It is not recommended to leave your dog outside unattended for long periods of time, such as when at work. Even dogs that enjoy being outside will get bored, and boredom in dogs typically leads to trouble. If possible, give your dog access to a doggy door so they can come in and out as they please.
One of the most asked questions amongst dog owners is, “Can I keep my dog outside when I am at work?”
While this question often arises, the answer is unclear to some. Should you or should you not leave your dog unattended for six to ten hours?
With all the conflicting information on this topic, it’s easy to feel confused. In this guide, we go over why it probably isn’t a good idea to keep your dog outside unsupervised for a few hours. We will also go over some alternatives if you have no other option.
Is it a Good Idea to Keep My Dog Outdoors When I Am at Work?
One of the main reasons people want to leave their dogs outside while working is because the dog does not behave well when left inside. This, unfortunately, is not the best solution. Leaving a dog outside can cause further behavioral issues, ranging from severe barking to chewing and destructive digging.
Dogs who are left alone often find many (destructive) things to do, such as fighting the fence and growling as people pass by.
Leaving a dog outside can also cause anxiety and frustration, leading to more behavioral issues when they’re let back inside.
It can also be dangerous for your dog. Backyards and outdoor areas may have poisonous plants or chemicals that can cause harm to your dog when consumed. Another danger is extreme temperatures. When dogs are exposed to either extreme heat or cold without access to proper shelter, they are at risk of getting heat stroke or hypothermia.
What If My Dog Enjoys Being Outside?
Of course, dogs love running around in open spaces. Places like the dog park and backyards are great for that, but it is still important to keep an eye on them. As discussed, leaving a dog outside for prolonged periods can be dangerous and lead to behavioral issues.
Because dogs are pack animals, they need to feel a sense of community and companionship with their families. When they are left alone for an extended period, they might become detached and have a hard time being indoors.
Always allow your dog the alone time they need, but try to limit it to an hour or so. Without having inside time with their humans, they often need guidance to return to shelter (especially if they love being outside).
If you’re going to leave your dog outside for more than three hours at a time, provide them with a well shaded and insulated dog house and plenty of food and water.
Alternatives to Leaving A Dog Outside
There are a variety of reasons dog owners want to leave their furry friends outside while at work. Sometimes their pup is poorly behaved when left alone and tears up the house. Other times it’s due to not having a proper way to go outside to relieve themselves. Those reasons are completely valid, but there are ways to fix the problem.
If boredom causes your dog’s behavioral issues, installing a doggy door will give them the option to go in and out of the house as they please. Doggy doors are also useful because they allow your dog to relieve themselves without the worry of them having an accident inside.
Doggy doors are easy to install and are compatible with most sliding glass doors. For simple relief and distraction from boredom, this is an excellent option.
Dog Walkers & Dog Sitters
If doggy doors aren’t compatible with your home, dog walkers and sitters are a great way to get your dog outside while you are at work for the day.
As we all know, a tired dog is a calm dog. Our furry friends will be much more relaxed being home alone if they have the opportunity to enjoy some playtime and attention for at least an hour when you are away.
The best part is dog walkers aren’t nearly as expensive as most people think.
When dogs have behavioral issues, the easiest solution for most dog owners is to leave their dogs outside until they are home to supervise.
Although that can work with the proper supplies and shelter, it is important to remember that regardless of where your dog is, they will still misbehave when alone.
The best solution to train your dog to behave when alone is to seek behavioral trainers. With behavioral issues, ignoring the problem and resorting to leaving your dog outside will most likely cause more problems.
If You Must Keep Your Dog Outside
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to hire a dog sitter or walker, and doggy doors are not always an option. Because of that, we have created a quick list of what you will need if you plan to keep your dog outside while at work.
Having appropriate shelter while keeping a dog outside is extremely important. Dogs may have fun sunbathing or playing in the rain, but too much of a good thing is usually a bad thing.
There are a variety of ways to provide shelter for your dog while you’re gone for an extended period.
A quality dog house can provide excellent cover from sunlight and rain. If it has proper insulation, it will protect from both high and low temperatures. Ensuring your dog’s shelter is waterproof is essential. We definitely don’t want our furry friends to be left out in the rain!
If your kennel or dog house lacks proper insulation, there are ways around it. Adding a heating pad in the winter and cold/wet towels in the summer will allow your dog to warm up or cool down when they need to.
Food and Water
This goes without saying, food and water are the two most important things to provide for any animal.
To keep your dog hydrated and well fed, place a large bowl of water and some food out for them. It is best to leave the bowls in the doghouse. This will keep the food and water from getting dirty, too cold, or too hot for them to eat and drink.
A Few Safety Measures
There are only a few things you need to do besides providing proper shelter, food, and water for your dog.
Close off any possible escape routes. This will keep your dog contained and show them where they need to be while you are away. If your dog has the habit of digging under the fence, install some chicken wire under the fence.
Also, be sure to remove any chemicals that could be harmful or potentially fatal to your pet. Dogs are very curious animals, especially when they are left to entertain themselves, so it is best to avoid potential harm. We all want our dogs to be safe and sound. It just takes a bit of preparation and awareness on our part.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.