If you’re leaving your dog alone, the RSPCA says it should be only for a maximum of four hours at any one time, our furry pals are highly sociable creatures, in need of stimulation, exercise, and their fair share of cuddles! Spending quality time with us and learning how to be a part of our pack allows them to remain the alert, healthy and happy dogs we adore having for company.
You may be wondering how long you can legally leave your dog alone in the UK, and since the Animal Welfare Act 2006 became law in 2006, we can see that there isn’t a maximum time that’s considered to be a criminal offence. However, when we asked animal welfare expert Natalie Grey from Vets4Pets about her views on leaving dogs alone, she agreed the with the RSPCA:
Leaving a dog home alone can have an impact on the social development of a young puppy if their separation from the pack continues too long, as well as having behavioural effects on older dogs. When dogs are left for too long, they can develop separation anxiety.
Spotting Separation Anxiety
A ‘tell-tail’ sign of separation anxiety to watch out for is your pooch showing signs of distress as you leave the room, and especially if you notice them becoming more and more upset the longer you’re away from them. There are tons of subtle ways to spot separation anxiety, but let’s take a look at the easy ones to identify:
Aside from physical symptoms, you may also see your dog shows these behaviours:
Afterwards, your pooch may start to collect objects and toys that smell like you. It’s like a protective shield that smells like home (and you!).
When you get back, your canine companion may be over the moon to see you. While it’s good to feel loved, it’s a sign that they have been wracked with stress.
Also, you may have gained a shadow around the house, now you’re back your dog won’t want to be alone again.
When your dog is showing these signs of separation anxiety, it’s time to for dog care that is more intimate and hands-on.
For more information on combating separation anxiety, take a look at Blue Cross’s advice.
What Happens When You Leave a Puppy Alone?
When you leave a young dog alone without any interactions – human or canine – it can have long lasting effects.
A dog at six to nine months that’s been left alone could end up being almost impossible to live peacefully alongside any future pets you bring home to your pack, and they could experience a lot of stress around other dogs during walks.
Looking Out For Other Issues
We asked 1,800 people about their experience when their dog was left alone and boy, did they give us some interesting insights:
- 2 in 5 dog owners have spotted signs of separation anxiety in their dogs
Of the survey respondents who spotted signs of separation anxiety:
- 59% saw barking or crying
- 23% saw their dogs exhibiting destructive behaviour
You and your dog survey – 1833 responses – February 2016
Knowing your dog is showing signs of stress and anxiety when you aren’t around can have a big effect on your life. But it doesn’t need to be this way! As long as you know your dog has an issue with separation, you can choose the best care to ease stress your dog may be feeling.
For even more on holiday dog care options, head on over to our full guide.