Owning a pug and having a 9 to 5 day job can definitely have its disadvantages. When you really think about it, the amount of time you get to spend with your pug is minimal at best. Roughly 8 hours of your day is spent at work, another 6 to 8 hours sleeping, and the rest of the time has to be divided between commute time, going shopping, and then finally spending time with your pug. When you put all of this into perspective, you realize very quickly how lonely a dog’s life can be.
With this in mind, a lot of people ask if it’s okay for pugs to be left alone.
An adult pug that has been house trained can be left alone for up to 8 hours, but this really does depend on their age. Puppies, for example, should only be left alone for up to 4 hours max as they require training in order to handle not going potty for a longer period of time, or at least to use any designated place to do their business.
Keep in mind that this really is the short answer. In my opinion, it’s always best to shoot for the least amount of time for your pug to be alone, especially when they are bred to be indoor dogs.
In fact, the PSDA states that the maximum amount your dog should be left alone for is 4 hours. The problem is that this is not practical for most of us due to our work schedule.
Let’s break it down a little more:
In the perfect world, pug puppies should be left alone for no more than 1 to 4 hours, and adult pugs, 4 to 6 hours.
For pug puppies, it all comes down to how long they can hold their bladder, which in turn dictates where within the 4 hour range they belong in terms of being left alone:
An 8 to 10 week old pug puppy is not able to hold their bladder, so you can’t leave them alone for more than 1 hour.
A pug puppy that is 2 to 3 months can generally hold their bladder longer and therefore can be left alone for up to 2 hours.
If, on the other hand, your pug puppy is four months old, they are able to hold their bladder for up to 4 hours. Keep in mind, however, that we are speaking about averages here. One pug could be very different to another pug in terms of how long they can hold their bladder for.
Can Pugs Get Lonely?
Yes, because pugs are very social creatures. Just like many other dog breeds, pugs can suffer from separation anxiety.
When you really sit down and think about it and put yourself in your dog’s paws, they have no clue where you go once you walk out that door. At one moment, you’re playing with them, moving around the house or apartment with the regular routine, and then just like that, you disappear and stay away for many hours.
At this point, your pug is completely alone in the house with no idea where you are. The house most likely starts to look far bigger than it usually is, and all the strange sounds coming from the pipes or your neighbors starts to have an even bigger impact on your pooch during this moment.
It’s one big bad nightmare, and it lasts a long time. If I were a dog, I’d probably get separation anxiety too!
Do Pugs Bark When Left Alone?
Yes, like most dogs would. This could be a result of separation anxiety or they’re barking because they’re reacting to something they’re hearing but don’t know what it is. And as mentioned previously, sounds become even more intense and impactful when they are left alone as there is less interior noise in the house when you’re away.
What Are the Signs of Separation Anxiety in Pugs?
Your pug can usually have one or more of the following behaviors:
- Excessive whining or barking until your pug wears out, but will then resume once they regain their energy
- Obsessive licking of their paws or other accessible areas of the body as a way to sooth themselves
- Panic behavior which involves pugs jumping into walls or other fixtures
- Depression, which means that even when you return, you will find that your pug still doesn’t really change their mood and becomes very snappy
- Elevated heart rate and excessive drooling
- Destructive chewing in order to help soothe themselves
Separation anxiety is a very common behavior problem among canines. The AVMA have stated that between 20% to 40% of dogs in the United States have been diagnosed with separation anxiety. That’s a huge number, and the sad thing is that as dog owners, we don’t always have that much control over when we can spend time with our pugs.
But there are some things we can do to help them cope better when being alone.
How to Help Pugs Cope with Being Alone
First of all, start off with dog proofing your home. You want to keep your pug as safe as possible while you’re away. Here are just a few things you can start with in order to get your home pug-proof:
- Install baby gates to limit access to other rooms of the house. It’s also a good idea to use them to limit your pug from accessing the stairs
- Keep all of your dangerous and toxic substances out of reach from your pug
- Keep anything that can break or tear easily out of reach from your pug such as your shoes, slippers glass ornaments and other fragile items
- Keep all doors that are accessible closed within reach of your pug’s safe zone (we’ll get into safe zones shortly)
- Make sure that all your cabinets in your bathroom and kitchen are securely locked. A good idea is to put safety locks on them to ensure this.
- Keep wires and other cables out of reach from your pug
- Make sure that all electrical outlets have covers on them
And in general, just use your common sense to make sure that there is no way your pug could inadvertently hurt themselves while in the house alone.
Create a Safe Zone for Your Pug
The safe zone should be designed to be comfortable and have an atmosphere that keeps your pug relaxed. This is the area where your pooch will go to in order to feel safe and secure as well as entertain themselves while you’re away.
Be sure that this area is also perfectly acclimatized for your pug. Pugs don’t do very well in very hot and cold conditions due to their pushed in noses, which lead to respiratory problems, so you want to make sure that they are able to feel completely fine with the environment both emotionally and physically.
It’s also important that your pug’s safe zone has a sufficient amount of food and water for the whole day. In addition, make sure that the food and water bowls are securely in place so that your pug doesn’t accidentally knock them over.
Keep Your Pug Busy While You’re Away
This can easily be done by providing the right type of toys to entertain your pug while you’re away. Nowadays, you can find a whole range of dog toys that are designed specifically for this purpose.
For example, there are some toys that will respond to being touched when your pug moves. They will do this by making a noise, lighting up or speaking. Your pug will feel like the toy is playing with them and will therefore reciprocate.
Break up the Times That Your Pug Is Alone
A great way to do this is by asking one of your family members or friends to check in on your pug every few hours; not just to feed them, but to play with them a little or even take them for a walk.
You might even want to consider hiring a professional dog walker. This type of activity is a great way to allow your pug to expend a lot of that energy that’s been building up and also to relax them.
If you’re able to step out from work during the day, use some of that time to visit your pug for a brief moment. If you’re not able to, consider installing a web cam made for pets as a way to communicate with your pooch while you’re away.
These toys are great because one of the big contributors to separation anxiety is boredom. So, if you’re able to keep your pug from being bored, you’ll be on the right track.
How Long Is Too Long?
Try not to go over the 10 hour mark, as this can be a bit too much for your pug. But then again, it really depends on your work life and what you can handle. The longer you’re away, the more you need to do in order to make sure that your pug will be comfortable alone.
While 10 hours might seem like a lot, the truth is that it doesn’t have to if you deal with the situation appropriately. However, if you’re able to, try not to let your pug be alone that long.
Can Getting Another Dog Help with the Loneliness?
Yes, it most definitely can. Pugs are very friendly dogs and can normally get along with other breeds as well. However, there is more responsibility involved, so it’s really up to you as to whether you’re able to deal with the extra responsibility.
Don’t forget, having another dog means more expenses such as paying for food, toys, and medical bills. So, really think this through before taking the decision to buy another dog.
Can Pugs Be Left Outside?
No, pugs should never be left outside alone. These dogs have not been bred for the outdoors. Because they have a pushed in face, they can have a big problem with heat and cold, and it could be fatal for them.
You should only ever take your pug outside when you’re with them. However, you still have to be careful not to take them out during times when it’s too hot or too cold.
Pugs can definitely get lonely when left alone. The younger they are, the less time they should be alone. However, keep in mind that it also depends on your own pug’s personality. Some might deal with being alone quite well while others won’t. Your job is to do whatever you can to help them cope with this.