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How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone?

Yellow Labrador puppy sitting next to a sliding glass door

Adopting a puppy is always exciting, but it is a long-term commitment that can make several changes in your routine. Your entire life will have to be planned around your pup’s needs, at least for the first few months. Puppies crave companionship and will demand a lot of attention from their owners. Read on to know the time for which you can leave a puppy alone.

How Long Can You Leave a New Puppy Alone?

It is extremely difficult to give an exact answer to this question because it involves several different factors. For instance, the age and personality of your furball are very important to figure out a ‘safe’ answer. Likewise, the time your puppy can hold his/her urge to eliminate is also a crucial factor in this calculation. In this article, we have tried to find a reliable answer to this confusion by considering all the major factors.

How Long Can a Puppy Hold?

Brown and white puppy sitting on hard wood floors next to a puddle of pee.

According to Rover, puppies can hold their tiny bladders for about one hour per month of age. This means that a 4-month old pup will be able to hold it in for 4 hours. However, it is not a scientific rule because too many variables are involved. Therefore, it’s much better to make safer estimates, especially with young puppies, to avoid accidents. Keeping this in mind, the ‘safe’ duration for puppies of different ages is discussed below.

8-10 Weeks

The bladders of these pups are incredibly small and they have to pee at least once every hour. This means that you can’t leave them alone, even in a crate, because they can’t hold it in. This means that you should be in their company all the time and accidents can (and will) happen. Therefore, you will need to exhibit some patience with them as they are still learning.     

10-12 Weeks

Although your canine companion starts to become a little independent at this age, his/her bladder capacity is still increasing. This means that you can’t leave them alone for long spells and 2 hours should be the limit. Accidents are still very likely and some owners start using pee pads at this stage.  

3-6 Months

Once your puppy reaches the age of 3 months, his/her holding capacity will have improved a lot. However, you still can’t leave him/her alone for the entire (or even half) day. Generally, the ‘1 hour per month’ rule works well during this phase of a dog’s life.

6-12 Months

This is the time when you can start thinking about going to your full-time job. A 6-month old puppy is expected to hold his/her pee and feces for nearly 6 hours. This gives you the liberty to leave him/her alone for some time, but not for an entire day. Either ask someone (a professional or a friend) to visit your dog during the day or come home yourself during the lunch break.

After 12 Months

A one-year-old dog can be considered an adult, at least when we talk about staying alone at home. This means that we can leave these puppies alone for almost 8 hours. However, there is no point in doing that just because you can.

Dogs are social creatures and can develop behavioral problems if they are continuously staying alone for long spells. Therefore, it’s not recommended to regularly leave your pup alone for 8 hours. Instead, use this cushion only when it’s absolutely necessary.    

Age of Your PuppyTime He/She Can be Left Alone
8-10 weeksAbout 1 hour
10-12 weeks2 hours
3-6 months3-6 hours (an hour per month of age)
6-12 months6 hours
1 year or more8 hours

Tips for Leaving a Puppy Alone at Home

Small brown and white dog sitting on a tan hard wood floor looking up at camera

Even if your puppy is old enough, it’s not easy to leave him/her alone for the first time. There are several things that you need to consider to make sure that it’s a pleasant experience for both parties. The following are some tips that can help you leave a puppy alone at home.   

Create a Puppy-Safe Area

Your puppy needs to be in familiar and comfortable surroundings when he/she is alone. You should select any area of your house and turn it into a little ‘puppy zone’. First of all, you will puppy-proof your home because the curious nature of canines can lead to unexpected accidents. Make sure that there is nothing toxic or dangerous in your pup’s vicinity when you leave the house.

Once it is done, place all the belongings (toys, food bowls, etc.) of your dog in the selected area of the house. It will attract him/her towards that region. You can also put your pooch’s bed and crate in this area to make it even more inviting.

Ensure Easy Access to Food and Water

Beagle puppy with water bowl outside in grass

The availability of food and drinking water is another factor that must be addressed before leaving your puppy alone. The instincts of hunger and thirst can quickly change the behavior of a dog. Therefore, don’t take any chances and ensure a sufficient supply of food. 

Schedule a Rigorous Exercise Routine

It is much easier to leave a tired dog alone because he/she would fall asleep in your absence. You should use this thing to your advantage and walk a couple of extra blocks before leaving your pup alone. In this way, he/she won’t miss you much while you are away.   

Use Interactive Dog Toys to Provide Entertainment

Australian shepherd puppy chewing a rope toy

Most dogs have an active lifestyle and want some action all the time. Toys are an excellent alternative to keep them engaged in your absence. You can give some of his/her favorites toys to your pet and he/she won’t even notice that you are away. Additionally, you can also replace regular food bowls with food-dispensing toys to make things even more interesting.

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