Can Labradors Be Left Home Alone? – How To Prepare

Before people decide on getting a dog, they usually think about the finances and time needed to take care of it. With Labradors being very social dogs, most owners ask “can Labradors be left home alone?”.

Labradors can be left alone for less than 4 hours. Any more than that and you risk it developing separation anxiety. If you do decide to leave your Labrador alone, you should do a few things first.

  • How Long Can You Leave A Labrador Alone
  • Things You Can Do To Make It Easier
  • Things To Do Before You Leave It Alone
  • What Might Happen If It Stays Alone Too Long

How Long Can You Leave A Labrador Alone

Depending on the age, your Lab will require different amounts of attention and time spent on taking care of it.

As A Puppy

Lab puppies spend most of their days sleeping. Usually around 18 hours of the day. But when they are awake, they are filled with energy and needy. So how long can a Lab puppy be left alone? Well, depends on the puppy’s age. They have small bladders with bad bladder control and need to urinate quite often. Here are the recommended hours according to age:

  • 8 – 10 weeks – 1 hour maximum
  • 2 – 3 months – 2 hours maximum
  • 3 – 4 months – 3 hours maximum
  • 4 – 6 months – 4 hours maximum

As An Adolescent

Once your Labrador has reached the 6-8 months age, it will become better at controlling its bladder. This means that it’s safer to leave it alone for a longer time. That said, you still shouldn’t exceed the 4-hour mark as it might react with some separation anxiety.

As An Adult

Once your Labrador reaches 18-24 months it is considered an adult. Adult Labradors are better at caring for themselves but they still like the company of other people. This means that they can stay home alone for longer if needed. But try not to exceed the 4-hour mark so they don’t get lonely.

As A Senior

How long can a Labrador be left alone if it is a senior dog? Well, older dogs have more needs than younger adult dogs. They need more toilet breaks and they are prone to getting sick. Someone should be around your dog if it develops any symptoms. Also, you shouldn’t leave a sick dog alone at home.

Things You Can Do To Make It Easier

Sometimes you just have to get out of the home for work, but there are a few things you can do to make it easier for your Lab.

Take It For A Walk Beforehand

Take your Lab for a 30-minute – 1-hour walk to spend that high energy. Once it spends a bit of it, it can be calm for a long time. When you come home go for another walk or some more demanding exercise like running.

Get A Dog Sitter Or Dog Walker

There are many companies and independent people who work as dog sitters or dog walkers. They will take your dog for a walk or just hang out with it for a while. It’s a perfect solution to your alone Labrador problem while it isn’t too expensive.

Get Help From Family And Friends

Talk with your family and friends and arrange a visit from them throughout the day. Your Labrador will be happy to have someone to hang out with even for short periods of time. If they can, they should take it for a walk or play some game to spend some energy.

Visit Your Lab For Lunch

If you work close enough to your home, try to visit your Lab on your break. You can play a game or go for a quick walk around the block. If your dog likes licking your legs or cuddling for the whole time, let it. You should also consider getting a more flexible job that allows you to visit your dog during the day.

Leave It At A Doggy DayCare

There are many places like this made specifically for dogs like Labradors left alone. If you plan on taking it to the daycare, you should start early in its life. It will make new friends there and it will be easier for your Lab to pass the day.

Work From Home

Lately, we’ve noticed a lot of jobs making the move home. And it works in a lot of cases. If you have a career with which you do a full-time job from home, you should try it out. Your dog will be happy to have you at home for the whole day even if you work.

Get A Dog Camera

Technology always finds simple solutions to our problems. You can set up a dog camera in your home so you can check up on your dog or even interact during the day. Some of these cameras can even be used to send treats to your pup.

Get Another Dog

Labradors left alone at home can feel much better with some company. If you think you would be able to care for another dog, consider getting a friend for your Lab. Experts recommend to get another dog of the opposite sex. Your dog should first be properly trained. 

