How Long is a Day For a Dog? Not What You Think!

dog watching the time

Since dogs have a different perception of time than humans, there is no concrete evidence showing how long a day is for a dog. Although we count one dog year as seven human years, that doesn’t mean one day feels like seven days to a dog.

Have you ever felt like your day was dragging? Maybe you look at the clock after half an hour and find out it’s only been five minutes, or 5 o’clock just can’t come fast enough.

Or maybe it’s the opposite: you close your eyes and the day is already over.

Whether your day went by quickly or dragged on, your dog is always excited for you to come home, as if he or she hasn’t seen you in a week.

Have you ever wondered why that is? Are dogs just overly attached? Or does a day feel longer to them than it does for us?

The concept of a day being longer for a dog is not new. One year for us being seven years for a dog is not a new concept. It’s how you calculate your dog’s “human age.” By multiplying their age by seven, you get their human age.

Since a year is much longer for a dog, it’s only natural to assume the day is longer for a dog, too.

What Is the Seven-Year Rule?

To figure out how long a day is for a dog, start on the assumption that a human year is seven dog years.

Of course, this isn’t a proven or scientific fact, but one that is widely accepted by dog owners. If your dog is 10, in “dog years,” they’re 70. Or at 1, your dog is actually 7.

There’s no clear history on how this came to be, but one theory dates back several hundred years.

Throughout time, there are many documented instances of humans living to a certain amount of years and dogs living to a certain amount of years.

For example, humans live to 81, and dogs live to nine. From there, the age ranges shifted until it became that humans live to 70 and dogs live to 10.

It’s simple to divide 70 by 10 and get seven, which is one theory on how the seven-year rule came to be.

Another theory is that it was a tactic by veterinarians to make sure owners brought their dogs in once a year.

If you want a more scientific approach to how old your dog really is in “human years”, it depends on the breed and size of the dogs.

Generally, bigger dogs age faster, based on the fact their average lifespan is shorter than smaller dogs. Small dogs tend to live longer, meaning they probably age slower.

How Do Dogs Perceive Time?

Studies show that dogs don’t understand the passing of time. They don’t know the concepts of “tomorrow” or “yesterday” like we do; they simply live in the moment.

How does your four-legged friend know when it’s time for dinner or when you’re coming home then?

Dogs rely on their biological clock to understand routines throughout the day, in the same way, humans have an internal clock to wake us up when we are asleep.

Research shows that dogs have higher excitability when reuniting with their owner after being left alone for 2 hours than 30 minutes, leading to the conclusion that dogs understand the passing of time throughout the day and how long they’re left alone.

Although there’s no concrete evidence to tell you how long a day truly is for a dog, if you go by the idea that one year is seven years for a dog, you can assume that one day is a week for a dog.

Whether a day truly is longer for a dog or not, it’s still important to make sure you’re spending quality time with your dog when you’re home and giving them enough stimulation even when you’re away to keep your dog mentally fit and happy.

How to Reduce Anxiety in Your Dog

If your dog is overly excited when you come home or shows signs of stress when you leave, they may suffer from separation anxiety.

Many dogs suffer from separation anxiety, especially rescued dogs who may have a history of abuse. Separation anxiety is a serious issue that’s not fun for you or your dog, but there are many ways to reduce the separation in your dog to keep you and them healthy and happy.

Signs of separation anxiety include:

  • Excessive barking.
  • Having accidents in the house.
  • Excessive chewing or digging holes.
  • Pacing more than usual.

To help ease the anxiety, you can give your dog natural calming supplements or treats. You can also leave clothes that you’ve recently worn around when you leave. Make leaving the house and coming back low key without a lot of greeting.

You can also do separation training with your dog. To do this, start by asking your dog to stay in a room, preferably one they’re already comfortable in, such as where they sleep. Gradually work up the time you leave them alone in the room until they can be left alone for over twenty minutes.

If your dog is experiencing separation anxiety, bring it up with your veterinarian to find out what will work best for them.

How to Keep Your Dog Entertained When You’re Gone

Keeping your dog stimulated and making sure they have enough to keep them busy when you’re gone may also help your dog pass the time faster.

Ensure your dog has enough toys they enjoy to prevent getting bored and chewing on furniture or destroying your favorite pair of shoes.

You can also get them interactive or puzzle treats to help stimulate their minds. These types of toys will occupy them for much longer.

You can also buy automatic treat dispensers or a webcam so your dog can hear your voice, and you can give them treats throughout the day when you’re gone.

If you’re worried about your dog being lonely or scared when they’re home alone, leave the TV or the radio on for your dog when you’re gone. There are even dog-specific YouTube videos or calming music you can leave on for them.

If you’re gone a lot, consider hiring a dog-walker or have someone come check in on them every once in a while.

Spending Quality Time With Your Dog

Spending quality time with your dog is just as important as making sure they have enough stimulation when you’re gone.

Dogs are social creatures, so making sure they have enough interaction is crucial. It’s important to make sure the time you’re spending is also quality time, doing things both you and your dog enjoy.

There are many ways to spend quality time with your pet. Go outside and play some fetch when you get home from work or take them on an evening walk.

If you like to exercise, bring your dog along on your runs or outdoor workout.

Even just cuddling with them on the couch or playing a game of tug-of-war will enrich your dog’s life and make them happy.

You can also take them to pet-friendly stores or on errands when possible. This will also reduce the time that they’re stuck in the house.

Days Can Be Long For Dogs

When the day feels long for you, remember, it feels even longer for your pup. Although there is no scientific evidence to figure out just how much longer, being cooped up in the house all day is likely to drag the day out even more.

To combat this, use these tips to enrich your dog’s life to make things easier on them when you’re away.

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