific proof that dogs do not experience time passage as we do? I'm a scientific thinker, and i would so like to believe you, so I'd like some help. It would simplify my own life it were true, but I can't find it online. Thanks for your info.

Posted by KyleFurryFoster on Date: Dec 26th, 2012 09:16

I think at times it's okay to leave your dog...but definitely not regularly. To me, dogs are social and need that stimulation. Otherwise they tend to become nervous if they are kept in the house all day...

Posted by AudreyLeeds on Date: Feb 14th, 2014 05:51

I feel soo guilty for leaving my dog at home every day, but there's nothing I can do about it, I have to work! I'm not sure if she feels really bad while I'm away, she's having a lot of fun with destroying everything around, haha
Joking apart, it's a problem. My dog has a severe separation anxiety, she tears my clothes apart, chews the shoes and breaks all the stuff around the house when I leave :'( There is a thing called Petcube ( to play with dogs and cats from a phone, it doesn't ship yet but sounds cool. Maybe it can help, at least this is my last hope :)
Another solution is to spend as much time as you can with your pet on weekends.

Posted by jimmyjjohn on Date: Sept 7th, 2014 19:04 Buy Dog Food and Accessories Online in India huge collection of dog accessories, dog food, dog grooming products, dog toys, houses, collars, shampoo and more.

Posted by AndrewSmith on Date: April 17th, 2015 18:06

I don't think it's fair to leave the dog all day, it would have been fine if his outside the yard and with other dog.

© 2000-2016. All Rights Reserved.