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Leaving a Puppy at Home Alone for the First Time

Anyone with a new puppy knows how much fun they can be, but also how much care and attention they need. Which can make it tough if you need to step out. Here, our Westfield vets talk about leaving your puppy at home alone for the first time, including tips and information about dog boarding as an alternative.

You need to leave the house but you have a new puppy. What should you do?

A puppy is like a small child, you need to provide them with constant care and supervision. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult if you need to head out for a while. After all, leaving your puppy outside during the day while you are away from home isn't an option.

The key is to reduce anxiety for both you and your dog when you first are separated. This anxiety can cause your pup to cry out for you and it can be heartbreaking to know that your puppy cries when left alone, but this reaction can be managed if your puppy is properly prepared for your time away.

Below we will give you some tips to make the first time leaving your dog alone a calmer experience.

Can I leave my 8-week-old puppy home alone?

There will be times when you need to leave the house, whether for work or errands. So, can you leave your puppy home alone?

Unfortunately, it gets tricky at this stage as you should not be leaving your puppy alone for extended periods until they are at least 3 months old. So if you need to step away, it should be very brief and if possible you should consider alternative care for that time.

Leaving a Puppy Alone at Home for the First Time

Here are some tips to help make leaving your puppy at home easier for both of you:

  • Housetrain your puppy: 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 alone time when at home: Try not to spend all of your time focused on your puppy. This will allow them to get used to not having your attention every second of the day. This can be as simple as closing the door when you take your shower or not acknowledging them while you are reading a book.
  • Create a puppy-specific space: Set up an area 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 their special area: You might want to baby-gate them in or keep them in one room to help keep them safe.
  • Socialize your new puppy: This means if you need to take them to a sitter or have someone check in on them they are less stressed.

Making Your Puppy's Time at Home Alone a Success

Here is some advice on how to help your puppy stay happy and comfortable if you need to leave them home alone:

  • Start small: Go out by yourself and take a walk around the neighborhood and gradually increase the length of your outings
  • Don't make leaving a big deal: 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 something that smells like you: Dogs have a great sense of smell and can be comforted by familiar scents.

Other Options for Puppy Care While You Are Away

If you have a puppy that can't be left at home alone while you go out or if you are going on vacation, you can consider other options like:

Ask a Friend or Family Member

Have a friend or family member drop in to play with your pup. Your puppy is bound to enjoy some company for a while, and they will appreciate the opportunity to stretch their legs and head outside for a bathroom break.

Hire a Dog Walker

Hire a dog walker. Although you will want to be sure that your puppy is walking alone until they have all of their vaccinations, walking with a professional can be great fun for puppies. your dog will get a bathroom break while also learning new skills, and having fun.

Consider Dog Boarding

A doggy daycare or boarding facility can be a fun place for dogs of all ages to spend time. Different dog daycares have different setups but many have fun play areas that look a lot like a child's playground where the dogs can run, play and socialize. The best part is that your dog will come home tired and happy!

We know how stressful leaving your beloved furry companion can be so our team at Westfield Animal Hospital offers dog boarding in a safe and comfortable environment. Speak with us today to learn more.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you need to schedule dog boarding for your pup while you are away? Contact our veterinary team at Westfield Animal Hospital today.

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