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Time Required to Look After a Dog

Pet dogs need human company and it’s not fair to keep a dog at home if everyone in the house is out at work or school all day. Dogs shouldn’t be left alone for more than four hours at a time.

Extra Attention

If there are times where your dog may need to be left alone for a longer period, you should try to include extra periods of attention in the morning and evening and arrange for someone to come home or visit during the day to take them for a walk and give them some company.

If no one in the family is available to do that, you can find help at places like


Young puppies need almost constant company. They must be fed four times a day, house trained, and need lots of play time, socialisation and one-on-one interaction.

If you’re thinking about getting a puppy, you should do it at a time of year when you are certain you will be around to spend the necessary time, for example school holidays.

Even once the young puppy stage is finished (around four months of age), you will still need to spend plenty of time with your dog. Some need more attention than others, for example a quiet King Charles Cavalier Spaniel might be happy with a fifteen-minute walk once a day. A Wicklow Collie might need thirty minutes ball chasing twice a day a day to prevent him from becoming bored.

Dog Walking

You should also be prepared to walk your dog for at least ten minutes every morning and at least twenty minutes every evening. Time should also be spent grooming on grooming as every dog will need brushed at least once a week to keep their coat healthy and prevent matting.  

Everyday Activities

It is also important that your dog will be accepted by everyone as part of the family and household when it’s not being walked or groomed. Dogs enjoy company and whenever possible, they should be included in everyday family activities.

You might allow the dog to lie on the kitchen floor while the family evening meal is being prepared. You might keep the dog at your feet while you are reading a book or watching television. You might even just give the dog a pat on the head whenever you walk past him.

This kind of social interaction and reassurance is important for a dog to feel safe and secure.

If you are worried about your pet's health, visit the Petfix DIY Triage Checker or Ask a Vet. If it is urgent take your pet to your vet immediately.