How Long Can a Dog Be Left Alone? (Things to Know)

Dogs, being man’s best friend, are now a common sight in most families worldwide. And when we talk about everyday routines, we must also consider our four-legged friends in this fast-paced world. So, as responsible pet owners, we must answer the question: how long can a dog be left alone?

In this article, we’ll look into the length for which you can safely leave your beloved pets at home, as well as provide you with valuable tips to help minimize their anxieties while you’re gone.

How long can a dog be left alone?

Sad dog waiting
Sad dog waiting | Image by Fran • @mallorcadogphotography from Pixabay

The length of time you can leave your dog alone in your home depends on their age and particular needs. Puppies under 5 months old should be left alone for no more than 3 hours, while older ones up to 18 months old can be left alone for up to 4 hours. This can be increased as you train your dog until they can be left alone for 8 hours. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Puppies shouldn’t be left alone for more than 3 hours.
  • Adult dogs can be left alone for up to eight hours.
  • If you have a special needs or senior dog, the length you can leave them should depend on their condition.

How long can you leave your dogs?

The answer to this question typically varies due to the wide range of dog breeds found worldwide. However, as a general rule of thumb, puppies that are 5 months old or younger shouldn’t be left alone for extended periods. Instead, they should only be left alone for durations ranging from one to three hours during the day because they still require a great deal of care and attention.

Young canines between the ages of 5 and 18 months shouldn’t be left alone for more than 4 hours at a time. As they mature, their ability to be left alone for a longer time increases, and they can eventually handle being alone for 4 to 8 hours a day.

Dogs with medical conditions

It’s important to closely monitor furbabies with special conditions, whether they’re puppies or adults. Depending on their medical situation, these canines shouldn’t be left alone and require frequent supervision. To ensure the well-being of your dog, it’s important to carefully plan your errands and consider their potential impact on your pet’s condition.

Senior dogs

Senior dogs require a higher level of care and attention compared to the younger ones. It’s important to avoid leaving these types of canines alone for extended periods, typically no longer than 4 hours. However, the duration can vary depending on their health and ability to control their bladder.

How to prevent them from being anxious

Puppy playing with a toy
Puppy playing with a toy | image by John Talbot via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Since we sometimes have no option but to leave our furbabies alone in the house, here are some things you can do to keep them calm during these times:

Keep them entertained

Given how social dogs are, it’s not unusual for them to start looking for you as soon as you leave the house. So, one effective strategy is to provide your pets with limited toys they can only enjoy when you’re away.

This helps to keep them entertained and active during your absence. They’ll also look forward to having the toy every time you leave the house because of this, making it special and causing them to concentrate on it rather than leaving.

Give them something that will stimulate their minds

One way to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated is by providing interactive toys like treat balls or cubes. These toys can be filled with dried treats, challenging them to figure out how to retrieve the treats, or even a ‘Kong’ toy that can be stuffed with food, keeping them engaged and active.

Enough exercise

Getting your dog plenty of exercise before you leave can also be a big help in keeping them from getting bored. This can be achieved by taking them on a stroll outside or having them play in the yard so that, when you leave, they’ll have had their playtime and will only need to sleep or relax to pass the time until you return.

Can I leave them for a weekend?

Dog eating
Dog eating

Leaving your pet for a whole weekend alone isn’t a great idea, even if you provide them with food, water, and toys. Get your family and friends to watch them while you’re away if you absolutely must be away from them for the entire weekend. Providing your furbaby’s needs, such as food and toys, will make it more convenient for them to take care of your dog.

Other options you can do

Hiring a pet sitter to watch your dog while you’re away is another option you might want to explore. This may help reduce any anxiety your pet may be experiencing since they’re still inside your home. If you can’t find a reliable pet sitter, consider researching the top dog hotels in your area as an alternative.

When you choose to place your furbaby in a hotel, you can rest assured that their safety is a top priority. Not only will they receive attentive care and be fed on schedule, but they’ll also have the chance to socialize and play with other dogs in the hotel.

Additionally, they may even be taken for walks to ensure they get the exercise they need. If you want to know how your pet is doing, you may also give the caregivers a call.

Final thoughts

Due to their sociable nature, dogs need attention and company. The best length of time that you can leave them alone varies on their age, breed, and specific needs. For example, it’s important to avoid leaving puppies alone for a long time, as they require more attention and care.

On the other hand, certain adult canines can handle longer periods of solitude. It’s important to think about whether your pet requires special attention, particularly if he’s a senior.


  • “How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone?”, S. Driver, American Kennel Club, Updated: Oct 26, 2023,