How long can dogs be left?

(54 Posts)
MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 09:05:56

I know the RSPCA and others recommend not leaving a dog alone for more than 4 hours. Is this based on research or has it been studied? I thought I read that dogs had no concept of time. So is there a difference from leaving a dog 4 hours or 6 hours?

Lilcamper Fri 28-Jun-13 09:36:45

4 hours is a good guideline. 6 hours isolation without access to a toilet would be hard for a human too.

loveulotslikejellytots Fri 28-Jun-13 09:43:27

I don't know of any research. I just leave him as little as possible (no free access to garden). Most is 4 hours and that was because we were stuck in traffic. I'm lucky to have lovely IL's who will pop down to let him out if I get stuck at work. I pop back during the day when I'm at work. He is always fast asleep upstairs so I'm sure he would be fine for longer.

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 09:46:11

Why do people always compare dogs to human though? Physiologically‎ we are not the same. Humans are more grazers (eat and drink throughout the day), dogs may only have one or 2 meals a day.

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 09:46:53

Why do people always compare dogs to humans though? Physiologically we are not the same. Humans are more grazers (eat and drink throughout the day), dogs may only have one or 2 meals a day.

DeepRedBetty Fri 28-Jun-13 09:48:27

Our Trade Association (National Association of Registered Petsitters) doesn't permit us to leave a dog alone for more than four hours, it's not just needing toilet breaks, it's also about loneliness.

Floralnomad Fri 28-Jun-13 09:51:57

Not trying to start another argument but lilcamper how do people and dogs manage overnight if 6 hours without access to a toilet is hard ? And please don't tell me night times are different you either have bladder control or you don't ( which is why elderly people get up in the night to wee generally) . To answer the question dogs should be left as little as possible but it's got very little to do with their bladders IMO.

DeepRedBetty Fri 28-Jun-13 09:56:10

Both humans and dogs - in fact most higher animals as far as I am aware - have circadian rhythms. We produce more urine etc in the day and wind down at night. You can't expect your dog to sit patiently waiting for something interesting to happen for hours and hours in the day time.

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 09:58:40

I work at home and the dog snoozes and lays down for most of the day and rarely need a wee until the early evening walk.

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 10:02:12

"Dogs have remarkable abilities, but as their loving owners, we tend to inflate their skills and project human characteristics onto our canine friends" Jane McGrath

Floralnomad Fri 28-Jun-13 10:02:46

betty maybe so but after years of nursing I can assure you that people who have no bladder control produce just as much overnight as they do during the day ! Also many dogs only wee and poo on walks so it really is an irrelevance in how long they should be left ,except in the case of puppies . It's the isolation that is an issue surely .

Floralnomad Fri 28-Jun-13 10:05:12

Also on the subject of bladders and animals stabled horses pee loads more overnight than during the day .

I will leave my adult dog for the odd time for five hours. He is rarely left for more than two, and only a few times a week. I find it easier to leave him in the evening when he's been fed and exercised, as all he wants to do is snore anyway. Sometimes you have to leave a dog for more than four hours, it can't be avoided, but I think it should be the exception rather than the rule iyswim. We currently have a puppy, and I don't leave him for more than two hours as we're still toilet training.

I also think that leaving a dog sometimes is a good thing. I wanted my dog to be able to cope without me, because we have to travel several times a year and he has to be kennelled. Much easier for the dog if they're used to the odd separation.

Bowlersarm Fri 28-Jun-13 10:11:04

I think it's more the loneliness than the need for a toilet break, that they shouldn't be left for hours on end.

You know that when you are there your dog is happily snoozing and pottering, content that s/he has company as and when s/he needs it. But how do you know s/he isn't stressed, lonely and bored rigid when you're not there?

I don't get the timescale thing either. I can understand that they wouldn't feel a great difference between 4 or 5 hours. But surely they would know the difference between 5 minute and 5 hours?

