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Can A German Shepherd Be Left Alone? For How Long?

Even busy people want to have a German Shepherd to cuddle and love. However, many dogs require plenty of attention which means that they can’t be left alone for too long. Some dogs can handle being left to their own devices for a few hours, but others require having someone come over so that they aren’t left alone. 

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Can A German Shepherd Be Left Alone?

A German Shepherd can handle being alone for a few hours, but they shouldn’t be left alone for more than 8 hours in a day. German Shepherds need plenty of care and attention to live happy and fulfilling lives. Without this care, a German Shepherd can start to have behavioral and/or health issues.

Whether it’s going on an errand run or leaving for work, a German Shepherd can handle being alone for a little while. The maximum length of time that is safe to leave your German Shepherd alone at home is 8 hours. However, it’s better to not leave them alone for more than 4 hours. 

It won’t do too much harm to leave your German Shepherd alone for 8 hours just one day, as long as it doesn’t become a common practice. 4 hours can be plenty of time to do a few errands and be able to get back before your German Shepherd gets too bored or misses dinner time. 

Why Shouldn’t You Leave Your German Shepherd Alone for A Long Time?

Some people might struggle with being unable to be home for their German Shepherd during the day. A full-time job can mean that you are unable to be home for many hours of the day which if you live alone, means that your German Shepherd will be alone for a long time. 

Still, German Shepherds need attention and care from their owners during the day. This is important for their health and for preventing destructive habits.

You Have to Provide Care for Your Dog

Dogs have needs that need to be taken care of during the day. If your German Shepherd is left alone for 8 or more hours, who is there to take care of their needs? 

Bathroom Needs

The most pressing need that needs to be taken care of during this time is letting your dog out to use the bathroom.

8 hours is a very long time to be unable to use the bathroom. If you leave your dog home alone for this long, it can lead to bathroom accidents and strain on your German Shepherd’s internal organs.

If being left alone is a common occurrence, the strain can then lead to an infection of the organs. 

Coming home to find that your German Shepherd had an accident is never a fun experience, but it is a real possibility considering how long they were left alone. This specific issue can be resolved through indoor bathroom mats or even a doggy door, but those will require extra training for your German Shepherd to get used to.

Feeding Needs

Dogs need to eat. The most common feeding schedule for dogs is twice a day with one meal in the morning and the other during dinner time. 

Being gone all day long can lead to a missed dinner. That won’t make your German Shepherd happy at all and depending on how late you come back it can mean a very messed up eating schedule.

Dogs shouldn’t go too long in between their meals because they can get hungry throughout the day like the rest of us. Too irregular of a feeding schedule can also mess up your German Shepherd’s digestive system and can make them sick. 

A possible solution for meeting feeding times is an automated feeder. You can find several models of an automated feeder for dogs online and it can help keep a regular eating schedule for your German Shepherd while you are out. However, these machines can sometimes be pricey and some dogs may even be fearful of them. 

Separation Anxiety

For dogs that grew up very close to their owner and didn’t experience much socialization with other people and animals, they might develop separation anxiety. This anxiety can show itself when you leave for any sort of reason and your dog gets upset. 

They might start whining, pacing, or even blocking your way to the door to keep you at the house.

If your German Shepherd faces separation anxiety, leaving them home for many hours of the day can cause them a lot of stress. 

They’ll get super upset and it can lead to behavioral problems. A stressed-out German Shepherd might take their stress out on the furniture or by having a bathroom accident. 

The high amount of stress can even cause health issues such as digestion problems. 

Boredom

German Shepherds need a lot of exercise and attention in a day to keep both their mind and body active. Without the needed stimulation, these dogs can get incredibly bored. Leaving the house for a long time prevents your German Shepherd from getting the mental and physical exercise that they need.

Boredom usually leads to destruction. German Shepherds who are very bored can also get frustrated with the boredom and will destroy things in the house. 

These can be behaviors such as chewing up objects, scratching up furniture, or getting into places that they shouldn’t like in the trash can. 

What Can You Do If You Have to Leave Your German Shepherd Alone?

Even with the problems that can happen from leaving a German Shepherd alone, people still have work that they need to get to. 

If you are someone who still has to leave their German Shepherd alone for several hours a day, there are things that you can do to prevent problems from happening. 

Hire a Dog Sitter

A dog sitter is a person who will come by the house and take care of your dog while you are gone. The dog sitter will give your German Shepherd food, take them outside, and can even take them on walks if you request so. 

Hiring a dog sitter is a great idea to make sure that your German Shepherd has all its needs met and can even provide a new friend. 

The con to hiring a dog sitter is that if you need one often it can become very pricey over time. The average rate of a dog sitter is anywhere from 20-40 dollars per hour. Make sure to do your research before hiring a dog sitter so that you can make sure that they will work well with your German Shepherd.

Doggy Daycare

This solution allows you to take your German Shepherd out to a qualified daycare for the day while you go off to work. Doggy daycares provide your German Shepherd with the care that it needs along with toys and other dogs to socialize with. 

Going to a doggy daycare can be great if your German Shepherd needs more socialization. Doggy daycare can be more reputable and qualified than a dog sitter and can provide your German Shepherd with more care with the proper facilities. 

The downside to bringing your German Shepherd to a doggy daycare is that you will have to drive there often and there’s a possibility of one not being in the area. 

The prices of a doggy daycare can still get expensive over time, but they can still be lower than the hourly rates of hiring a dog sitter. 

Have a Friend Stop By

This is surely a cheaper option than a dog sitter or bringing your German Shepherd to a doggy daycare. If you have a friend or family member that is willing, you can ask them to stop by a few times a day or stay for an hour to take care of your German Shepherd. 

This can be as simple as asking your friend to take your German Shepherd out and give them dinner. 

However, don’t force your friend to take care of your dog for you, especially if you aren’t giving them any compensation. Your German Shepherd is your responsibility and you can’t force another person to take care of your responsibilities without compensation. 

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds need a lot of care and attention that prevents them from being able to be alone for many hours. At the most, a German Shepherd can be left alone for 8 hours in a day, but they really shouldn’t be left alone for more than 4 hours.

Some solutions can be done if there is no way for you to be home with your German Shepherd. These solutions include dog sitters, doggy daycare, and more ideas. 

You should do what works best for both your German Shepherd and your wallet. 

Making sure that your German Shepherd gets the proper care every day is essential in giving them the best life possible. Making sure that they aren’t left alone all day also makes sure that all their needs are being met. 

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