Dogs and Time: What We Know + How Long Your Dog Can Be Alone

Updated: 14 hours ago

Picture coming home from a long day at work. Most likely, your pup is right at the door giving you an enthusiastic greeting.

You aren’t the only pet parent to receive a warm welcome home.

Many dogs get super excited when their owners return. Which makes us wonder, can dogs tell time?

That’s what we are going to talk about right now. Keep reading to learn more!

petsitting dogs in Atlanta who are tired from their recent walk

Do Dogs Have a Sense of Time?

Humans measure time in minutes, hours, days, etc. Although dogs can’t use these measurements, they are still aware of the passing of time.

The canine body clock (known as the circadian rhythm in dogs) helps your fur baby recognize when it’s time for specific activities, like breakfast, bed, potty breaks, and more.

This circadian rhythm works through a 24-hour cycle and is influenced by light and dark.

But a dog’s sense of time isn’t just related to circadian rhythm. It’s also connected to their memories.

Wait. Can dogs have memories?

Yes, they can. Although we don’t entirely understand it, we do know that canines are capable of having some types of memories.

This includes semantic memories, which are objective facts. Some facts that dogs remember include obedience commands and the names of people and objects.

Then there are memories created by associations. Pavlov’s dogs are an example of this. Those pups learned that certain behaviors resulted in rewards.

Your own furry friend has probably developed some associations. For instance, if you keep the leash in a closet, your dog probably gets excited every time you open the closet door.

Associations may also be related to time. Suppose your early morning routine is the same each day and you always leave for work right after.

In that scenario, your dog would connect your morning routine to your soon departure. And that’s how your four-legged pal would know when it’s time for you to leave.

Check Out This Study on Dogs and Time

If you want proof that dogs can sense time, we’ve got a great study for you. Conducted in 2011 by Therese Rehn and Linda Keeling, this study observed how dogs reacted when their owners returned.

The dogs became more excited when their owners returned after being gone for 2 or more hours. The dogs were less excited when their owners returned after being gone for a shorter length of time.

Those observations indicate that dogs can tell when a longer amount of time has passed.

How Long Should Your Dog Be Home Alone?

Since canines do have a sense of time, how long can dogs be left alone?

That depends.

Some pups can tolerate being alone for longer periods than others. To determine what’s best for your own dog, you must answer the following questions:

· Does your dog suffer from separation anxiety?

· Is your dog a puppy or a senior? Canines at either end of the age spectrum require more frequent potty breaks.

· Does your dog have any health conditions that require taking medicine at set times of the day?

· Did you just adopt your dog? If so, you probably shouldn’t leave the house for long until your new furry friend has adjusted to living in your home.

· Is your dog super active? Then your four-legged pal will need plenty of exercise. If you are gone for too long, you won’t be able to provide that exercise.

If you answered no to all of the above, your pooch might be able to stay home alone for 8-10 hours. But think about it.

That’s a really long time to go without any human interaction, walks, and potty breaks. That’s why it’s a good idea to come home sometime during the day and give your dog a walk.

If you aren’t able to do that yourself, find someone who can do it for you. Your best bet is to hire an Atlanta dog walker from Leashes & Litterboxes.

This dog walking pro can be trusted to take excellent care of your beloved pet. That means your dog will get the chance to exercise, go potty, and spend quality time with a friendly human.

Helping Your Dog Cope with Being Alone

Sometimes you can’t avoid leaving your dog home alone. Maybe you work all day at the office. Or perhaps you are heading out for a day trip.

Whatever the case, you need to make sure your dog will be okay during your absence. Here are a few helpful tips:

· Teach your dog that being alone is okay. Instead of spending every moment with your pup when you are home, give your dog some space. This will help your pet understand that the two of you don’t always need to be together.

· Keep your canine entertained while you are gone. How? By leaving out toys for your pup to play with. Puzzle toys are great! Just be sure to choose toys that don’t require supervision.

· Play music for your dog. You can find some great playlists on YouTube. These soothing melodies have been created specifically for canines. That means they are just the right tone and pitch for your pooch.

· Exercise your dog before you leave. A tired dog has less energy to spare on getting stressed about your departure. Your pup might even fall asleep while you are gone.

Consider Getting Help from a Pro

Even if you follow all of the tips above, your pet still needs at least one walk if you will be gone for a while.

But don’t fret. You can get help. An Atlanta dog walker from Leashes & Litterboxes is ready to care for your fur baby.

This pet care pro will give your dog attention, exercise, and a potty break. Having a visitor will also break up the day and prevent boredom.

And we all know that keeping boredom at bay is super important.

Why? Because it’s key to avoiding behavioral problems and mischief.

So, if you want peace of mind while you are gone, leave your dog in our excellent hands. Book an appointment now!