Skip to Content

Should You Leave Your Dog Alone at Home?

It is possible to leave your puppy or adult dog guilt-free at home. However, this is not the easiest decision.

Both pets and pet parents struggle with leaving the p[et at home unattended. The anxiety of not knowing how your fur baby is doing can be overwhelming.

Most people, on the other hand, get restless and may become destructive when left alone. Even so, leaving your dog safely home with the right preparation is possible.

First, you must appreciate that dogs view their owners as pack members. You automatically become the pack leader; watching you leave is difficult.

Many dogs struggle with being left alone and can suffer much anxiety. However, sometimes, a pet parent cannot spend all their time around their fur babies.

Below are a few tips that come in handy in such instances.

Understanding How Long You Can Be Away

Note that dogs can be left alone depending on their growth stage. The breed and emotional strength also matter.

Pet owners need to understand their dogs and treat them based on this.

Generally, try to minimize the time you are away from the dogs. Unless you have someone watching the dogs you leave behind, be sure to spend the least time outdoors.

No matter how adjusted your pup is, it will get distressed if you are away too long. Consider the dog’s age when leaving it alone.

Puppies can only stay alone for a maximum of two hours. They are not used to being alone and can easily develop separation anxiety.

What’s more, they are not used to being alone. They’ll therefore notice when they are suddenly on their own.

Adult dogs over 18 months can be left alone for 4 to 6 hours. These dogs can stay longer alone.

They are accustomed to being alone sometimes.

Usually, many develop the habit of sleeping when they are not around. This way, they are less likely to develop separation anxiety.

Elderly dogs can survive alone for two to six hours. The duration is dependent on whether or not the dog has health complications.

Elderly dogs with health issues should be monitored closely. You can, therefore, not afford to leave them alone unattended for hours.

Ultimately, the hours you spend away from your dog highly depend on their age. Puppies are not accustomed to being alone.

They need shorter bathroom breaks, so they must be watched closely.

What Factors Come to Play when Leaving your dog Alone?

Besides the age factor,  other considerations may help you choose to leave your dog for a few hours. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Coordination and health concerns – Never leave sick dogs alone for long
  • Separation anxiety – Dogs that have separation anxiety can destroy items. They can also cause self-harm when left alone for long
  • Training and Habits – Unless your dog is properly trained, don’t risk leaving them alone for long
  • Feeding routine – The dog may be aggressive if you  don’t feed them at the right time when away
  • Bladder control – Don’t leave your dog alone for long unless you know potty behavior. Only do this if you come back to a messy space
  • Emotional needs- Some dogs need to be around people for their well being
  • Socialization – It matters how well-socialized the dogs are
  • Do you have other animals in the house? Some dogs can stay as long as they are not alone.

Thinking about all the important stuff before leaving your dog alone is essential. Figure out how to cater to their potty needs.

Also, leave enough food to keep your dog full until you return. Some toys to keep the dog busty can also help prevent destruction.

What you Can Do Before Leaving your Dog At Home

While some breeds do well alone, you can do a few other things to aid the process of being left home alone. Check out the suggestions below.

Make Sure your Dog is Tired

This works especially if your dog is the energetic type. Go for your daily walk or exercise the dog before you leave.

The idea is to get the dog so exhausted that it will want to sleep when you are away. The fact that the dog will be too spent allows you enough time to leave the house and return before the dog recovers.

Restrict their Space

Allowing the dog to reign freely when you are away is a big mistake. You never know when they’ll feel anxious and release the tension on your upholstery.

This applies more at the beginning of leaving them alone. Find a spot that is safe and comfortable for you and the dog. 

You can use playpens and crates to ensure the dogs don’t exceed those points. Boredom can easily affect the dog’s behavior. 

Only when the dog is comfortable with being left home alone should you allow them to roam freely. This will give you peace of mind as the dog will not destroy stuff.

The good news is that you can always monitor your dog’s progress when away. Use a GPS tracking device to notice the dog’s movements.

Training Works

Dogs are habit-forming creatures that learn and adapt quickly. Please take advantage of this and train them to stay alone.

Start slowly by practicing leave and return for a few minutes. You should gradually prolong the duration each time and observe how they behave.

After some time, the dogs will associate you with positivity. They’ll not get anxious when you leave, especially if they get treats when you return.

No matter what you do, prioritize the dog’s comfort.

People Also Ask

How long can you leave a dog alone in the house?

Depending on how old they are, dogs can be left alone in the house for a few hours. The younger the dog or puppy is, the less time it should stay alone.

This is because the bathroom breaks and separation anxiety.

Is it cruel to leave a dog alone all day?

It is not cruel as long as you prepare well. Make sure it has enough water and food and can access the bathroom

Is leaving my dog at home while I work OK?

Yes, you can. Just be sure to limit the maximum time the dog stays unattended.

Leaving the puppy alone at home