How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone at Home? 

By Coty Perry

That begs the question, how long can you leave a dog alone at home? The answer varies based on many factors but I wouldn’t suggest leaving any dog alone for longer than 5-6 hours. If you have a puppy, that time is reduced to as little as one hour. 

Leaving your dog alone at home is a big source of anxiety for many pet owners. You want to have a life and feel free to run errands whenever you need to but leaving your dog alone is always stressful. 

In this guide, we’ll go through some of the details that led us to these numbers and what factors may impact the amount of time you can leave home without your pup. 

How Long Can You Leave a Dog Alone at Home? 

On the first try, I wouldn’t recommend leaving a dog alone for longer than four hours. You want to test the water first and gradually increase it if you notice they’re okay. 

Of course, this varies dramatically based on the individual dog. Some dogs do well being home alone for extended periods of time while other dogs will never be okay with it no matter what you do. 

How Long Can You Leave a Puppy Alone? 

New puppies between the ages of 8-10 weeks cannot hold their bladder so they shouldn’t be left alone for longer than an hour. They can also become confused and disoriented if they wake up and no one is there. 

Puppies between the ages of 2-4 months can hold their bladder for around three hours so this gives you a little more time for running errands and getting out of the house. Keep in mind how they may develop separation anxiety though if they are used to you always being there. 

Factors That Impact How Long You Can Leave Your Dog 

There are many things that will impact the amount of time you have once you leave your dog at home. Every dog is different so it’s important to be patient and have no expectations. 

The Dogs Behavior 

Your dog’s behavior right away is an initial indicator of how they’ll be when you’re gone. If your pup is naturally hyper and constantly seeking attention, they’ll have a hard time laying down and waiting for you to come back. 

Keep in mind that their breed can impact this as well. French Bulldogs are an example of a breed that doesn’t do well alone for extended periods. 

Your Home Monitoring 

Having a dog camera is one great way to prevent your pup from getting in trouble and easing their anxiety. It also makes the whole process easier on you because you can see what they’re doing. 


Your dog’s history always plays a role in how they behave. If you adopted a dog from a shelter that was abandoned, this dog might have a much harder time being away from you because they’ll worry that you’re not coming back. Be patient and empathetic with your pup. 

Potty Training

If you have an independent pup, the only reason they might need you back is to let them out to use the potty. Only you know your dog but most dogs can’t hold their bladder for longer than four hours so that should give you a benchmark.  

Final Thoughts 

It truly breaks my heart that people abandon dogs. In fact, according to the ASPCA 3.1 million dogs enter animal shelters each year. 

The truth is, we all have to leave the house at some point to run errands and fulfill obligations. Try your best to hire a dog sitter or find someone to check in on your pup if you have to leave for longer than a few hours. 

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Coty Perry
Coty is a self-proclaimed cat whisperer and animal lover. Growing up his mom ran a dog training business out of his childhood home so you can say it was complete chaos 24/7. Today, when he comes home after a long day of writing about animals, he’s greeted by his two loving cats Marley and Cozmo.