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How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?

Sometimes you have no choice but to leave your dog at home. Our Springfield vets talk about how you can safely leave your dog home alone and for how long. 


Just as each dog is unique, the way each dog behaves is different, and their behavior when left home alone is no exception. 

Some dogs will choose to relax and take naps until you return while others might be more rambunctious when they must be left home alone. Unfortunately, there are also dogs that suffer from major separation anxiety if they are left by themselves and these dogs might become destructive in response to feeling this anxiety when left unsupervised.

Unfortunately, it is sometimes impossible to avoid having to leave your dog at home. How long is acceptable to do so and how can you make it an enjoyable experience for your dog? 


Dogs are one of the most social creatures we have in our lives and they greatly enjoy the company of others. In our busy world, we are sometimes working long hours means that we have no choice but to leave our canine companion alone for longer than we would like. The longest it is recommended to leave your dog home alone for is up to 4 hours at a time if possible.

If you have to be away from home for longer then you must ensure that your pup has access to enough food and water to last the entire time you are away as well as a way to use the bathroom if possible. Even if you leave your dog fully prepared while you are out, you still should never leave your dog home alone for more than 8 hours a day.  

Some people would rather not have their dog sleep with them or maybe have to work overnight. In these cases leaving your dog for longer periods during the night might be a little easier as they typically sleep through the night and will require less attention and stimulation. It is possible and important to remember that some dogs still prefer to have company in some form and may deal with separation anxiety even at night when they would be sleeping. 


Your dog will most likely be displeased with the fact that you are leaving them alone at any point of the day or night.  The important thing is to figure out what your dog needs in order to be happy, safe, and comfortable until you are able to return home. 

There are many toys, accessories, and solutions out there to help your dog feel safe and entertained while you aren't home. Take some time to try these out with your dog and see what your dog prefers.  


Luckily leaving your dog for periods of time is something almost everyone must do at some point and there are ways to help ease their sadness and stress in these situations. 

Figuring out which toys and accessories your dog enjoys will make them feel better in your absence. Chew toys and puzzles can provide much-needed stimulation in your absence. Security vests and blankets can provide comfort and help your dog to feel safe. Some dogs enjoy plushies and even playing music in the house can help your dog feel more relaxed while at home alone. 

Ensuring your dog's safety is also very important when it comes to making sure that your dog has a great experience while at home alone as well as putting your mind at ease while you are out. Securing your pooch in a spacious crate while you are out is a safe option but may not be an option supported by everyone. With technological advances, indoor cameras make it possible to check in your dog at the click of a button, and most allow two-way communication so your dog would even be able to hear your voice. 


When you first bring home a puppy, it might be difficult to balance all of life's responsibilities.

Our vets at Noll Veterinary Hospital do not recommend for young puppies to be left home alone as constant supervision is usually necessary. Although this can make daily life more difficult while raising a puppy, there are many options to help relieve some of the stress that comes along with caring for a puppy.

For these situations, it is most recommended that you explore boarding options. Boarding allows you to leave the house without worrying about the safety of your puppy. This option also supplies your puppy with everything it needs while you are away such as supervision, food, exercise, and stimulation. Please feel free to reach out to our vets for recommendations of boarding facilities. 

    Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

    Be sure to contact us at Noll Veterinary Hospital for any advice about leaving your dog home alone.

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