Can Pit Bulls Be Left Alone? (Answered By Vet Tech)

Can Pit Bulls Be Left Alone

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Pit Bulls are loyal, affectionate, and active dogs, making them excellent family pets. However, you may also find yourself dealing with destroyed items and a wildly anxious dog when you leave for too long.

You may be wondering after days of coming home to trashed toy remains and washing pee-soaked blankets if your pittie is really suited for being alone. Can Pit Bulls be left alone? And do they even like being alone?

Pit Bulls, like other animals, will enjoy occasional alone time. With this said, pitties are clingy, devoted dogs that enjoy being attached to the hip of their owner and prefer to stay that way. You can leave your pitbull alone if you have a routine and proper training, though your absence shouldn’t exceed 6-8 hours. 

In this article, we will explore the topic of whether Pit Bulls like to be alone based on a few different factors and just how long they can last by themselves. Lastly, we will consider various ways that you can help your Pit Bull be more comfortable with being home alone!

Do Pit Bulls Do Well Alone?

Of course, any dog, cat, snake, human, what have you, is going to appreciate some time spent by themselves! There’s no doubt we all need a break from the chaos every now and then. But how much time alone is too much for Pit Bulls, and do they truly like being left alone when it’s not their choice?

Though the “Alpha Dog Theory” has been recently debunked, it’s no contest that our pups still mimic certain behaviors from pack animals which leads us to believe in this theory. They look up to their owner and trust them with their life!

Pack animals were suggested to remain in a group typically for safety in numbers, comfort, and the ability to obtain food easier. Our pups still lean towards this, but more so because of the fact that we are the providers that offer them care, safety, and love.

Who wouldn’t want to be with someone that tends to their every need day in and day out? So, it makes sense that your pittie will want to stick beside you wherever possible to feel content because you are his caretaker and best friend!

Though there may be instances where your Pit Bull goes off to another room for a nap, there are likely more instances where he is snuggled up on the couch with you, following you to the bathroom, or watching you cook dinner.

Certain breeds are known to be more independent, such as Basset Hounds and Whippets, whereas others may achieve the “velcro dog” status more abundantly. Pit bulls tend to fall more on the clingy side thanks to their enthusiastic attitude, overly friendly demeanor, and eagerness to please.

While we can’t read our pittie’s thoughts (as much as some of us wish for this), it is safe to say that they prefer to be with their family over being left alone.

With this said, let’s take a look at some factors below that will help you decide how long you should leave your pittie alone when the time (inevitably) comes!

Factors That Determine If Your Pit Bull Could Be Left Alone

There is a balance that can be achieved between leaving your dog alone when necessary and making the most out of the time you do have with them! And to find this balance, you must first consider various factors that determine how long your Pit Bull could fare on its own.

Factor 1: How Long Have You Had Your Pit Bull?

If your pittie is new to the family, this would not be the best time to start leaving him alone frequently. Try to prepare in advance for the adoption and the weeks following, as you’ll need plenty of time at home to be present with your pup and ensure all of his needs are met!

Many call the first 2-3 months post-adoption an “adjustment period” for your new pooch as he has to fully settle into the family, home, and neighborhood. It can take days, weeks, or even months for him to start adjusting to life with you, all depending on what he’s experienced already. This is the time to provide reassurance, socialization, and lots of love!

And once your Pit Bull has taken over every inch of the house, greets everyone at the door, and jumps at the mere sound of the word “walk”,  it’s safe to say your pup is confident in his surroundings! This would be the ideal time to transition into leaving him by himself for short periods of time.

Factor 2: How Old Is Your Pit Bull?

Yes, the age of your pittie does matter!

Adult (1-7 Years)

The easiest scenario is if your pup is considered an adult. By this time, they should’ve calmed down (which probably won’t be much given this breed) and are used to you leaving them alone already for groceries, gas, or even work.

Generally, adult Pit Bulls should already be trained, giving them a step ahead when it comes to being alone. Also being the most physically capable of independence out of each age group, an adult dog has strong, developed body systems that (typically) are at their peak function.

The bladder is an excellent example of this since adult dogs have better bladder control than a puppy or elderly dog does, allowing them to hold off on their “bathroom time” until you get home.

Keep in mind, however, that even pitties in this age range may not do well when left alone as it all depends on your individual dog’s personality!

Puppy (0-1 Years, Sometimes Up To 2 Years)

On the other hand, puppies pee and poo a lot. They don’t have control over bowel movements until they are one month old! And especially before potty training them, when they have to go, they’ll find the closest spot to make their statement. There is also the fact that puppies have bladders that are physically just small.

