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Leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time: How to prepare

Leaving a puppy alone at home for the first time: How to prepare

Dogs make great companions but you can’t spend every waking hour with them. You will have to leave them to go do things like errands, work, and appointments. Our Des Moines vet will give some suggestions to make it easier to leave your puppy at home alone for the first time.

Leaving Your Puppy at Home

Eventually, you will need to leave your pet on its own. This is good for both of you. A dog needs to learn how to function independently of their human companion and the human needs to have a life that is not solely based on catering to the desires of its canine companion.

The issue is not to create anxiety in either the human or the dog when you first are separated. Below we will give you some tips to make the first time leaving your dog alone a calmer experience.

When Can I Leave My Puppy Alone at Home?

Calling puppies your fur babies is not that far off since puppies are children. We are often asked ‘can I leave my 8-week-old puppy home alone'. The answer is you should not be leaving your 8-week-old puppy alone for an extended period.

This is the part of their life where they have just been weaned and need regular feedings and potty breaks. It is recommended to wait at least until they are 3 months old before they are left alone.

Suggestions to Prepare Your Puppy for Being Left Alone

Things you want to do before you leave your puppy alone:

  • 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.
  • Have 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 meet 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 Them 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 production 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.


Like with children you can send your pup to daycare. This gives your dog a chance to socialize and means they will not be bored or destructive at home. You have the peace of mind of knowing your dog is being provided with food, water, exercise, and loving care while you're not there.

If your planning on leaving your puppy for the first time and have questions, contact our Des Moines vets for more information.

Welcoming Your Pets to Our Animal Hospital 

Des Moines Veterinary Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, fish, small mammals, and their owners to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Des Moines companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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