When owning any dog, it is important to know if you can leave them alone at home. Some breeds do not do well at all, whereas others are less prone to suffering from anxiety and other destructive behaviors while their owners are away. But what about greyhounds? How does this breed fare when left and are they more susceptible to getting lonely?
So, can greyhounds be left alone? Greyhounds can be left alone, although it is recommended that your time away does not exceed 6-8 hours at any one time. Anything beyond this can lead to boredom, loneliness and anxiety. Destructive behaviors are likely to follow including excessive barking, chewing and digging while the dog is also more likely to urinate within their living quarters.
The greyhound is generally a breed that can suffer from loneliness, so it is important not to leave them too long.
It’s also important to help them to become more independent and to keep them busy and mentally stimulated while you are away.
It can be hard adjusting to a new dog.
Greyhounds are no different. Especially when their energy levels can vary quite dramatically; either by chasing animals in full-out sprints (due to their high prey drive) or lazing around and seeking more sleep!
It is fair to say the greyhounds is docile and quiet in nature, but this does not mean that they should be left alone by themselves!
Let us now take a closer look into the greyhound breed, their temperament and what you must consider if you do need to leave your home.
How Long Can A Greyhound Be Left Alone At Home?
It is generally advised and recommended to never leave a greyhound for more than 8 hours at any one time. Having said this, the least amount of time that you can be away, the better.
Despite their history and reputation of being a racing dog, the greyhound is in fact a dog that thrives on love, care, attention and the company of their owners.
The greyhound as a breed is sensitive to being left on their own; becoming lonely quicker than in other breeds of dog.
From a temperament perspective, they are great around most people, especially those that they know. They have been described as being loyal, affectionate and non-aggressive and this ties into their social nature.
Of course, all dogs have their own unique personalities. While it is true that different dogs react differently to being alone, it is true that the greyhound breed gravitates towards separation anxiety (which we will look at within the following section).
So, while one greyhound could be perfectly okay being alone for 10 hours, another could really struggle at around the 5 hour mark.
You also will need to think about the duration of the time you spend away. Will you be away for an extended period or can time away be broken up through a visitor.
So, could 10 hours away be broken up by a visitor three times, every three hours. In other words, your dog is not alone for 10 hours straight. Whether this is yourself, a family member, trusted friend, or familiar neighbor.
There are other factors aside from personality to be aware of that will impact your dogs ability to be alone. The main ones include:
- How they are raised – greyhounds raised in pairs or previously racing dogs may struggle to be alone more than those raised from puppyhood.
- Age – It is acknowledged that older greyhounds are generally more relaxed, trained and able to be left alone for longer
- Health Status – if your dog is unwell or injured, then it naturally follows that they need a higher level of care. Often, they do not do so well on their own for as long.
- Home Environment and Setup – how comfortable a greyhound is can play a large part in how able they are to remain alone. Keeping them in an optimal, comfortable environment with plenty of toys can do wonders to keep them occupied and less likely to suffer while their owners are away.
Ultimately, the greyhound dog breed on average does best with company.
So, if there is any reason why you would need to routinely need to leave them alone, whether it is work, an activity or a trip, you may want to consider some of the potential strategies and solutions we will discuss shortly below.
Do Greyhounds Have Separation Anxiety?
Greyhounds are prone to separation anxiety. This is essentially where a dog is distressed when they are alone and away from their owners.
Thankfully, with specific training and management it can be treated. But, it is important to consider nonetheless.
Greyhounds can easily become bored, frustrated or even scared; all of which can lead to feelings of anxiety.
Anxious behavior can be observed in this breed through the following:
- Destructive chewing,
- Shredding of furniture, toys, objects,
- Excessive barking, howling or whining,
- Urinating or defecating inside,
Most of these will occur while you are away, but they may also occur as you are about to leave. These are all usually a good indicator that your greyhound has been, or is likely to become distressed, while you are away.
How Do You Stop Greyhound Separation Anxiety?
Dealing with separation anxiety first begins with detection, ruling out and ensuring that they are not suffering from any health complication that can lead to those behaviors referenced above.
You should also consider a multi-faceted approach; trying to prevent separation anxiety to begin with before moving onto strategies to stop it from becoming worse. It will likely require persistence, patience and testing.
First and foremost, you should look to increase your dogs independence. You need to help them feel confident when they are not by your side and do all you can to reduce attention seeking behaviors.
To do this, you should look to ignore attention seeking behavior. Only give your dog attention when they are calm and quiet.
Another effective strategy is to teach your dog to lay down away from you; this could be on a mat in a separate room.
These use of baby gates has been reported to be useful here. Crates can be effective, but only if sufficiently large and only when your dog has been trained to be comfortable in them.
Dogs have an innate ability to recognize when their owners are leaving the house. They soon become familiar with certain behaviors and sounds, such as picking up bags and the clinking of keys. These are known as departure cues.
