The process of teaching a puppy to stay alone comfortably is an essential part of their upbringing. It prevents separation anxiety, ensures they remain calm when left by themselves, and promotes a balanced lifestyle. But the pressing question for many new pet owners is, how long can they leave their puppies alone without causing distress or harm?
How Long Can Puppies be Left Alone?
A general rule of thumb is that a puppy can be left alone for a number of hours equal to their age in months up to a maximum of six hours. So, a two-month-old puppy can be left for two hours, while a five-month-old can be left for five:
- A one-month-old puppy should be left alone for less than one hour.
- A two-month-old puppy can be left alone for two hours.
- A three-month-old puppy can stay alone for three hours.
- A four-month-old puppy is okay to be alone for four hours.
- A five-month-old puppy can be left alone for up to five hours, but never more than six hours regardless of age.
However, this is just a guideline. Some breeds or individual pups might need more frequent attention.
How Long Can a Puppy Stay Crated While Alone?
Crates can provide a secure environment for puppies, but they should never be treated as a means to leave your puppy for an extended period. For younger pups aged 8–10 weeks, 30–60 minutes in a crate is a good limit. As they grow older, they can endure a bit longer, but no puppy should be crated for more than 5-6 hours. Ensure they have ample time out of the crate for play and exercise.
Can I Leave My Puppy at Home Alone While I’m at Work?
If you have a regular 9-5 job, you’ll need to make provisions for your puppy. Ideally, a break at lunchtime for some play and a potty break is recommended. You can also consider doggie daycare or hiring a dog walker to keep your puppy company during the day.
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Do Puppies Get Lonely?
Yes, puppies are social creatures and can get lonely. The loneliness can manifest as destructive behaviors, continuous barking or howling, or even health issues in the long run. Ensuring your puppy has toys, or even a companion, can help mitigate these feelings.
How to Keep Your Puppy Busy While You’re Away
- Interactive Toys: Toys like puzzle feeders or chew toys can keep your puppy entertained.
- Play Music or TV: Some soft music or a TV in the background can help your puppy feel less isolated.
- Set up a Play Area: Ensure there’s a safe space with toys and comforts for your pup.
- Training: Training sessions before leaving can tire them out, making them less restless when alone.
Can You Leave Your Puppy Alone for a Weekend?
Leaving your puppy alone for an entire weekend isn’t recommended. Even if you provide enough food and water, the loneliness and lack of human interaction can be harmful. Always arrange for someone to look after your puppy if you have to be away for more than a day.
What to Do With Your Puppy When You Go on Holiday
- Boarding: Find a reputable kennel or dog hotel.
- Friends or Family: Someone familiar to the puppy can provide care and reduce stress.
- Pet Sitters: Hire a professional to care for your pet in your home.
- Take Them With You: Some holidays are puppy-friendly! Here we have some tips on how to travel together with your pet by car, plane, public transport and even internationally.
When to Hire a Pet Sitter
Consider hiring a pet sitter if:
- You’re away from home for more than 6-8 hours regularly.
- Your puppy shows signs of distress or destructive behavior when left alone.
- You’re going on holiday and can’t take your pup with you.
In conclusion, while teaching your puppy to be comfortable alone is vital, understanding their limits is just as crucial. Ensuring they have the care, attention, and entertainment they need will ensure a happy and healthy puppy. With proper planning and understanding, you can balance your life’s responsibilities and your commitment to your furry friend.