Can Dogs Stay Home ALONE? (+5 Helpful Tips)

Today, around 69 million American households have at least one dog.

That’s a huge number of owners just as diverse as their pets, but one thing all of these dog owners have in common is that they leave the house from time to time.

But, can dogs stay home alone safely?

In this post, we’re going to take a closer look at the debate surrounding this topic.

Can Dogs Stay Home Alone?

Depending on their age, personality, and medical needs, dogs can generally stay home without any problems.
Though this can vary from dog to dog based on medical history, age, and personality, most dogs have no problem staying home by themselves.

Dogs are social animals that need companionship, but that doesn’t mean they cant stay home alone.

With some preparation, you can ensure your dog is comfortable and safe while away.

Create a Safe Space for Your Dog

The first step is creating a space just for your dog.

It can be an exercise pen or a small room with everything your dog loves, including a comfy bed, toys, food, and water.

If your dog is likely to get bored, you can leave them with some puzzle toys, like a puzzle mat, filled with treats.

Read our related article where we tested the Best Dog Puzzle Toys to keep your pup busy!

Hazards in the Home

If your dog is free to roam your home, make sure your home is safe and secure.

Remove any hazards, such as exposed wires, small toy parts, or poisonous plants.

Check-in On Your Dog

If you plan to leave your dog for more than 5 hours at a time, have someone check on your dog during the day.

Most dogs will need to go potty every 4 or 5 hours (depending on how much they drink).

If you can come home from work during lunch, this is a great way to prevent accidents and gives you time to greet your dog before the workday is over.

Pros and Cons of Leaving Dogs Home Alone

When it comes to leaving dogs home alone, some will do just fine on their own, while others may develop anxiety or destructive behaviors.

It depends on the dog’s individual personality and needs.


  • Older dogs can enjoy the peace and quiet of an empty house.
  • Dogs who are nervous in a busy home may like having time to themselves.
  • You won’t have to constantly bring your dog wherever you go.
  • A space dedicated to your dog can keep them entertained while you’re away.
  • You can go shopping, to work, out for the evening, and anywhere else knowing your dog is safe at home.


  • Puppies and young dogs may become stressed when left alone.
  • Some dogs can suffer from separation anxiety if they’re not used to being away from their owner.
  • Certain breeds were bred to be with people and may become restless or destructive when left alone.
  • Leaving your dog alone for too long could result in accidents.

Ultimately, whether or not you should leave your dog home alone depends on several factors, including your dog’s age, breed, health, and temperament.

If you’re unsure whether your pup going solo is good, consult a veterinarian or professional dog trainer for guidance.

How to Tell if Your Dog is Ready to Stay Home Alone

Don't leave your dog in a crate all day.
We suggest that you not leave your dog in a crate longer than 3 hours while you’re away. Instead, dedicate a space in your home where your dog can play and relax.

Before you head out, it’s essential to ensure your dog is ready to stay home alone.

Here are a few things to look for:

  • Your dog is comfortable being in a crate or restricted area. If your dog is anxious or stressed in a small space, it’s likely not ready to stay home alone.
  • Your dog can stay calm and quiet for short periods. If your dog constantly barks or whines when you’re gone, it’s probably not ready to be left alone.
  • Your dog is not destructive when left alone. Chewing, digging, and other dangerous behaviors are common signs that a dog isn’t ready to stay home alone.
  • Good bathroom habits. If your dog isn’t potty trained or cannot hold it for 4-5 hours, it’s not ready to stay home alone.

If your dog meets all these criteria, it’s probably ready to stay home alone.

It’s a good idea to start with short periods and gradually increase the time your dog is left alone.

This will help the dog get used to being on its own and decrease the chances of developing separation anxiety.

Watch this video for tips on how to fix separation anxiety:

Read our related article on How to Crate Train an Older Dog. You’ll learn how to teach old dogs new tricks and address separation anxiety!

Tips for Leaving Your Dog Home Alone Safely

Here are a few tips to make the experience better for both of you:

  1. Get your dog used to being alone gradually. If you’re going to be gone for more than a couple of hours, start by leaving them alone for short periods and working up.
  2. Make sure they have plenty of food and water. A full stomach will help your dogs stay calm and relaxed.
  3. Give them some toys to keep them occupied. A Kong toy filled with peanut butter is a good option.
  4. Take them for a walk before you leave so they can get all their energy out.
  5. If you work long hours or travel frequently and cannot always take your dog with you, consider hiring a pet sitter or using a doggy daycare service.

Need ideas for good toys? Check out our review of the Best Dog Toys for Aggressive Chewers!

Final Thoughts

In general, it’s okay to leave your dog home alone for a few hours, but not more than 5 hours at a time without someone checking in on them.

Before leaving your dog home alone, consider its needs, age, and personality.

If it’s too vulnerable to be left alone, consider taking your pet to doggy daycare.

Other Interesting Reads

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?

Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

You can read more about me in our about us page

Connect with me:

Leave a Comment