How Many Hours Can a Puppy Be Left Alone?

"I need lots of attention and TLC."
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If you have a brand new puppy in your home, then you know just how daunting and stressful the idea of leaving him alone for any period of time can be. After all, the housebreaking process doesn't work instantly, and puppies have to go outside to eliminate -- a lot.

Needing to Eliminate

Housebreaking a new puppy is often a cooperative effort that involves a lot of assistance from family, friends and even neighbors. When it comes to elimination, wee puppies don't usually have the ability to "keep things in" for long. The time span in which a puppy can hold his water generally corresponds to the number of months he's been alive. If he's a month old, he can probably abstain from going for an hour. If he's 3 months old, don't keep him home alone for anything over three hours in a row. If you're busy on a specific day and can't go home at any point to take your pooch outside, recruit the kindly help of someone in your life, like a relative or close pal.


The night is frequently a source of concern for new dog owners. If you're worried about leaving a puppy unattended overnight as you catch up on your Zzzs, don't fret. Puppies don't usually eat at night, and their movement is also minimal in comparison to during the daytime. Because of those factors, they're usually able to manage without eliminating for lengthier periods at night. When the furballs get to be around 4 months in age, they generally can handle full nights without bathroom breaks -- and you can sleep a lot easier.

Initial Days

If you just brought your puppy home, it may be a smart idea to spend as much time with him during his initial days at your residence. If you have any vacation days remaining from work, for example, you may want to use a few. Not only are the first several days crucial for establishing that the outdoors is the "bathroom" to your pup, they're also important for several other reasons. If your new pooch is especially nimble, he may have the ability to leap over tall gates -- yikes. He also may be an avid chewer. If your pup is home alone and left to his devices, you run the possible risk of many frustrating and even dangerous possible scenarios. Get to know your puppy by keeping him close company, especially in the beginning.

Right Before Leaving

If your puppy ever has to be by himself for whatever reason -- even if you just have to run to the post office across the street for a few minutes -- always be sure to take him outside right before you walk out the door. This also applies to the nighttime. Right before you wind down to turn in for the night, every night, make sure your puppy goes outside and gets his job done.

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