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Leaving a Puppy Alone at Home for the First Time: How to Prepare?

We know it can be nerve-wracking when you go to leave your puppy alone, especially for the first time. In this post, our Groton vets explain how you can prepare for your puppy to be left at home alone without having to worry about them.

Leaving Your Puppy Alone

At one point or another, your dog is going to be left on their own. A dog needs to learn how to function independently if its human companion is not around so they can stay safe and not suffer from separation anxiety while on their own.

Below, our Groton vets give you some tips and suggestions to help keep you and your dog relaxed when they inevitably have to be left home alone.

When You Can Leave a Puppy Alone

Calling your puppy your 'fur baby' is not that far off when you take into consideration how much care they require, much like a human baby. We are often asked ‘Can I leave my 8-week-old puppy home alone?' You obviously wouldn't leave a baby home alone whatsoever, but you should not be leaving your 8-week-old puppy alone for even a few hours. Although they aren't as dependent as a human baby, they can develop anxiety and get into all sorts of trouble if left alone at this age.

At this stage of their life, they have just been weaned and require regular, routine feedings and bathroom breaks. It is commonly recommended to wait until they are 3 months old before leaving them home alone. If your puppy cries when left alone for even a few moments, even if you're just in another room, you should know that they are not ready to be left alone quite yet.

Preparing for Your Puppy to Home Alone

Before leaving your puppy home alone, you should:

  • House train your dog. There is nothing worse than coming home to a mess because your dog decided to destroy things as a way to deal with their anxiety.
  • Take some time alone. Take a little time when you aren’t focusing on your puppy so they can get used to not having your attention all the time. This can be as simple as closing the door when you take your shower or not acknowledging them while you are reading a book.
  • Set up a space for your puppy where they can access their water, food, bed, and toys. Having the necessities of life in easy access removes a lot of stress.
  • Puppy proof all spaces your dog will have access to while you are away. You might want to baby-gate them in or keep them in one room.
  • Have your puppy socialize with other people. This means if you need to take them to a sitter or have someone check in on them they are less stressed.

Leaving Your Puppy Alone for the First Time

  • Start small. Go out by yourself and take a walk around the neighborhood and gradually increase the length of your outings
  • Do not make a big deal out of leaving. Leave calmly. If you are calm your dog has a better chance of being calm.
  • Return Calmly. If you don't make a scene about coming home your dog will be more likely to be able to treat your coming and going as routine resulting in a calmer dog.
  • Leave some clothes you have worn so they have your scent. Dogs have a great sense of smell and can be comforted by familiar scents.

What about leaving your puppy outside during the day?

Although leaving your pup outside while you're gone will prevent them from destroying your house or going to the bathroom indoors, you should still make sure they are well-trained and equipped to do so.

Puppies can still get into all sorts of trouble outside, and the outside noises and smell can be overwhelming for puppies, especially if they don't have the comfort and support of their human companion.

If you need to leave your puppy alone for hours or more at a time, whether you plan to leave them inside or outside, consider alternate options. See if you can have a friend or family member watch your dog, or consider a boarding facility to take care of your pup while you're away.

Boarding Services at

If you're going to be away for an extended period of time, our team would be happy to care for your canine companion at our boarding facility. This gives your dog a chance to socialize in a safe and friendly environment and means they will not be bored or destructive at home.

You can have peace of mind knowing your dog is being provided with food, water, exercise, and loving care with experienced professionals while you're away.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Are you looking for somewhere for your puppy to stay while you're gone? Contact our Groton vets to see if we can accommodate your pup at our boarding facility!

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Companion Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Groton companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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