A dog’s bladder develops as the puppy does up until one year old, getting larger over time and allowing for full bladder control by just six months. Though accidents may still happen, in general puppies can hold their bladder (in hours) based on how old they are. So, if you have a four-month-old puppy, you can expect a bathroom break every four hours.

With this said, even adult dogs have a limit to holding their bladder. Puppies six months and older into adulthood should ideally have a break to do their business every 6-8 hours. Any time longer than this for prolonged amounts can lead to various urinary problems in the future.

Not only do bladder requirements matter for puppies, but there are also the factors of them yet to be crate trained and used to a specific routine! Crate training is crucial for a growing pooch and can help avoid problems down the line. For more information on the breakdown of crate training, check out this article.

Senior (7+ Years)

Even senior dogs will struggle with bladder control, but more so due to incontinence rather than not being trained on where to use the Lou yet.

Some older Pit Bulls may struggle to hold their bladder past eight hours due to the weakening of their urethral muscles which hold their urine in. Naturally, this comes with age and you’ll need to take this into account when considering how long you can leave your elderly pittie alone.

Senior pitties are otherwise more laidback, independent, and used to the schedule and rules you have in place, so this should not become an issue!

Factor 3: How Much Physical Exercise And Mental Stimulation Does Your Pittie Get?

Pit Bulls are not only known to be lovely family dogs but are also known for their high energy levels and superb intelligence! Just look at this video and tell me you don’t feel the energy exuding from these pups!

With these traits, it is up to us as their owners to ensure that they get their daily exercise in for both mind and body.

If given plenty of exercise and playtime prior to leaving home, it is more likely that your Pit Bull won’t mind being alone for a few hours. The other side of this coin is if you don’t allow your pittie a chance to release his energy in appropriate ways, then he will quickly get restless once you leave.

Mental stimulation will work in a similar fashion since your brain is a muscle too! Once we don’t give our Pit Bulls enough opportunity for mental stimulation, whether it be in the form of training, hide and seek, or various puzzle and scent-based toys, they will become bored and search for something to tire their minds out. Yes, this can mean chewing up your shoes or door frames and getting into your trash!

The more mentally engaging toys you can leave for your pooch at home, the easier it will be for you to leave for a sufficient chunk of time and not worry so deeply about how your pittie is faring by himself.

Factor 4: Is Your Pit Bull The Only Dog At Home?

Having a companion helps make alone time feel not so alone!

If your Pit Bull is the only dog you have, then you risk your pooch getting lonelier while you’re away and possibly getting into things you’d wish they didn’t.

Although if you have multiple dogs at home, then it becomes easier to leave them alone for long amounts of time, because, well, they aren’t really alone are they?

Ensure that you give your canine pals enough space to roam around and can separate when they want to avoid any disagreements while you’re away. You’ll come back to elated faces and (hopefully) a clean home! As clean as you can get it with owning dogs, that is.

Factor 5: Does Your Pittie Suffer From Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety affects all breeds of dogs and can develop at any stage of life. It is crucial to know the signs of your dog suffering from this and act quickly in the best interest of your pup.

Pit Bulls, given their naturally clingy and loyal nature, may lead them to develop separation anxiety more often, especially if being left alone is brand new to them.

Dogs suffering from separation anxiety will need to be eased into being left alone otherwise it can be extremely stressful for them and lead to various unwanted behaviors such as chewing, scratching, barking, and bathroom accidents.

As you try leaving your Pit Bull alone in the beginning, start off slow and be prepared to make changes to your plan based on how he reacts. Don’t be discouraged if the process of building your pittie’s confidence and independence takes longer than you expected, as every individual will have different comfort levels.

If you’re noticing symptoms of separation anxiety and it’s only worsening, talk with your veterinarian about steps to take either medically and/or at home to help put your dog more at ease in your absence.

How Long Can Adult Pit Bulls Be Left Alone?

For an average adult Pit Bull, it is recommended not to exceed leaving it alone for any longer than 6-8 hours, though this can occasionally be increased to 10 hours at a time if the situation is necessary.

This time range is considering the fact that you’ve had your pittie for a while now, he’s a trained adult, and he is past his adjustment period following his adoption day. 10 hours of absence away from your dog should not be done every day as this can end up as a multitude of problems later on, whether it be incontinence or behavioral-type issues.

Various factors as described above will determine the amount of time that works best for your individual circumstances, specific to you and your pup’s needs. Just because one dog can be fine left alone for 6 hours, that does not mean another dog can as well!

What About Senior Pitties And Puppies?

