As loving dog owners, we’re the ones who understand most the importance of balancing our busy lives with the well-being of our canine companions. Dogs are inherently social creatures, and most dog breeds need our presence in their lives.

But sometimes, life makes it necessary for us to leave our furry companions.

Whether you’re heading out for work, errands, or social engagements, planning for your dog’s needs during your absence is crucial.

Understanding a Dog’s Alone Time Needs

There’s no hard and fast rule when talking about how much alone time your dog can tolerate. Their social needs will vary depending on pet species, so you must consider subjective factors that will impact how long you can leave a dog alone. Let’s discuss the important rules, including using chew toys and hiring a dog walker, when you leave the house for work.

Age and Development

Just like human babies, puppies require more frequent attention and care. They’re far more fragile, prone to dog separation anxiety, and in some cases, might not be fully developed enough to take care of themselves.

For example, week-old puppies left home alone can’t regulate their temperature or control their bladder movements, which means they need the assistance and supervision of their mothers.

Breed and Energy Level

Each breed has its unique energy level and temperament.

High-energy breeds, such as Border Collies or Huskies, are more prone to restlessness and may have difficulty being alone for extended periods.

On the other hand, low-energy breeds, like Bulldogs or Basset Hounds, may be more content with longer periods of alone time.

Health and Behavior

Dog separation anxiety can cause your pet to feel distressed and exhibit destructive behaviors when left alone, even just for short durations.

Also, dogs with medical conditions that require frequent medication or monitoring may need constant attention to ensure their well-being.

General Guidelines for Leaving a Dog Alone

From what we just discussed, you might start to think that leaving a dog alone at home is quite complicated.

But don’t worry – you don’t have to sacrifice your long-awaited vacation week! There are a few general rules that you can follow for each age group.


From newborns to month-old puppies have higher demands and require much more attention compared to adult dogs.

As a general rule, puppies should not be left alone for more than a few hours at a time. Puppies can be extremely fragile health-wise, and their health can take a rapid turn for the worse. They’ll also have developing bladders, and they can get unhygienic in a relatively short amount of time.

jack russel puppy on white carpet

Adult Dogs

Adult dogs are more independent and can tolerate being alone for longer periods, although they still do need regular socialization. Typically, dogs should be left completely alone for about 6 to 8 hours. During this time, consider appointing a dog walker to prevent them from feeling restless.

However, this will vary depending on their individual needs, energy levels, and previous training. By providing your dog with physical and mental stimulation right before leaving them home alone, can help them stay more relaxed while you’re away.

Senior Dogs

Your old pups will likely have more needs, especially if they’re already suffering from physical issues brought about by age.

When left home alone during your work hours, dogs may need more frequent bathroom breaks, suffer from cognitive decline leading to separation anxiety, and encounter physical ailments such as arthritis. Consider hiring a dog walker to ease these effects. 

Depending on your senior dog’s needs, it’s only safe to leave them alone for a few hours.

Other Considerations

If you anticipate being away for longer durations, there are options to ensure your dog’s well-being.

For example, you can hire a professional dog sitter to visit or walk your adult dog if your absence will last longer than 8 hours.

You can also utilize doggy daycares or clinics so that your puppies can be monitored by professionals in your absence. Friends or family members can also help to check on your dog, or you can hire a sitter for a specified dog-sitting duration.

For absences longer than a day, it’s best to leave your dog with trusted family or friends who are familiar with your dog’s routine, feeding schedule, and any special instructions.

Factors to Consider for Your Dog’s Well-Being

When determining how long you can leave your dog alone, several factors can influence their ability to cope with solitude and maintain their well-being.

  • Personality. Every dog is unique, and their specific temperament, energy levels, and social needs play a significant role in how they handle being alone.
  • Separation anxiety. This is a common condition that often affects dogs with behavioral issues and seniors. Signs of separation anxiety can include excessive barking, destructive behavior, pacing, or soiling.
  • Physical and mental stimulation with chew toys and consistent dog training routines can greatly help dogs spend time alone. Engaging in physical and mental activities such as walks, playtime, or interactive toys can help tire them out release excess energy, and stimulate their minds, preventing boredom and relaxing them in your absence.
  • Bathroom breaks and basic needs should be catered for before you leave your dog home alone. When you need to leave your dog home alone, ensure they have access to fresh water throughout the day, a comfortable resting area, a safe environment, and a hygienic way to relieve themselves.

Tips for Ensuring Your Dog’s Well-Being When You’re Away

Leaving your dog home alone doesn’t have to be a source of worry and anxiety. By implementing the following tips and giving your dog chew toys, you can help secure your dog’s well-being and provide them with a comfortable environment, especially when they are home alone while at work.

  1. Establish a routine of dog training sessions before you leave for work to help your dog get used to time alone. Create a consistent schedule and establish routines, such as providing dog food at the same time each day, to help your dog adjust to your work schedule and feel secure.
  2. Interactive toys and treats. Provide interactive toys, puzzle toys, or treat-dispensing toys to keep your dog engaged and mentally stimulated.
  3. Consider hiring a dog sitter or enrolling your dog in a doggy daycare when you need to leave the house for extended periods. Consider hiring a dog sitter or utilizing doggy daycare services for longer durations or dogs with specific needs.
  4. Pet cameras and monitoring Systems. Use pet cameras or monitoring systems to check on your dog whenever you need to. Instant peace of mind, huh?

FAQs about How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone?

How can I help my dog cope with being alone?

A healthy body and mind go a long way in keeping your dog relaxed while you’re away, so be sure to provide plenty of healthy enrichment and exercise before you leave.

Are there specific breeds that can handle being alone for longer durations?

Low-maintenance breeds, such as basset hounds, can be relatively independent and won’t need you to hang around 24/7.

What are the signs of severe separation anxiety in dogs when they are home alone while at work?

Separation anxiety is common for many dogs, marked by symptoms such as distress, destructure behaviors, and even soiling.

Can I leave my new dog alone overnight? To answer this, you may want to increase the time they spend alone gradually.

While it’s not recommended to leave your dog home alone for more than 8 hours, with careful management they can cope with an overnight period, as long as they’re not anxious, are well fed, and have reduced energy levels.

Is it okay to leave my dog alone in a crate?

If you’re going to leave your dog home alone for just one to three hours, you may put them in a crate. However, leaving your dog alone in any enclosed environment, including a crate, for an extended period of time is not recommended. Not only is it not healthy for them, but it can also cause anxiety and trauma.


Dogs are social creatures that need constant companionship to stay happy.

While you can still definitely take some time away, you need to put in the extra effort and plan to keep your pet happy and secure. And for that, you need a plan. Some of the most critical factors that you need to consider include age, personality, energy levels, and hygiene.

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