Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.
We have all been told when we were kids that dogs have a different sense of time from us.
I’m pretty sure that Uncle Fred told me one dog year is equivalent to 7 human years, but I never really gave much thought about it till now.
Curious to know more? Read on to find out!
- How to change human time to dog time?
- How long is one hour for a dog?
- How long is a day for a dog?
- How long is a week for a dog?
- How long is a month for a dog?
- How long is a year for a dog?
- How do dogs perceive time?
- Can dogs sense time?
- How long can a dog be alone?
- How much attention and time does a dog need?
- In conclusion: How long is a day for a dog?
How to change human time to dog time?
Almost every dog owner is aware of the conversion between a dog’s age in human years to dog years.
You take their age and multiply it by 7 to see the relative age to their lifespan, and we multiply the age by 7 because we are looking at average lifespans.
A human will live to about 70 years old and a dog will live to be about 10.
Since we have the ratio of 1 human year = 7 dog years, we can use this to help us calculate how a dog experiences time as well.
The ratio is 1:7, so we can say 1 minute = 7 minutes for a dog, 1 hour is 7 hours, and so on.
This is an approximation built on general assumptions. We don’t truly know how a dog experiences the world and how time passes for them.
It’s also important to remember that every dog is different so you should only use this ratio as a guide, not a rule.
How long is one hour for a dog?
If we base on our ratio, 1 hour for us would feel like 7 hours for your pooch.
Therefore, if we want to know how long just 1 hour is for your dog, we need to divide 60 minutes by 7. The result is 8.57.
That means in just under 9 minutes for a human, your dog is experiencing a whole hour!
Now think back to why your dog is always so excited to see you, even if you’ve only been gone a short time.
It feels like many hours for your dog!
I’m a firm believer in this 🙂
How long is a day for a dog?
Using our same 1:7 ratio, a day for a dog would be measured by dividing 24 hours by 7, which gives us 3.43 hours or 3 hours and 26 minutes.
Every three and a half hours, your dog experiences a full day.
No wonder a day where you’re away at work all day feels so long for your dog!
For them, you’ve been gone for days!!
How long is a week for a dog?
Our calculation also shows that one 24-hour day for us will be 7 days for a dog – a whole week!
If 1 day for us feels like 7 days for a dog, then 1 week for us will be 49 days for them! That’s around a month and a half.
Now I feel bad for taking those week-long vacations!
How long is a month for a dog?
A month is between 28 – 31 days, so let’s just say 30 days on average.
30 days multiplied by 7 and we get 210! 1 month for us feels like 210 days for your dog! That’s more than half a year!
Reverse that and a dog will experience a month passing every 4 – 5 human days.
How long is a year for a dog?
We already know this one!
1 human year is equivalent to 7 dog years, which is how we determined this 1:7 ratio in the first place.
Just remember, this ratio is obtained by comparing the average lifespan for a human of 70 years to a dog’s which is 10 years.
However, depending on the breed and overall health of your dog, 10 years can actually be too little.
Again, these calculations are all approximations.
How do dogs perceive time?
Dogs don’t need to worry about minutes or hours because a dog’s understanding of time is primarily based on its circadian rhythm.
Plants, animals, and even microbes follow a circadian rhythm, which is a natural process that responds to light and darkness and affects behavioral changes throughout the day, indicating when it’s best to be active or time to sleep.
That’s why a dog’s perception of time is completely surrounding their physical needs rather than knowing the difference between 30 minutes or 30 hours.
Can dogs sense time?
Dogs are intelligent creatures who are able to observe patterns, schedules, and the behavior of their humans to better understand the passage of time.
Since your dogs spend so much time with you, they are able to learn your schedule.
They understand when you wake up and go to work, they know the usual times for their bathroom breaks, and they know when it’s time to eat and play!
When you are gone, your dogs will just do whatever they want to do at the moment as they are not concerned with the passage of time.
However, just like with humans, it is reasonable to think that unenjoyable parts of a dog’s day will feel much longer than when they are having fun.
So, if they are sitting home alone waiting for you to return, you can assume that time feels long and drawn out to them.
This is why I always ensure there is some kind of activity to keep them engaged or entertained while I’m out, such as:
- Ensuring it has a window to look out
- Stuffing a hollow toy with treats
- Ample supply of toys
- A pet camera that dispenses treats!
- Live stream video to your phone with a 160-degree wide-angle view, day and night
- Designed with 2-way audio and a barking sensor
- Toss a treat to your dog using the free Furbo iOS/Android app
How long can a dog be alone?
With that in mind, you may be wondering how long you should leave your dog alone.
Time spent alone is relative to each individual dog and the environment that they are in.
Generally, they should be fine being alone for 6 – 8 hours.
If you will be away for that long, you need to make sure your dog is adequately fed and has access to water.
It is also important your dogs have access to an area where they can do their business.
Keep in mind that small dogs will need to go much more often than big dogs.
Again, you know your dog best and you probably have a rough idea of how often you can leave them without access to a toilet.
Finally, keeping your dogs entertained while you are not around is important to help them pass the time.
Interactive toys that involve them working to get treats inside are an excellent way to keep your dog amused.
Even just having a window where your dog can look outside would provide him with some entertainment.
How much attention and time does a dog need?
On average you should dedicate a good 1 – 2 hours each day to your dog, giving them love, attention, training, and exercise.
However, every dog is different and will require attention from you depending on their breed, personality, and background.
There are some high-energy breeds, like Border Collies, who would require much more time and attention compared to others.
Also, if you are bringing a puppy into your home, you will need to dedicate a lot more time to them.
Puppies need constant supervision as they are high energy, curious, explorative, and very playful.
They will chew and eat whatever they find and shouldn’t be left alone, especially for the first 2 – 3 months.
In all cases, dogs should have the proper training to stay home alone.
You should start slowly by leaving them alone for short periods of time, gradually increasing your time away.
This will make a big difference in how your dog copes with being alone.
In conclusion: How long is a day for a dog?
A dog’s day is only 3 hours 26 minutes in human time, so when we finish our day, our dogs have actually gone through an entire week!
But not to overthink these numbers though, as you as a dog owner just need to ensure adequate love and affection is given to your pooch and to ensure that it is well fed and hydrated when you are not around.
Having a friend or dog sitter to help with the duties when you are away for extended periods of time. is necessary, so please don’t plan your vacations without taking this into consideration!
You’ve made it to the end, but I hope it’s not the end of our journey. We want to hear your voice! Share your thoughts, problems, suggestions, or anything related to your dog in the comments section. And don’t forget to join our newsletter today too.