It’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself able to be away from your senior Pit Bull for the same stretch of hours as you maybe once were able to. With old age often comes less independence, and our pooches are no different!

If at all possible, don’t leave a senior pittie alone for more than 4 hours at a time. Their inability to hold their bladder like they once could mean that your time spent away, no matter how great or minute, will risk accidents inside.

What about puppies, though?

Puppies are inevitably going to be higher maintenance than adults and even most senior dogs, as they require training to understand what you expect from them at home. Of course, deciding how long you can leave your puppy home alone will depend heavily on its age in months, as we’ve seen how the puppy’s bladder changes within its first year of life.

Once you reach the six-month-old mark with your pup. At this age, 6 hours should be your ultimate limit to avoid unwanted behaviors, though it is recommended to be gone no longer than 2-4 hours at a time.

Try different lengths of time to see what works best based on where your puppy is at in his development process, and give him some grace if accidents happen! They are just puppies at the end of the day and will get better with time.

Ways To Make Your Pit Bull More Comfortable With Being Alone

Let’s see what you can do!

1. Start Off Slow

The first step, and possibly one of the most important ones, is to start off slowly with the process of leaving your Pit Bull alone. Especially important if you’ve never left your pittie’s side before, leaving the house for long periods can shock your pooch with such a drastic change in daily routines.

Start with leaving your pittie in another room for a few minutes at a time. Once this is not an issue, extend the time of absence by going out, whether it be going grocery shopping, grabbing the mail, or having lunch with a friend. See how your pup fares while you were out and adjust based on their reaction.

You’ll want to continue leaving for only short occasions and slowly add time to each outing once your pittie becomes alright with it. The more you leave, come back, and reward your pooch for good behavior, the more resilience and independence you are building within your pup!

It is best to remain patient in this process rather than jumping in head first, and remember one thing: the tortoise wins the race!

2. Ensure Your Pittie Is Crate-Trained

Training is crucial for any breed of dog that is going to be left home alone, no matter if it’s for 3o minutes or 6 hours. Not only just any training, however, but most importantly crate-training.

Associating the crate with a safe space for your dog will help to minimize any unwanted destructive behaviors that present with stress. Once your pooch gets overwhelmed or lonely, it will want to console itself in the ways it knows best. If you aren’t there for reassurance, then the crate is the next best option!

At first, you may leave your pittie inside the crate while you leave. This is to set expectations for how you’d like your pup to act while you aren’t home and to avoid any freakouts from the get-go. Once this has become normal, you can work on leaving the crate open and allowing your pittie free roam (or mostly free roam) of the house.

The option to rest inside the crate is still available, but now you are allowing for more freedom. Incorporating the crate into your pup’s daily routine will help establish boundaries early on and give your furry friend his own space to retreat to.

And even if your Pit Bull is not a puppy anymore, good news! You can still train an adult or senior dog and teach him new things! So, don’t be afraid to bust out that dog crate and utilize it in your training.

3. Exercise Before Leaving

With medium-large breed dogs as active as Pit Bulls, it’s crucial you allot enough time to exercise. The best way to tucker out your pup is to get a full session of activity prior to leaving the home. Taking him to the dog park, for a run, copious rounds of fetch, you name it!

It is recommended to provide at least 45 minutes to an hour of exercise per day for your average pittie.

You can’t always rely on your dog to run around in circles for the entire hour straight and not get bored. Participating in the activities too not only improves the bond you share with your pup, but it will also keep him entertained and more enthusiastic throughout the session.

Planning this time to be right before you leave your pal will allow him to sleep once you leave since he will be exhausted from the vigorous play time you just shared. And even though he won’t sleep for 6 hours straight, the times he is awake are less likely to result in bad behaviors around the room.

4. Provide Mentally Engaging Toys & Puzzles

Physical exercise isn’t the only important topic of discussion; that’s right, mental exercise is significant too!

There are various puzzle and food toys out on the dog market today, providing you with a plethora of options to try to keep your pittie occupied, interested, calm, and most of all, happy!

The KONG classic dog toy is a popular option for many households, withstanding strong chewers and including an opening to hide all kinds of treats! You can even freeze it for longer-lasting enjoyment.

If chasing is more of your pittie’s thing, you may try a treat ball. Placing treats inside, your pup can push the ball around and play with it to knock the treats onto the floor. Some designs even have squeaking noises for added interest and various textures to clean teeth!

You can also opt-in to leaving a few toys or items with your scent on them, giving your pittie the chance to cuddle up and sniff to its heart’s content for some extra comfort. This will be especially useful for long work shifts when you can’t visit.

