Can I Leave My Chihuahua Alone at Home?
Once we talk about living a dog home alone, it is essential to understand the difference between the way you and your Chi dog see the world. Except for your home, you may have friends, a job, hobbies, and social life. For a dog, the whole world is concentrated within his pack – you and your family members.
Separation anxiety in Chihuahuas.
Very often, dog owners have to face a phenomenon called "Separation Anxiety". It is a severe widespread mental condition among pets who feel lonely and abandoned once left home alone. Separation anxiety may result in various misbehavior cases such as constant barking, destruction of furniture and other items in the house, or just a highly depressed state of mind that can lead to food rejection and other serious consequences.
This syndrome is as common among Chihuahuas as any other dog breeds. Moreover, thanks to their compact size, Chihuahuas are primarily an urban dog breed. They may be most vulnerable to separation anxiety. People who live in big cities often have to leave the house for work for several hours and have a more active outdoor social life.
But does it mean that once you got a Chihuahua, you will have to deprive yourself of the right to work full time or go out from time to time? Of course, no! But you will have to understand that it is essential to build proper relationships with your dog that will eliminate his feeling of abundance and boredom that lead to separation anxiety.
In this article, we shall explain how and for how long you can leave your Chihuahua home alone safely.
How do Chihuahuas feel being left alone?
The tricky thing about separation anxiety is that dogs don't have a sense of time. It means that they see no difference between several minutes and several hours. You might have noticed how your little pooch is equally happy to see you, whether you just went to check the mailbox or came back after a full day at work.
Therefore, there is no clear answer to how long your dog may stay alone safely. The only limitation is the "potty time" – the intervals between walks.
As long as separation anxiety is an entirely psychological matter, the safe home-alone period for your Chihuahua mostly depends on the house's atmosphere. Canine experts claim that once left in a chronic and safe territory; a Chihuahua may easily stay home alone for up to 10 hours.
Dogs are territorial animals. Their behavior and state of mind depend significantly on whether they are placed in their territory or taken to a stranger place. That is why many Chihuahua owners report that their pet might have been calm and relaxed at the last house and started to show alarming signs of separation anxiety once they moved to a new place.
Separation and health.
The way your Chihuahua takes separation also greatly depends on his health condition. Chihuahua is a breed that is highly dependent on humans. They see humans as providers of food, nourishment, and care.
Once your chi is familiar with a strong sense of hunger or physical pain, he will be more concerned about you leaving the house. A dog does not know for sure whether you will return at all, and once sick or in pain, it may start to panic after just several minutes of your absence.
Veterinarians say that Chihuahuas with hypoglycemia are most vulnerable to panic attacks and separation anxiety. This condition may cause a severe and painful sense of hunger several times per day, which can make separation seem like a fatal scenario for your dog.
The same is true for any health complications or injuries. Let's say once you Chi has never demonstrated any types of separation anxiety. Still, one day had to go through an operation or was injured. It is better to stay with him as much as possible during the whole healing period. Otherwise, the sense of fear and panic that appear when the dog is left alone in pain may affect his behavior even after full physical recovery.
How owners cause separation anxiety?
You might be surprised, but in about 70% of cases, the owner's behavior is the only reason for separation anxiety. A perfectly healthy Chihuahua may start to panic and feel depressed left in a safe and familiar house.
Dogs are extremely sensitive animals. Living side by side with humans for several thousand years, they have learned to read and reflect our emotions and state of mind. It is not a secret that not only dogs but also their owners feel separation anxiety once they have to leave a pet home alone for several hours. We often feel sorry for the dog, concerned about his mood, and worried about his safety. And we project those emotions on our pets unconsciously, making them feel that something is wrong and dangerous about the fact that we have to leave them home alone.
Therefore, separation anxiety is a matter that should be treated and eliminated mostly among dog owners, not the dogs.
Here are the main milestones that determine whether your Chihuahua will be safe and sound home alone or have to face another panic attack.
- The way you leave the house
- The available territory for the dog
- The way you come home
Let's take a close look at each step.
How you leave your Chihuahua home alone?
There are two things that you need to understand when you leave your Chihuahua home alone:
- He can sense your state of mind
- He does not understand the words you are saying but recognizes the energy.
Once you feel worried and nervous leaving the house, your chi will instantly decide that there is a particular danger in the situation.
Simultaneously, if you try to cheer your dog, boost his mood by petting, playing, or talking to him in a joyful lively tone, a dog enters a particularly active state of mind. Your Chihuahua wants to be your partner, play, and spend time with you in this condition. Leaving a dog alone in this state of mind is figuratively placing a timebomb in your living room. Those megatons of accumulated energy eventually have to go somewhere. And most probably, he will channel this energy on day-long barking or destruction.
Once leaving the house, it is essential to stay calm and relaxed. Through this behavior, you demonstrate to your Chihuahua that it is a common situation and there is nothing to be nervous about. And don't worry, don't get offended when you don't say goodbye; they simply don't care about human etiquette.
Where you leave your Chihuahua?
Dogs are territorial pack animals. It means that they sincerely appreciate and respect territorial limitations. Leaving your Chihuahua home alone, you tell him that for a certain period, he is the one responsible for the pack's territory.
That is why it is better not to overload such a miniature dog as Chihuahua with too much responsibility. Once a dog feels in total control of the available territory, he feels safer and more relaxed. It is better to restrict your chi's space when you leave him home alone for several hours.
Of course, the available space should be safe, have clear access to food and water. And don't forget about a comfortable resting place. Despite what they show us in cartoons, our pets sleep 90% of the time we are not home.
How you return home to your Chihuahua?
The way you enter a house after separation is not less important than the way you leave. Through leaving the ritual, you determine the way your Chihuahua will spend time home alone. Coming home, you set the behavior pattern for the future.
No matter how happy you feel coming home to your furry friend and how adorable your Chihuahua jumps on you, it is essential to maintain a calm and relaxed atmosphere. First of all, if you left calm and came home calm, your Chi will understand that it is a routine part of everyday life.
When you encourage and reward excitement, your dog may become sensitive and even neurotic towards any activity next to your door. Eventually, he will eagerly expect you to come home and get frustrated each time someone passes your apartment. This state of mind also leads to separation anxiety symptoms such as continuous barking, panic attacks, and frustration.
Getting a Chihuahua does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of career ambitions or social life from now on. However, it is essential to understand that you are fully responsible for your dog's life, physical and mental health. Therefore, there are three golden rules for leaving a Chihuahua home alone:
- Don't leave for a period of time longer than the customary intervals between walks
- Don't encourage and reward excitement before and after separation
- Make sure to arrange a safe and comfortable space for your home-alone Chihuahua.
Sticking to those simple rules will help you avoid and overcome separation anxiety and help your pet enjoy a happy and relaxed lifestyle without panic attacks or a sense of loneliness.