Two chocolate labradors sitting in a living room

Can Labradors be left alone for 8 hours?

Today I’m going to answer a question that many Labrador owners have: can Labradors be left alone for eight hours? The short answer is: it depends. Let me explain.

Labradors are a very social and friendly breed of dog. They love to be around their family and other dogs. They also need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. Leaving them alone for too long can cause them to feel bored, lonely, anxious, or stressed. This can lead to behavioral problems such as barking, chewing, digging, or escaping.

However, every dog is different and some Labradors may be able to tolerate being left alone for longer periods than others. It also depends on factors such as their age, personality, training, health, environment, and routine. 

Here are some general guidelines on how long you can leave your Labrador alone based on their age:


Puppies are very curious and need constant supervision. They also need to pee frequently and can’t hold their bladder for very long. 

A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold its bladder for one hour for every month of age. So, if you have an 8-week-old puppy, you can leave it alone for up to two hours although I probably wouldn’t. 

However, young puppies should be allowed to relieve themselves every hour. At 6 months old, your puppy should have full bladder control and be able to stay alone for up to four hours.

Adult dogs 

Adult Labradors can generally handle being left alone for up to four hours. However, this may vary depending on their individual temperament and training. Some Labradors may be more independent and confident than others and may not mind being alone for longer periods. 

Others may be more clingy and sensitive and may suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for too long. You should observe your dog’s behaviour and signs of stress when you leave them alone and adjust accordingly.

Senior dogs

Senior Labradors may have special needs and require more attention and care than younger dogs. They may have health issues such as arthritis, diabetes, or dementia that affect their mobility, comfort, or cognition. They may also have reduced bladder control and need more frequent bathroom breaks. You should consult your vet about your senior dog’s specific needs and limitations and avoid leaving them alone for longer than they can handle.

The bottom line

So, can Labradors be left alone for eight hours? The answer is: not usually. 

Eight hours is a long time for any dog to be alone, especially a social breed like Labradors. 

However, there may be situations where you have no choice but to leave your dog alone for that long, such as when you have to work or travel. In that case, you should make sure that you provide your dog with everything they need to stay safe, comfortable, and entertained while you’re gone.

How to prepare your Labrador for being left alone for up to eight hours

Create a safe and cozy space  

You should designate a specific area in your home where your dog can stay while you’re away. This could be a crate, a room, or a fenced yard. Make sure that the space is secure, clean, comfortable, and well-ventilated. Provide your dog with a soft bed, fresh water, and some toys to keep them busy.

Give them access to a bathroom area

Ideally, your dog should have free access to a bathroom area where they can relieve themselves whenever they need to. This could be a dog door that leads to a fenced yard or a pee pad that you place inside the house. If this is not possible, you should arrange for someone to come and take your dog out for a bathroom break at least once during the eight hours .

Provide them with mental stimulation

Labradors are intelligent dogs that need mental stimulation and enrichment to prevent boredom and frustration. You should provide them with some interactive toys that challenge their brain and keep them occupied while you’re gone. For example, you can use a Kong toy that you stuff with treats or peanut butter and freeze overnight. Your dog will have fun trying to get the goodies out of the toy. You can also use puzzle toys that dispense treats when your dog solves them or hide treats around the house for your dog to find.

Leave some background noise

Some dogs may feel more relaxed if they hear some familiar sounds while they’re alone. You can leave the TV or radio on at a low volume or play some soothing music for your dog . You can also use a device that plays your voice or other sounds that your dog likes.

Hire a dog walker or sitter 

If possible, you should hire a professional dog walker or sitter who can come and check on your dog during the day. They can take your dog out for a walk, play with them, feed them, and give them some company . This can help reduce your dog’s stress and loneliness and make them happier and healthier.

Enrol them in a daycare

Another option is to enroll your dog in a daycare where they can interact with other dogs and people under supervision. This can provide your dog with socialization, exercise, stimulation, and fun while you’re away. However, this may not be suitable for every dog or every budget. You should do some research and find a reputable daycare that meets your dog’s needs and preferences.

My experience

My seven-year-old Labrador Ellie is quite chilled out and a bit of a homebody. She loves nothing more than to snooze in one of her many beds. But as much as she enjoys her independence, she always wants me to be around and can get antsy when I am getting ready to leave.  

I work from home most of the time, so I don’t have to leave her alone very often. However, there are times when I have to go out for meetings or errands and I can’t take her with me. In those cases, I usually leave her alone for no more than three hours if I can help it.

When I first got Ellie, I started by leaving her alone for short periods of time. Then, I gradually increased the amount of time I was out. 

I always make sure that she has plenty of water and food before I leave her alone.  

Sometimes I also leave the TV or radio on for him so he can hear some familiar sounds. She likes to watch animal shows or listen to classical music.

My favourite YouTube channels

Relax My Dog

Relaxing Jazz Cafe 

When I come back home, I always greet her warmly and give her lots of praise and affection. I also take her straight out for a walk and so she can do her business.

While I do think that Ellie would be fine if she was left alone for eight hours, I wouldn’t want to leave her that long. If I have to be away from home for longer than four hours, I always arrange for a friend or neighbour to check in on Ellie at home or have her go over to their house. 

I hope you found these tips helpful. Let me know what you do when you need to leave your dog for eight hours or more in the comments below!

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