French Bulldog owners can agree on one thing: this breed is the epitome of separation anxiety. While all dogs may experience anxiety from time to time, Frenchies suffer the most. With that, the question is this: how long can you leave a French Bulldog alone?
The answer to this is tricky as each Frenchie is different. But in general, it’s not a good idea to lock up this dog alone for long hours. If you do so, the pooch may develop negative behavior like incessant barking, destructive chewing, and accidents all over the house.
Whether you’re planning to get this breed or already have one, the points below will help in managing a Frenchie’s separation anxiety. It will also help you come up with a schedule that will suit your pet.
How long can you leave a French Bulldog alone?
There’s no specific formula as to how long you can leave your Frenchie alone at home. Each dog is different and French Bulldogs react differently to being alone.
Still, there are a few aspects to consider here to know whether your Frenchie can be left on its own devices. The following are some points to keep in mind.
🐶Puppies shouldn’t be left alone for long.
French Bulldog puppies should never be left all day on their own. This is because the pup needs to eat and eliminate multiple times a day. Without anyone to do this for them, the puppy may suffer from health problems in the long run.
The general rule is that you can only leave a puppy for one hour for each month of its life. So if you have a three-month-old Frenchie, you can only leave it alone for a maximum of three hours or less.
By the time your Frenchie reaches six months old, the maximum alone time plateaus at 6 hours. This will be the same for the rest of its adult life.
Take note that leaving a puppy for very long periods can cause behavioral problems that are hard to fix. The first months of a pup’s life are crucial for its development. If they are always alone and anxious, you’re going to have a cranky and poorly-behaved pet.
🐶French Bulldogs can have separation anxiety.
Frenchies are notorious for separation anxiety. This is a common problem among dogs, with over a third of the canine population reportedly suffering from some form of anxiety.
If your Frenchie is crying the moment you reach the door, it’s likely dealing with separation anxiety issues. The crying and begging would become worse once you leave the house.
🐶French Bulldogs are meant to be companion dogs.
If you’re working extra hours and always away from home, a French Bulldog may not be the best breed for you. Your lifestyle suits a more independent breed like Chow-Chows, Akitas, Greyhounds, or Cairn Terriers.
Unlike other Bulldog breeds, Frenchies are mainly produced to become companions of lace workers. It’s a deeply rooted nature in this breed.
If you’re planning to get a French Bulldog, make sure that you’re ready to keep them company. If not, I suggest you consider other breeds instead.
Potential problems when you leave French Bulldogs alone
Leaving a French Bulldog alone for extended periods can lead to a slew of problems. Here are some that owners should be aware of:
French Bulldogs that are left alone while suffering from separation anxiety will often try to escape their homes. This is an effort to follow their owners and soothe the anxiety they are dealing with.
If your home isn’t secured, your Frenchie may wander off and get lost in the neighborhood. This is dangerous as the canine may get hit by speeding cars or stolen by shady individuals.
Aside from that, escape attempts will injure your Frenchie in the process. Some will bang their heads in crate doors or cut their mouths from chewing the door material off.
🐶Accidents despite being housebroken
Another common problem when leaving French Bulldogs alone is defecating and urinating around the house. This can happen no matter how trained your dog is.
Anxiety is an extremely distressing feeling for your dog. This will lead to loose bowel movements and urinating all over your house. If this happens every time you’re away, you badly need to address your Frenchie’s separation anxiety.
🐶Digging and destructive chewing
Digging is another habit that anxious dogs do. They dig obsessively to vent out their anxiety and to escape the yard.
Aside from that, French Bulldogs that are left alone for long will start to chew and destroy items inside the house. Like digging, it’s a Frenchie’s way of coping with its anxiety.
An anxious Frenchie can shred just about anything that comes its way – curtains, couches, footwear, toys, and even drywall. This is dangerous because your Frenchie can get injured and it could ingest the foreign items, which could block its digestive tract.
Lastly, French Bulldogs often have to deal with excessive barking and howling. This is a big problem since many Frenchie owners live in apartment buildings.
If your neighbors are complaining about your dog’s loud and incessant vocalization, it’s a sign that your pooch is dealing with anxiety. This can happen whether you have a small pup or an adult, fully-trained Frenchie.
How to get your Frenchie to being left alone
If you don’t have a choice but leave your Frenchie alone, the following solutions will help prevent anxiety from causing problems at home:
1. Come up with a calm routine
It’s important that you get your French Bulldog used to a calming routine. Keep the environment quiet and predictable to prevent excessive stress on the part of your pet.
Aside from that, you should take your Frenchie on short walks to drain its excess energy. So while you’re away, your dog will be relaxed and more likely asleep the entire time.
2. Desensitize your Frenchie
Next, it’s important to desensitize your French Bulldog to your absence. Here are quick points that you can use:
- Start by simulating your routines when leaving home. It could be putting shoes on, picking up your keys, or putting a jacket on.
- After that, exit the door without saying goodbye to your dog. Close the door after this.
- Don’t come back inside for 10 seconds and see how your Frenchie will react.
- After 10 seconds, open the door and go back inside.
