How Many Hours Can a Puppy Be Left Alone?

by Pamela Miller
    For your 5-month-old puppy, five hours is the max.

    For your 5-month-old puppy, five hours is the max.

    Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    For a puppy, spending time by himself is a difficult new experience to take on. In his early days, your puppy doesn't spend a second alone -- he has his mama and litter mates to pal around with. As he grows, he will be able to be more independent.

    There will come a time in every pet owner's life where she will have to leave her precious companion alone for a few hours. For a puppy, the concept of being alone is a new idea. Before leaving him by himself, help him adjust by putting him in the next room for 20 minutes or so -- with a couple chew toys to help him enjoy his solitary time. Ensure that all toys are safe for your puppy. Avoid soft toys that have stuffing on the inside -- these could cause him to choke.

    The ASPCA advises that the number of hours a puppy's bladder can hold is equal to his age. In other words, your 2-month-old puppy should be given a break to go outside and eliminate every two hours. Adult dogs should get the opportunity for a potty break every eight hours. The Humane Society of the United States recommends hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to assist you to make sure your puppy gets a bathroom break if you have to be away during the day.

    On top of learning to enjoy alone time, your puppy also has to adjust to being confined -- this is all so much to take on for a little puppy in a big, new world. Being confined to a crate or a bathroom where your buddy can't get into trouble will keep him safe while you're away. This should be thought of as your puppy's "den" or safe haven. Never use the area to punish your puppy if he has an accident in the house when you're home, as he may start to associate it with something negative. Play soft music on a radio and place your puppy in a bathroom with a window so he can hear the birds outside. Stick to the every hour for each month of age rule. Not abiding by this rule will make it more difficult for your puppy to adjust to potty training.

    Puppies have a whole lot in common with babies. They are learning all about how life is in the new world they are so busy exploring every day. Like babies, puppies also do best on a routine schedule. Sticking to a daily routine will help your puppy learn quickly and be a healthy, well-adjusted puppy. Breaking the routine can make housebreaking and various household rules much more difficult to learn. Try to avoid leaving your puppy by himself for varied amounts of time. Though it may not always be possible, trying your best to stick to a routine schedule will be in your puppy's best interest.

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    • Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Pamela Miller has been writing for health, beauty and animal health/welfare publications for seven years. Miller holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication from MTSU.

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