How Long Can You Leave a Dog Home Alone?

As much as you'd like to stay home with your dog, that isn't always possible. Our Sacramento vets talk about how long you can safely leave your dog alone at home.


All dogs are different and therefore each dog will behave differently when left home at home for any amount of time.

Some dogs prefer to lounge around and take naps until you return while others are more troublesome and enjoy getting into mischief when left unsupervised. Unfortunately, there are also dogs that suffer from major separation anxiety if they must be left alone and these dogs might become destructive in response to feeling this anxiety.

Sometimes it will be necessary to leave your pet at home alone. How long is acceptable to do so and how can you make being left home alone a positive experience for your dog? 


Dogs are incredibly social animals and prefer to spend their time in the company of others, whether human or animal. Sometimes working long hours means that we have no choice but to leave our furry friend alone for longer than we would like to. It is not recommended to leave your dog home alone for more than 4 hours at a time if possible.

No matter the length of time that you must leave your dog at home 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 needed. Even if you ensure that your dog has all the basic requirements while you are out, you still should never leave your dog home alone for more than 8 hours a day at most.  

If you prefer to have your dog sleep without access to you or you work overnight, leaving your dog during the night might be a little easier as they prefer to sleep through the night and will require less attention and stimulation. It is important to remember that even when sleeping dogs prefer to have company in some form and some dogs may deal with separation anxiety even at night when they would be sleeping. 


No matter how long you have to leave your dog at home alone, it will never be easy on either of you.  The important thing is to figure out what your dog needs in order to be as happy and comfortable as possible until you return. 

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.  


There is a good chance that your dog will be sad to see you go and might be unhappy to be left home alone, 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. This could be chew toys, a favorite puzzle, or even security vests and blankets. 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 being left alone a positive experience. Securing your pooch in a spacious crate while you are out is a safe option but does not work for everyone and is not 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.

It is not recommended for young puppies to be left home alone as constant supervision is necessary. This could make working a full-time job nearly impossible while raising a puppy.

For these situations, it is most recommended that you take advantage of the option of boarding. 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.

    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 South Sacramento Pet Hospital for any advice about leaving your dog home alone or for any information on our boarding services.