You love your puppy. Spending time with him is so much fun. But you must work outside the home. After all, you want to provide the best life you can for him and the cost of food, treats, vet bills, training and grooming can add up. So, you wonder: How long can your puppy be left alone?
It comes down to his age, socialization, training and exercise needs
Number of hours a puppy can be left alone for bathroom needs
A puppy needs to potty often and can hold his bladder only so long. So when determining how long your precious puppy can be left alone, take into consideration his need to go to the bathroom. Puppies can “hold it” for the following periods of time:
- Under 10 weeks old, a puppy can hold it for one hour
- 10 to 12 weeks old, a puppy can hold it for two hours
- 3 months old, a puppy can hold it for three hours
- 4 months old, a puppy can hold it for four hours
- 5 months old, a puppy can hold it for five hours
- 6 months old, a puppy can hold it for six hours
- Over 6 months old, a puppy can hold it for six to eight hours
This chart is a guideline. You never want your puppy to be uncomfortable or have an avoidable accident. My advice: Err on the side of caution and arrange for someone to take your puppy — even at 5 months old — out to potty every 4 hours. And before you leave the house, make sure that he’s gone out.
How long a puppy can be left alone socialization wise
In addition to his bathroom needs, your puppy still requires time to bond with you. Feed him, play with him, train him and socialize him; he will understand that great things happen when you’re around.
Puppies under 14 weeks old are in a sensitive, crucial socialization period. They benefit from a lot of appropriate exposure to what they’ll face in everyday life. This includes people, animals, noises, smells and sights. Being isolated can damage a puppy’s development.
Puppy socialization guidelines
Puppies should be slowly exposed to different stimuli every day and throughout the day. After your puppy has had a sufficient number of vaccines, take him on walks, visits with friends and to dog-friendly stores.
Dogs are social creatures. And being alone too long can lead to behavior problems because a puppy can become distressed.
Get help instead of leaving a puppy alone for 8 hours
If you can’t meet the above potty schedule, enlist the help of others, such as a reliable friend or family member to potty your pup as well as play with, feed and exercise him. Or hire a reliable pet sitter or dog walker to perform these tasks. Puppies sleep most of the day — up to 20 hours. Of course, no one is a substitute for your care.
How to leave a puppy alone in a safe area
Puppies want to investigate the world. This can be very dangerous if the area isn’t puppy-proofed.
Train your puppy to be in an appropriately-sized crate. Alternatively, leave your puppy in an exercise pen, complete with a play area, a sleeping area with a bed and a potty pad. Or you can leave your pup in a safe room that’s been puppy-proofed.
When determining how long your puppy can be left alone, consider his age because he needs to potty on a regular schedule. But also take into account his need for socialization, training, exercise and companionship too. After all, dogs are social creatures. And you want to spend as much time as you can watching him bloom into the best version of himself.