Ultimately, toys will wear your pooch out both physically and mentally, limiting the chances they may give in to boredom and turn against the items in your home. And even if your pittie isn’t a fan of toys, there are ways you can work around this while still giving him the mental stimulation he needs each day!

5. Consider Adopting A Second Dog

You might be concerned by this option if one dog seems too much to handle at times, but hear me out! Adopting a second dog is not only an excellent way to give both yourself and your Pit Bull an extra companion to love, but it also gives you some more leeway when it comes to leaving your pup alone for the day.

Try to find a breed that is generally compatible with Pit Bulls, such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, or Beagles, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose any breed. Make sure to introduce the two pooches properly, and it helps if your pittie is already socialized!

A second dog will keep your pittie company in your absence. They can play together, snooze together, and communicate in ways we can’t understand! Though do keep in mind that they still can’t let themselves out to use the bathroom, so plan breaks for this in your schedule accordingly.

6. Consider A Pet Sitter Or Doggy Daycare

If you work a regular day shift, it is ideal to come home for lunch to relieve your pooch and give him some extra attention. However, this isn’t possible for everyone as commutes vary.

When you are put in a situation where you have no choice but to be gone 8-9 hours each day, consider hiring a pet sitter or dog walker. They can visit once or twice while you’re gone to let your pittie do his business and release some energy!

Leaving your Pit Bull alone for any amount of time longer than 24 hours should be planned in advance with a pet sitter, doggy daycare, or boarding. You never want to leave your pittie without access to fresh food and water or the ability to use the bathroom. Not only this but extended periods of time left without any interaction are just boring and unsettling!

Have someone stop by to spend time with him a few times each day, or let him socialize with other pups at the boarding facilities so you can feel more at ease with being away. I’ve actually used Rover a few times with great satisfaction, which has services for all kinds of needs, whether it be just for daily dog-walking, boarding, or drop-in visits (bonus: they care for more than just dogs)!

7. Set Up A Pet Camera

Whether you’re worried about your dog’s solo-time activities or you just miss your pooch and feel better checking in on him, setting up a pet camera will do the trick!

Having a camera is beneficial especially in the beginning of leaving your dog by himself, since it lets you physically see what he’s up to. You can easily monitor for any noticeable signs of stress, boredom, or loneliness and adapt your plans from there! And once your pittie becomes comfortable with his alone time, you can use the camera to spy on him in all of the toy-chewing, treat-eating, napping cuteness!

I can attest to pet cameras and how fun they are to use. It gives a sense of comfort knowing that you can still see your pup in real time and in some devices like this one, talk to them and dispense a treat too! With an added microphone and treat feature, you can be more engaged even while not physically present.

And if that product doesn’t strike your fancy, check out this video to compare the different devices on the market!

Dogs have been found to recognize their owner’s voice consistently in recent studies, so speaking to your pooch will make them feel comforted and not so alone at the moment. And who doesn’t like extra treats?

8. Leave The TV On Or Have Music Playing

Leave the TV on or have some music set to play! Though your electric bill may not be the most appealing, these two options are some of the easiest tricks in the book to soothe a lonely pittie.

Silence can make passing time feel much slower when compared to having the distraction of noise. Various sounds can act as a source of comfort for your pooch since the voices and melodies promote this feeling of having company around.

My parents do this daily while they are gone for work, as they have a blind diabetic pup that is terribly attached to my dad. Anytime he used to leave the room even if my mom was there, the whining and barking ensued. Both my parents and their pooch finally found peace when they tried leaving the TV on. When my dad had left him alone with a show playing, he came home for lunch to a snoozing pooch!

It is worth a try if you have a restless Pit Bull when left alone. I have even seen calming music for dogs on YouTube that run for 6-10 hours at a time. The extra money towards electricity might just be worth it for a calm, comforted, and happy pup!

Closing Thoughts

Owning a Pit Bull comes with responsibilities to ensure your pup’s needs are met and he’s happy in life. With such an active, social, and devoted breed, it can feel troubling to leave your dog all by himself. And while some pitties might be just fine adjusting to being left home alone, others will react poorly and cause problems.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own a dog if you have to leave for something like a 9-5 job, however. Everyone has to go out of their home for one reason or another, but you can still come back to a smiling, tail-wiggling, joyous pooch! It’s possible so long as you consider your pup’s needs and make the process of leaving them alone at the pace that best fits your pup.

Try filling your Pit Bull’s day with various toys, treats, and comforting areas to offer him the best chance at success. See which options make your pittie feel the most comfortable and use those to your advantage to maximize your time away!

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