It is also important that when you do look to leave the house, you do so quietly. Try not to develop any patterns or cues that could make your dog become aware that you are going away.
Equally, when coming home, try not to make a big fuss of your dog or spend a lot of time with them right away.
Essentially, you do not want your greyhound to notice a dramatic change in environment or presence from when you are in or outside of your home.
So try not to pet, make eye contact or talk to your dog with (such as with a hello or goodbye) for at least 20 minutes before leaving/after returning home. You need to keep departures and arrivals calm so your dog does not recognize they are being left alone.
With departure cues, its all about desensitizing your dog to them. Better yet, try to make positive associations with them e.g. the clinking of keys could also mean a walk.
You will also need to make sure you routinely leave the house each day, and soon return, so your greyhound recognizes that you are never away for too long.
In the next section, we will take a look at some other practical things you can do if you need to leave your home.
What To Do If You Need To Leave Your Home
There are times when you need to leave your home. You cannot stay with your greyhound all day, and you may have a job that does require you to be away for some time each day.
Thankfully, there are some practical things you can do to ease your greyhound and make them more comfortable in their own company.
To begin with, it is advised you leave them indoors. Because of their thin coats, greyhounds can get cold quickly and easily, and struggle to warm back up. This is especially true if you live in a particularly cold climate, or in one that has a high propensity for rain.
Here are some other recommended suggestions:
Provide Plenty of Mentally Stimulating Toys
Greyhounds are an intelligent breed of dog and therefore need to be sufficiently mentally stimulated. Otherwise they can soon become bored and look for ways to distract or entertain themselves.
By leaving them with a variety of engaging toys, you will give them an avenue to expend their energy and keep them entertained.
This Kong toy from Amazon is one of the best you can buy. Its fully chew-resistant so will satisfy this urge while equally having a treat dispensed if your dog works out how to get it!
Create A Comfortable Space
It is a good idea to create a place in your home that your greyhound can retreat to. On a similar token, this is a great place for them to spend time while you are away from the home.
Make sure it is comfortable, quiet and spacious. Do all you can to ensure your dog can meet all of their needs while equally being able to sleep.
So this will mean they have access to their bed, along with a range of toys discussed above.
If you want to keep your greyhound in a crate, ensure it is sufficiently large enough and has enough blankets and padding for comfort.
You’ll also want to ensure they have access to food, water and perhaps some treats while you are away to satisfy their hydration and meet any hunger. Too much water and food can cause an increased need to urinate/defecate to be careful not to overdo it.
Equally, ensure the temperature is optimal for your dog. It should not be too hot or too cold. Either way, this will cause distress. Around 65-70°Fahrenheit is a good temperature to aim for.
It’s also a good idea to ensure there are no drafts and that you leave no open windows. These can cause a sudden drop or increase in temperature that can cause discomfort.
Consider A Dog Walker
Greyhounds have a reputation for requiring a lot of exercise. However, this is not actually the case. Many greyhound owners report that their dog instead has a preference and deep desire to sleep.
Nonetheless, walking is still essential to their health. Both from a physical and mental perspective. For the latter, it offers a good opportunity to break up their day. For the former, it can help them to become tired and be more willing to sleep while you are away.
It is best to get a dog walker to come during the middle of the period of the time that you are away. This will also give your dog an opportunity to go to the toilet and not have to hold it for too long.
Ask A Friend/Neighbor or Family Member To Visit
Along the same lines, another great option is to ask a trusted friend, neighbor or family member to pop by routinely throughout the day. This is best when that individual is known by your greyhound.
This will give your dog the opportunity to socialize and to be given an opportunity to go outside and get some fresh air.
Greyhounds can be left alone, but prefer that you are close by and giving them all of the attention you can afford.
This is a breed of dog that traditionally, does not do well when left for too long. Generally, 6-8 hours is considered to be the upper limits of time before destructive behaviors and negative consequences begin to set in.
While separation anxiety is more common in this breed, thankfully there are some practical things that you can do to prevent or reduce it over time.
Of course, every dog is different with their own unique personality, but for the most part, there are strategies to try irregardless of the age of your greyhound.
We all need to leave the home from time to time. We all have jobs that we must do to put the food on the table.
However, there is a way about leaving and preparing your greyhound which can make all the difference.
Related greyhound guides you may want to check out:
- Are Greyhounds Good With Kids? [Is This Breed Safe With Children?]
- Why Does My Greyhound Stare At Me? [Is It Normal Behavior?]
- Can Greyhounds Swim? [Are They Naturally Good Swimmers?]
- How Big Do Greyhounds Get? [Average Height, Weight and Size]
- Do Greyhounds Shed? [The Owners Guide to Greyhound Shedding]
- Are Greyhounds Hypoallergenic? [Does This Breed Shed Often?]
- Best Treats For Greyhounds [Top Picks & Feeding Guide]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.