Things To Do Before You Leave It Alone

Before you leave your Labrador alone at home, you can do a few things to make the experience better.

Leave The TV On

If you leave your TV on when you are out of the house, it can keep company to your Labrador. The TV will replicate the sounds of having other people or pets around. Besides this, you can try and play calming music in the background. One study proclaims that soft rock and reggae music can calm a dog and decrease its heart rate.

Leave Some Toys Around

To ensure your Lab will not get bored home alone, you can include some toys to your Labs home alone routine. Leave a few of its favorite toys around the house so it can play with them whenever it wants. There are many types of toys to choose from. Some are mentally stimulating and some can even be stuffed with treats to keep your pup busy and fed.

Leave Enough Food And Water

Whenever you leave your Lab alone, make sure it has enough food and water for the day. You don’t want your pet to be hungry or dehydrated when you come home. You can get an automatic food dispenser that dispenses small amounts of food from time to time so your Lab doesn’t eat it all in one fell swoop.

sleepy black labrador retriever lying on the bed

Give Access To The Bathroom

An adult Lab can go for 6-8 hours without going to the bathroom. Make sure to give access to the bathroom to your dog, so you won’t end up with a soiled carpet at the end of the day. Leave the door to the bathroom open, or the dog to the yard if your dog prefers it there. You could also invest in artificial grass that your dog can go potty on.

Lock Your Gate

Make sure the gate is locked whenever you leave your black Lab home alone. This will prevent your Lab from stumbling out of the house and getting lost. It will also prevent your house from being visited by strangers. You can also put up dog gates inside your home to prevent your Lab from going to some areas.

What Might Happen If It Stays Alone Too Long

If you let your Labrador stay alone for too long, it might develop some of these conditions.

Separation Anxiety

Labrador Retrievers are highly social dogs, so if left alone for too long they might develop separation anxiety. This means that they get stressed whenever they are separated from their family for too long. You can notice symptoms like uncontrollable barking, chewing, drooling, urinating, defecating, digging, whining, howling, pacing, or trying to escape.

Destructive Behavior

Can Labradors be left home alone without having your possessions destroyed? They can but you should still be careful. Labs will start destroying things because of boredom or pent-up energy. The dog simply wants something to do so it may start chewing on your shoes, destroying your furniture, or ripping your couch apart. Getting them a chew toy may help in this situation. But choose a quality chew toy as some can cause problems. Dogs can eat the string from rope toys and experience stomach issues.

Extreme Restlessness

If you leave your Labrador alone for too long without any exercise, expect it to get restless during the evening. This might result in explosions of energy, also known as zoomies. To prevent this, you should take your dog on its required walks in the morning and evening. Labradors are very high-energy dogs after all.

So Would You Leave Your Labrador Alone?

Labrador Retrievers are the perfect family dog breed for anyone that wants to add another member to their family. But if you are a busy person, you will need to make some sacrifices so you don’t leave your pup alone.

There are different recommended times to have your alone Labrador be at home. But you should not let your Labrador stay alone for more than 4 hours.

You should do a few things before you leave your dog alone. Take it for a walk to spend its excess energy. Leave enough water, food, and toys around to fill its time. You could always ask for help from your family or friends, hire dog walking services or take your dog to the doggy daycare.

Whatever you do, make sure that your dog is safe and it doesn’t develop any separation anxiety or destructive behaviors.


Can Labradors be left alone for more than 8 hours?

No. You shouldn’t leave your Labrador alone for more than eight hours. It needs to have company during the day so it doesn’t develop separation anxiety. It also needs to empty its bladder during the day.

How Many Hours Do Labs Sleep?

Labradors sleep around 11 hours per day. The problem is that they are polyphasic animals and will wake up and fall asleep more times in one day. If you can tire it out and leave after it goes to sleep, it might be calm alone for longer.

Can Labradors be left home alone with a cat?

Labradors and cats can be good friends. They can keep each other company while you are gone. But you should be sure they are comfortable with each other before you leave them alone.

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