Roger Salmon column: leaving dogs alone leaves them distressed

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Sadly, virtually all dogs in the UK are not getting the recommended amount of companionship.

They are left alone for long periods of time, which means they can be lonely, distressed and bored on a daily basis. This can lead to a wide range of behavioural problems including destructive behaviours and separation anxiety.

It is recommended that dogs should not be left alone for a period of more than four hours but 23 per cent of owners leave their dog alone in a house for more than five hours on a typical weekday or they do not monitor for how long the dog is left alone for.

The average time owners leave their dog alone on a typical weekday varies by the age of the owner, 33 per cent of 18-24 year olds typically leave their dog for more than five hours, while just 10 per cent of those aged 55 and over do.

When asked “how long can you leave your dog alone for” 52 per cent of owners think the ideal maximum number of hours is 5 hours or more and 4 per cent of owners think the ideal number is over 10 hours.

Most owners show consideration for their pet when making holiday plans. 26 per cent typically go to stay with a dog sitter or friend and a further 18 per cent take their pet to stay in a boarding kennel.

Well run kennels won’t allow dogs to board if they have not been vaccinated, so make sure your dogs vaccinations are up to date well in advance.

If a friend or pet sitter is looking after your dog while you are away, leave them a list of information about how much food and exercise your pet needs and leave your vets contact details for emergencies.

22 per cent of owners take their dogs on holiday with them.

This is beneficial if the dog stays with its owners but there are potential risks from diseases if travelling abroad and of course a Pet Passport is needed from your vet.

10 per cent of owners leave their dogs in the house while on holiday and someone comes to feed them and exercise them. This is worrying considering the amount of social stimulation and care that dogs require.