In modern day life, with everyone so busy, I think it has to be expected that dogs will be on their own for some part of the day, but I try not to leave mine for more than 4 hours (and not every day) but very very rarely have left for six hours. If I had a need to do it regularly I would get a neighbour or dog walker in to break up their day a bit, let them out, have a play and some interaction.

my two are sometimes left from about 8-3.30 (approx 1-2 days a week) and they have absolutely no issues whatsoever. i walk them in the morning and i literally sometimes have to wake them up when i get home. neither rush out to pee when i get home either.

in fact both get a little grumpy when they havent had their proper sleeps!

but it depends on the dog. some wont have that much bladder control and some will experience separation anxiety. i have two very laid back jack russells who are excellent company for each other. they are also very well exercised on walks plus they get play time at night.

Signet2012 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:27:23

I think it depends on the dog. My dads dog can't be left for more then two hours or he cries and starts destroying things.
My dog (died in dec) was absolutely fine to be left 6 hours, longer if emergencies without any distress as long as he could get on the sofa and snooze.

Floralnomad Fri 28-Jun-13 10:28:29

fairy how do you know they have no issues , you have to ba aware of their 'emotional welfare' , have you had a dog psychologist in to speak to them ? grin

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 10:34:44

But how do you know s/he isn't stressed, lonely and bored rigid when you're not there?

Well if when I get back she is lying down snoozing, has not pooped and peed everywhere, and has not chewed the kitchen furniture..I'd say she was perfectly OK.

because there are never any signs of upset! i've had one for 6 years and the other for 3 and i know the signs.

and yes i use a healer in for them on a regular basis so i do know what they think!

VivaLeBeaver Fri 28-Jun-13 10:40:52

I think it depends how regular it is as well as on the individual dog.

My last dog could have been left for 6-8 hours most days with no problem. She wasn't but she could have been.

My new dog I leave him for 2 hours 2 days a week. Once a month he's left for 7 hours which isn't ideal but it is only once a month. He manages without making a mess, doesn't chew stuff and he does have the cats for company. My old pet sitter won't come and let him out as he's not friendly.

Floralnomad Fri 28-Jun-13 10:41:38

My question was an ironic one as on a different thread I got more or less told that I was ignoring my dogs emotional welfare because I don't get a behaviourist to sort out his dislike of other dogs ! Personally I'm with the medical , if they haven't peed, pooed or destroyed something they're probably fine .

Bowlersarm Fri 28-Jun-13 10:45:55

She may be laying down snoozing because she's exhausted from pacing Up and down all the time you are out, she may not have pooed and peed because it goes against all their instincts if they are house trained, and if she's not a chewer well then she won't chew anyway regardless if stress or not.

Who knows what they think?

I know it's bad etiquette to quote things when you don't know the source it came from, but I had one ear on a news item recently whereby cameras were set up in people homes to record their dogs when they were out. Everyone had said "oh yes my dog just sleeps when we're out" and in fact most had surprisingly paced up and down in an state of agitation and hasn't settled at all. It just gave me food for thought, and more of a feeling of guilt when I do leave my dogs. I don't if anyone else saw or heard this?

Incidentally, I hope by having more than one dog, that it actually counts as them having company even when there are no humans at home.

Mama1980 Fri 28-Jun-13 10:51:01

My dog is very very rarely left for more than a couple of hours, on the odd occasion she is left for 6 and is fine, she is in the lounge on the sofa with the tv left on for her, food, water and blankets and I know she's fine as my brother recorded her one day the whole time grin to help my dd with a school project. I would never do it regularly though.

HoneyDragon Fri 28-Jun-13 10:54:51

If dogs have no concept of time how come feral dogs understand bus and train timetables?

MedicalWriter Fri 28-Jun-13 10:55:13

because there are never any signs of upset! i've had one for 6 years and the other for 3 and i know the signs. and yes i use a healer in for them on a regular basis so i do know what they think!

erm, I'm going to have to bit my lip....a healer hmm

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