Over the past few years, many pet owners have spent unexpected amounts of time at home. As work-life returns to normal, however, so too does the reality that many dogs must spend at least part of their day home alone. Some breeds tolerate being left alone in the house better than others, but the happy-go-lucky Beagle isn’t one of them, although many learn to tolerate it with training and preparation on their owner’s part.
In this article, we’ll talk about how long your Beagle can be left alone in the house, as well as tips for keeping them safe and entertained on their own. We’ll also tell you what to do if your Beagle suffers separation anxiety from being left alone too often.
How Long Can Beagles Stay Home Alone?
The younger your Beagle, the shorter the time they can stay home alone. Beagles younger than 6 months should not be left alone for more than 2–3 hours, especially when they are still house training. It takes time for a puppy to develop bladder control and plenty of human contact is essential to help socialize a young Beagle.
After your Beagle is older than 6 months and has a good grasp of house training, you can gradually extend the time they’re home alone. Most adult dogs can handle being alone for 4–6 hours at least. Some tolerate more extended periods, closer to 8–9 hours. This is a long time however and ideally would not be a regular occurrence.
Your Beagle’s distinct personality will impact how long they are okay being left alone. In addition, Beagles present some unique challenges when it comes to keeping them safe when home by themselves.
Keeping a Beagle Safe When Left Alone
A quick Internet search will bring up dozens of videos of Beagles behaving badly when left home alone. The small hounds are among the most food-motivated animals you’ll ever meet, and their pursuit of snacks can get them into trouble. So how do you keep your Beagle and your kitchen cabinets safe?
Use a Crate
Crate training your Beagle isn’t just useful for toilet training. Confining the Beagle to a crate while they are home alone is one of the surest ways to keep them safe. However, try not to leave your Beagle crated for more than 6 hours without a break.
Choose an appropriate-size crate for your dog, allowing them enough space to comfortably lie down, sit, stand, and turn around. Early introductions to the crate are generally the easiest, as puppies accept new experiences more readily than adult dogs.
Make the crate a comfortable place for your Beagle, providing a bed, treats, water, and toys to keep them occupied while you’re gone. Never use the crate to punish your Beagle. You want them to view it as a den or safe space so they’ll stay relaxed while home alone.
Use a Small Room
If you want your Beagle to have more space than a crate but don’t feel comfortable giving them access to the whole house, try confining them to a single room. A bathroom or mud- room are good options, as these are generally small and have easy-to-clean floors.
Make sure your Beagle has all the same comforts as you’d leave in a crate, like a bed, toys, and water, and get them used to staying in the room gradually, as you would when crate training.
If you’re leaving your Beagle in a room rather than a crate, you’ll need some extra time to dog-proof the space. Make sure any potentially toxic substances like medications and cleaners are safely locked away or stored in another room. Beagles are notorious trash-snoopers, so keep all wastebaskets elsewhere.
Keep electrical cords unplugged or out of reach, and remove anything your Beagle might chew, like shoes or dirty laundry.
Dog-Proof the House
If you feel comfortable giving your Beagle free access to your house, take the time to dog-proof as much as possible. Consider using baby gates to block access to certain areas, such as the kitchen. Ensure all trash cans are out of reach, and avoid leaving food on the table or counters.
If your Beagle is a chewer and your kids leave toys everywhere, keep their bedroom doors shut. Give your Beagle plenty of safe chew objects, and keep all medications, human or pet, locked away out of reach. You may need child locks on cabinets and plastic inserts to cover the electrical outlets.
Dealing With Separation Anxiety
Since they’re bred to work as part of a hunting pack, Beagles are a social breed that doesn’t always tolerate being left alone. Beagles who develop separation anxiety may become destructive, vocalize non-stop, or pee and poop in the house. These habits can be stressful for your dog, costly for you and annoying for your neighbors.
Here are some tips to help you deal with separation anxiety in your Beagle.
Give Them a Safe Space
We already talked about how using a crate can keep your Beagle safe at home, but it’s also a good solution to separation anxiety. When used properly, a crate should function as your Beagles den: a place they feel comfortable and safe. Having that space can reduce feelings of anxiety in your dog, as well as limit their ability to be destructive.
Keep Them Entertained
Keep an anxious Beagle distracted by providing plenty of entertainment while they are home alone. Provide a variety of toys, including chew objects and interactive playthings for your dog. Rotate the toys frequently, so your dog doesn’t get bored with them. Offer mental enrichment such as puzzle toys and feeders.
Reduce Feelings of Loneliness
Help your Beagle feel less alone by leaving a TV or radio on at low volume. Try an interactive pet cam that allows you to talk to your dog remotely and feed them treats. Living with another dog may also help your Beagle feel less alone.
If you live close to home, try to pop in during your lunch break to spend time with your Beagle. Another option is to ask a neighbor or friend to visit your dog during the day. Professional pet sitters and dog walkers are available in nearly every part of the country these days, so consider hiring one to stop by and play with your pup.
Talk to an Expert
If you’re struggling to deal with your Beagle’s separation anxiety, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Many canines benefit from anxiety medications, and your vet can help you decide if your Beagle is one of them. The vet can also offer advice on behavioral modification and training or refer you to a dog behavior expert if necessary.
Bringing a new dog home is an exciting time, but it’s vital to make sure your pet is a good match for your personality and lifestyle. Beagles are not the best choice for busy households where humans are rarely home. If that sounds like your house, the Beagle may not be the breed for you. If you have your heart set on one of these sweet hounds, be open to doing what you have to keep them safe and happy when home alone or enroll them in a doggy daycare.