A dog looking out the window while standing on its hind legs.

How Long Can A Dog Be Left Alone?

Leaving your dog home alone is not easy. But, unfortunately, you can’t always hang out with your furry companions. You have to go out for work, which means leaving your dog at home. Your poor pet waits for you all day. As a responsible dog owner, you may wonder how long dogs can be left alone.

Generally, 4-6 hours are recommended by experts for an adult dog.  However, this number can vary depending on different factors, such as your dog’s age, health, behavior, and temperament. Also, puppies and senior dogs cannot be left alone for too long as they need extra care and attention.

How Long Can You Leave Your Adult Dog Alone?

If your dog is over two years old, it’s no longer a puppy. You can leave an adult dog alone for a longer duration than you would a pup. It can hold its pee and poop for longer periods of time.

As a veterinarian, I generally recommend only leaving an adult dog alone for 4-6 hours. Although, if you need to go on a trip or have unavoidable work obligations, you can leave it alone for 7-8 hours.

How Long Can You Leave Your Puppy Alone?

As a vet, I advise not leaving puppies alone for more than 2-3 hours. They can easily stress and also have poor control over their bladder.

As a general rule, a puppy can hold its pee and poop for 1 hour per month of its age. For example, if your puppy is three months old, it can only hold its pee and poop for 3 hours. 

If you work 9 to 5 and don’t have someone at home to care for a new puppy, consider getting an older dog instead.

How Long Is Too Long To Leave Your Dog Alone At Home?

Just because dogs can be left alone for hours at a time doesn’t mean they’d prefer it. Dogs are companion animals and deserve to be treated like such – they shouldn’t have to spend long hours at home alone.

Some people may leave their dogs home alone for up to 8-9 hours in order to accommodate a busy schedule. But experts suggest this should be the absolute maximum time. Any longer than this is cruel and inhumane treatment of your canine companion.

What Can Happen When You Leave Your Dog Alone At Home?

A dog laying its head over the side of an arm cushion.
Poor dog.

When you leave your dog alone at home, there are a number of potential dangers and issues that may arise. While some dogs cope just fine when left alone for short periods of time, others can become anxious or destructive out of boredom and loneliness. 

Here are some of the most common problems that can occur when leaving a dog home alone.


When you leave your dog alone for long hours, you have to provide it with a couple of meals together. As a result, it could eat all meals at the same time.

As a result of that, overeating can lead to multiple problems like:

  • Increased weight
  • Diabetes 
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Bloating

Chewing On Furniture And Clothes

Leaving your dog alone at home without a crate can create a serious mess.

It can chew your favorite shoes or can scratch the furniture. Dogs love jumping, which means your favorite couch is also in danger.

Howling And Barking

When your dog realizes it’s alone at home, it will start howling. Dogs howl or bark to get attention, make contact with others, and announce their presence.


Biting is one of those things that is inherently a part of dogs. If a dog is giving you a love bite, it can be a fun part of your bond together.

In some cases, this biting habit can create inconvenience, though. Your dog can bite your clothes, shoes, sofas, and other things as well.

Running Away

Dogs need love, attention, toys, games, and other things to do. If these things aren’t in the house, the lack of stimulation will bore and frustrate them, and they’ll run away and look elsewhere for what they need.

A strong dog can run 5 miles away from home while a weaker one can run half of it.

Things To Consider When Leaving Your Dog Alone At Home 

Consider everything you know about your dog when deciding how long you can leave your dog alone at home. These things include:

  • Age: It always depends upon your dog’s age.
  • Health conditions: Only leave healthy dogs alone.
  • Emotional needs: Don’t ignore its emotional needs. After all, it’s a living being.
  • Separation anxiety: If you leave it home alone daily, it can get anxiety.
  • Feeding times: Make sure you’re around during feeding times if possible.
  • Potty trained: A dog needs to fully complete potty training.
  • Physical activity: It needs physical activity on a daily basis to stay healthy.
  • Socialization: Socialization with other dogs and humans is necessary.
  • Other animals in the house: Make sure it has a good relationship with other pets at home.

What Makes It Easier For Your Dog To Be Left Alone

Making it easier for your pet to cope with being left alone requires patience, consistency, and a bit of creativity. 

Here are some tips to help make the process smoother.

Take Your Dog For A Walk In Advance

If you know, you’ll be gone for a while or if you work 9 to 5, take your dog for a walk beforehand. Doing this will burn its energy off. It will be calmer and more disciplined while at home alone.

Identify Where Your Dog Feels Most Comfortable

This is the most important thing to consider when leaving your dog alone. For maximum comfort, allowing your dog access to its favorite places and areas where it’s the safest and most relaxing is ideal. It could be a room with its favorite toys and crate, for example.

Add Background Noise

Outside noises can disturb your dog and make it stressful. You must add some background sounds if you live in a busy place. Try blocking out outside noise by playing music or leaving the TV or radio on.

Keep Your Dog Entertained

Give your dog a special treat before you leave it alone. This can keep it happy and busy for a while.

This could be a new toy like a stuffed or puzzle toy or its favorite snack. Keep on doing experiments with different things to see which ones make it happy.

In Conclusion: How Long Can A Dog Be Left Alone?

The amount of time you can leave your dog alone at home depends widely on its age, breed, and health. An owner can leave a mature dog alone for up to 8 hours a day, whereas puppies require more attention and care. It is always best to consult a veterinarian if you’re unsure how long your dog can stay alone at home.

Overall, never leave your dog alone for too long, as it can be dangerous and emotionally stressful. Make sure to provide the necessary care and attention your dog needs when you’re not around.

So, what do you do when you leave your dog home alone? Let us know your tips and why in the comments below!

Dr. Majid Tanveer (DVM)
Dr. Majid Tanveer (DVM)
Dr. Majid is a licensed veterinarian, writer, and animal welfare advocate. He obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan. He has been working as a senior veterinarian for five years. Over the last few years, Dr. Majid has worked extensively for the betterment of animal welfare and rights in his country. He is also a proud owner of a dog, which he loves dearly. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his dog and indulging in his hobby of writing.