- Repeat this multiple times and slowly increase the duration that you’re outside
This process will teach your French Bulldog that you’re going to come back no matter what. Also, it will help your dog realize that you won’t come back home just because he’s behaving poorly.
3. Stop giving goodbye kisses
One thing may Frenchie owners don’t realize is that they are part of the anxiety problem. This happens because you keep making a big deal about leaving your home. In the process, you’re inadvertently rewarding your Frenchie’s anxiety by giving goodbye kisses and cuddles.
Instead of doing this, just leave the door without saying a word. While this isn’t the only solution for the problem, it will help reduce the likelihood of anxiety attacks.
Aside from that, you should consider shaking things up when it comes to your routines. Canines are perceptive and they will soon pick up the order of your routines before leaving.
If you tend to put on your jacket before exiting the door, consider wearing it a few minutes earlier than usual.
4. Practice crate training
Another effective way to help your French Bulldog stay calm while alone is crate training. Contrary to beliefs that crating punishes the dog, this method is actually a proven solution for anxiety. Even vets and trainers back this solution.
The crate mimics the natural denning instincts of canines. It gives them a calming and safe feeling since the confined spaces of the crate keep them guarded against predators.
With this, you can place your Frenchie inside the crate after a short walk. The doggo will feel relaxed inside while you slip out of the door unnoticed.
However, crate training must be done slowly and properly. This is so your French Bulldog won’t end up hating the experience.
Still, your Frenchie should be let out after six hours. You can ask a friend or neighbor to do this for you if you’re not making it home in time.
5. Provide interactive toys
Offering an alternative behavior is also a great way to dampen your Frenchie’s anxiety when it’s left alone. You can use treat-dispensing toys, sniff mats, ball launchers, and lasers to keep your Frenchie’s mind off its anxiety.
Interactive toys are great distractions, but make sure that it’s safe for your French Bulldog. You should avoid toys with small parts that could come off and cause choking.
6. Consider hiring pet sitters or walkers
In case your French Bulldog has a bad case of anxiety, you can hire pet sitters to keep the canine accompanied. Pet sitters are paid by the hour and the duration of their service varies, depending on the agreed setup.
Meanwhile, you can also ask the pet sitter to simply visit your dog several times a day. This way, your Frenchie won’t have to wait long hours for you.
Aside from that, you can hire dog walkers to take your pet around the neighborhood. This is a good way to drain your Frenchie’s energy, so it won’t resort to destructive behavior.
7. Consider enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare
Another option you have is enrolling your Frenchie in a doggy daycare. Like a daycare for kids, these facilities will keep your pet entertained and cared for while you’re at work. This way, the pooch won’t have to be left alone in your house.
The good thing with doggy daycare is it also promotes socialization for your pet. However, it comes at a certain fee, which depends on your location and the daycare you’re planning to avail of.
8. Use calming aids
Lastly, you should consider using calming aids to help keep your French Bulldog relaxed while it’s alone in your home. Some use pheromone diffusers that mimic the scent mother dogs give off.
You can also consult your Frenchie’s vet for the potential use of mild sedatives. This is often a good solution for French Bulldogs with a worse case of separation anxiety. Just note that the sedative should be prescribed by the vet and taken within the recommended dosage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do Frenchies bark when left alone?
A: French Bulldogs are notorious for their vocalization when left alone for long periods. They will bark, howl, and whine once they are left on their own. This will put owners in trouble, especially if they live in apartment buildings. Also, excessive barking is stressful for the canines and will likely be accompanied by other negative behavior.
Q: Can you leave a French Bulldog in a crate?
A: Crating is an effective way to curb your French Bulldog’s separation anxiety. However, you should never lock up your Frenchie inside a crate for very long hours. For adult Frenchies, 6 hours should be the maximum period inside the crate. Meanwhile, puppies need to be let out every two hours to eliminate. If you keep your Frenchie inside a crate for long periods, the supposed relaxing den will become a source of punishment.
Q: Do all French Bulldogs have separation anxiety?
A: All French Bulldogs have a high predisposition to develop separation anxiety. This is due to the nature of their breed. Unlike other dogs, Frenchies are bred for companionship, so they will likely develop behavioral problems if deprived of a companion. Aside from that, Frenchies are naturally clingy and they always crave their owners’ attention.
Q: Can Frenchies be left outside?
A: It’s not wise to leave your French Bulldog outside. This breed is prone to overheating, especially during the summer season. Also, they are hot items in the eyes of thieves. To be safe, it’s best to keep your Frenchie indoors with a companion.
Q: Can you treat a French Bulldog’s separation anxiety?
A: There’s no such thing as a cure for separation anxiety in dogs. It can only be dampened through proper training and desensitization. You’ll have better results if you train your Frenchie as early as possible. Despite that, you should still keep your Frenchie accompanied as much as possible.
How long can you leave a French Bulldog alone? Generally, you should only leave your dog unattended for a maximum of six hours. This way, the Frenchie won’t develop behavioral problems and have accidents all over your house.
When in doubt, you can always seek the advice of your dog’s veterinarian or a professional pet trainer.