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Leaving dog in the backyard while at work (Is it ok? How long?)

Leaving dog in the backyard while at work (Is it ok? How long?)

There are two very different thoughts on this. Some people believe that it’s cruel to leave your dog outside all day. Others can’t imagine not leaving their dog outside. They are dogs, after all. Dogs are born to be outside, right? 

The truth is, that neither of these camps is really correct, nor are they wrong. Whether or not you should leave your dog outside while you are at work depends on several factors. 

Is it ok to leave a dog in the backyard while at work?

This is going to depend on a few factors. The type of dog plays a large role in whether they should be left outside. The weather is another consideration. You’ll also need to consider your dog’s individual personality and preferences. 

Dog Breed 

Some dogs are at their happiest when they get plenty of outside time. Working breeds fall into this category. Most large breed dogs prefer to spend at least some time outside. 

However, toy breeds may not want to be outside, at least not for extended periods of time. These pooches are bred to be indoor companions, instead of outdoor working dogs. 


It’s easy to make blanket statements that are expected to apply to all dogs. However, this isn’t really correct. “If you are cold, they are cold”. This is true for most dogs, but huskies will happily roll around in the snow. Some breeds are also more heat tolerant than others. 

Generally, it’s not a good idea to leave dogs outside in extreme temperatures. If it’s below freezing, this is too cold for most breeds, even if they have shelter. If the temperature is very high, dogs are at risk for heat stroke. 

When determining if the weather is too extreme for your dog, use common sense. Consider their breed and preferences, as well as the temperature. 

You’ll also need to think about their shelter. For example, a heating mat in a dog house may allow your dog to stay outside in temperatures that would otherwise be too cold. A kiddie pool of water can help a dog cool down in hot weather. 

Again, use common sense. If it’s 110 or -10, these things are not enough. Your dog needs to be indoors. 


Every dog is an individual. You’ve certainly noticed this interacting with your dog and other dogs. Even dogs from the same litter can have very different personalities. 

When deciding if it’s ok to leave your dog outside while you are at work, you’ll need to take their personality into account. Do they enjoy being outside? Can you trust them to not get into trouble, or a dangerous situation while you are gone? 


This is actually the most important consideration. As a dog owner, its’ your responsibility to keep your four-legged family member safe. Before you leave your dog outside while you are at work, ask yourself if they will be safe while you are away. 


How will you keep your dog in your yard? Many dog owners make the mistake of thinking that their dog is adequately trained to stay in their yard. 

They say, “Oh, he never leaves the yard. I don’t have to worry about that”. A toddler is unlikely to leave the yard while you are watching them. However, turn your head for a fw minutes, and you may find yourself frantically searching for them. 

They aren’t being intentionally disobedient. They simply lack impulse control. Dogs are the same way. Even if they are well trained, you can’t rely on them to not take off after a squirrel or a passerby and run out of your yard.  

If you have a fenced in yard, you’ll need to be sure that your dog can’t escape. I’ve seen many dogs jump over a fence, or dig under it, when something catches their eye. 

If you are planning to use a tie or chain, be sure there’s nothing the dog can get hung on. 

A pen or running kennel is a great option, and better for your pooch than a tie. 

Is it cruel to leave a dog in the backyard while at work?

Again, it depends on the factors listed above. If your dog annoys being outside, and the weather is comfortable, it’s not cruel to leave them outside. 

However, this is not a substitute for regular exercise or quality time with your pooch. 

How long is it ok to leave a dog in the backyard while at work?

There’s no set time limit on how long it’s ok to leave your dog in the yard while you are at work. However, there are some things that can minimize the risk if you are leaving them for a long work day each day. 

If you are leaving your pooch all day, consider these options. The longer you leave your dog, the more vital they become. If you need to leave them alone for more than 8 hours each day, you should strongly consider these options. 

Pet Camera 

A pet camera is a great way to keep an eye on your pooch. You can check in on them and see how they are doing. This will ease your mind.  It also allows you to know if something goes wrong quickly, rather than hours later. 

Another plus is that most of them allow you to speak to your dog through the camera. This can help keep them from feeling lonely and abandoned during a long day. 

Arrange Visits or Walks 

If possible, get someone to  check on your dog at least once during the day. If your hours are super long, you may even ask them to feed your pooch. This gives your pooch some actual human interaction during the day, which can make a big difference in how they feel about being left alone.  They will soon learn to look forward to the visits. 

A walking service is a great way to accomplish this as well. In addition to interaction, your pooch will get some much needed exercise. 

Alternatives to leaving a dog in the backyard while at work

 There are a few alternatives to leaving your pooch in the backyard that you should consider. 

Doggie Door 

A doggie door is a great way to give your pooch the best of both worlds. They can go outside when they want, which greatly reduces boredom and house training accidents. When they are tired of being outside, they can return indoors. 

Doggie Daycare

Doggie daycare is another alternative to leaving your dog at home alone. These are similar to child daycare centers, only for dogs. 

You drop your dog off, and they get to have interaction with other humans and dogs. When you are finished with work, you pick them up. 

A dog sitter is a similar option. Dog sitters typically stay with the dog all day. A dog walker on the other hand, walks the dog, and then leaves. 

If you have a friend or family member that enjoys spending time with your dog, consider having them dog sit. They may be willing to do it for a fee, or even simply to have some company themselves. 

Take Your Pooch With You

This option isn’t for everyone. However, if you can take your dog to work with you, do so. Assuming your pooch will allow you to get your work done.