Home Alone Pets: What to Do & What Not to Do

cat home alone waiting for their parent to return

Are you a working pet parent who cannot stay at home and look after their own? Is it okay to leave pets alone for an extended period of time? Learn more about what you need to do when confronted with the decision to leave your pets home alone.

Should I Leave my Pets Home Alone?

Separation anxiety is quite common in pets, regardless of whether they are cats or dogs. However, most dogs especially require more attention and care than cats. The reason for this is that part of their routine may be daily walks and play. This includes breeds such as Labrador or Golden Retrievers, as well as Poodles. If you live alone and you want to get a pet, consider looking to adopt breeds that can be left alone such as the French Bulldog.

How Long Can my Pets be Left Alone?

Most experts agree that you shouldn’t leave puppies and elderly dogs alone for longer than three hours due to their weak bladder control and other health risks, including separation anxiety. Meanwhile, adult dogs can go up to six hours alone in the house. Unfortunately for most working pet parents who live alone, they are forced to leave their dogs alone for longer than that.

Thankfully, dogs can adapt to being left alone for 8-9 hours if they must, as long as they have everything they need at their disposal, from enough room, food, and a space to go potty.

Meanwhile, cats can go be left alone for up to 24 hours provided they have access to fresh water, enough food, and a clean litterbox.

Keep in mind that although your pets may be alright with being home alone, this does not mean that they like it.

Things to Consider

Whenever you must leave your pets home alone, it is important to check that they have everything they need while you’re out of the house. Find below a list of things that you should always keep in mind when your pets are left by themselves.

Cat insurance from From Dog insurance from Coverage Contribution Own risk
petsecur logo €8.46 €12.11 €3.250 — €6.000 10% — 50% €0 — €150
per year
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figopet logo €12.16 €17.42 €3.000 — €5.000 20% — 50% €0 — €250
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Have they got enough toys to play with and distract themselves with while you’re away? Keep them occupied while they wait for your return. Don’t leave them wondering what to do.

Emotional Needs

Tend to their emotional needs and notice any changes in their behavior the longer or more frequent you leave them alone. Ensure that they don’t feel neglected. Play with them longer if you must separate from them for long periods of time.

Bladder Control

If you have a cat, you have most likely trained your cat to use the litter box. If you have a dog, consider how often your dog needs to go outside to do its business. Keep in mind that puppies and elderly dogs need more frequent bathroom breaks.

Do’s & Dont’s of Leaving your Pets Home Alone

  1. Do hire a pet-sitter to look after your pet if they need company.
  2. Do crate train them to them contained within a designated area that is also roomy and comfortable.
  3. Don’t leave them outside, especially during the winter.
  4. Do offer them treat puzzles that are mentally stimulating distractions.
  5. Don’t leave any household items laying around that they might break or chew and choke on.
  6. Do leave the TV or radio on if they don’t enjoy the silence.
  7. Do consider adopting another companion that they can play with.


As a pet parent, you are responsible for loving and caring for your furry baby. It may be difficult to prioritize their needs if you are busy with work and other activities, but try to make the best of their home alone experience.

Still looking for more tips and tricks? Schedule an instant video consultation with our qualified veterinarians and get tailored advice from the comfort of your home – today.

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