Puppies are adorable, and there is nothing better than getting a new best friend! Especially when they are young, fluffy, and of course, cute! But there’s one often overlooked problem with getting a puppy: knowing how long you can leave them alone. Read on to learn the answer to how long can a puppy be left alone.
How long a puppy can be left at home alone generally depends on how old it is and where you plan to leave your puppy while you are away. The older the puppy gets, the longer you will be able to be away from home.
Not quite ready to leave the newest member of your home alone just yet? Don’t panic. Keep reading to learn at what age you can leave a puppy alone and what you can do to make your puppy feel safe and comfortable while you are away.
So, How Long Can a Puppy Be Left Alone?
As a puppy ages and matures, they will be able to be alone for longer periods of time. But in the beginning, you will not be able to leave your puppy for very long at all. Take a look at the following chart as recommended by the American Kennel Club.
Your Puppy's Max Alone Time
|Puppy Age||Max Amount of Time Alone|
|Under 10 Weeks||1 Hour|
|10-12 Weeks||2 Hours|
|3 Months||3 Hours|
|4 Months||4 Hours|
|5 Months||5 Hours|
|6 Months||6 Hours|
|6 Months and Up||6-8 Hours|
As you can see, as the puppy gets older, you can slowly leave them for more and more time on their own. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can give your puppy the full reign of the house! Puppies are often in the midst of house training, and they also like to chew. This means when you do leave your puppy alone, even if it is for a short time, you need to leave the pup somewhere safe and comfortable, such as a nice, cozy crate.
How To Help Your Puppy Feel Safe and Calm While You Are Away
This brings us to the next topic. Where should you be leaving your puppy while you are away? And how do you make them feel safe when you do so?
Invest in a Kennel
Many people feel bad about kenneling dogs. But what they don’t know (with the exception of a few breeds) kennels, when used properly, actually make a dog feel safe. This is because dogs are pack creatures, and their kennel, if used properly, will remind them of their den.
It’s important to get a kennel that is the right size for your dog. They should have room to stand and turn around comfortably. You should start putting your puppy in its kennel from the time it is very young, and don’t ever use it as a punishment. Rather, treat it as a safe space your puppy can go whenever it wants to rest.
You can also put some of your clothing in the kennel to make your puppy more comfortable. Some dogs also enjoy it if you cover the kennel to make it dark. This can help calm them.
Keep Dangerous Things Out of their Reach
Regardless of if you decide to invest in a kennel or not, you do need to puppy-proof your home before you leave your puppy alone.
This means going through your home and picking up anything that you don’t want your puppy to chew on. Although it might look cute when a puppy chews on your old shoe or a sock, these items can contain dangerous materials that can harm your dog. Your dog can also choke on small items like kid toys, jewelry, and kitchen utensils.
Create a Smaller Space
It might be a bit difficult to keep everything out of your puppy’s reach, which is why a kennel is recommended. But for those who don’t have the space, you will want to consider leaving your puppy in a smaller, safe space for them. This could be a bathroom, laundry room, or using a gate to block off part of the living room.
Just ensure whatever area you block off for your puppy is safe from all of the dangerous items listed above.
Leave Comfort Items
It might look a little sad to leave your dog in a barren area of the living room while you are gone. This is why you should leave some items to comfort your puppy while you are away.
Start by leaving them some of their favorite toys that they can’t break apart or that don’t have small pieces for them to choke on. You can leave a shirt or piece of your clothing for the puppy to snuggle with. Just be sure they won’t be able to choke on any part of it (i.e., buttons). You should also leave them a bowl of water in case they get thirsty.
Depending on how long you will be gone, you should also leave them with a bed or pillow to the law on. If your puppy is an aggressive chewer, you may want to use towels or something instead—as a bed has lots of fluffy bedding that a puppy could eat and cause a blockage in their digestive system.
What To Do If You Need to Leave for a Long Time
Maybe something has come up, and you have to leave your 3-month-old puppy for longer than 3 hours. This is understandable. When this is the case, you should have someone check in on your puppy while you are gone.
Consider asking a neighbor to stop in and check to see that the puppy hasn’t gotten into anything they shouldn’t have. If you your neighbor isn’t available, there are many dogs walking apps these days that will allow you to book someone to come over and check on your puppy.
When you are planning to leave for a longer period of time, it is always best to leave your dog in a kennel where there are fewer variables for them to destroy.
How Long Can A Puppy Be Left Alone? Our Final Thoughts
Chances are, the puppy you get will be so cute that you won’t want to leave it alone for long! But when you have to leave home, it is best to follow the rule that puppies can be left alone for one hour for every month they have in age.
Before you go, be sure your puppy is set up for success in your absence by ensuring it has a safe place to hang out, water, and some comfort items to keep them busy. This way, your puppy will feel safe and comfortable and stay out of trouble while you are away!