top of page

How long can I leave my pet at home alone?

There’s a wide range of feelings and viewpoints about how long pets can stay home alone. Cats are usually fine home alone. Frankly, they might not care that you left (or maybe even less that you returned). As long as they have the necessities of food, water, litter, etc., they can still flourish in your short absence. And by short, that means your workday barely disrupts kitty’s 16 hours of daily napping.

With dogs, it’s a bit more complicated. How long or where they can stay generally comes down to two factors: medical and temperament. Medical issues may require more bathroom breaks, medications or monitoring. Talk with your veterinarian for guidance.

A typical healthy, adult dog can generally be home alone for 8 to 10 hours if provided with the necessities, but some breeds/temperaments require more exercise or mental stimulation. Temperament can range from a high-energy working dog that needs physical and mental stimulation, to a dog with separation anxiety. Many pet parents use supplements or calming pheromones available through various retailers.

Doggie day care or hiring a dog walker is not necessary for all dogs. But, if your life schedule does not allow for the needed amount of exercise and attention, some dogs can really benefit from more activity to break up a long day.

All pets appreciate a regular sleeping area or bed, and crates provide a safe “den” or calming space. A surprising amount of people leave music or the TV on when they leave their pet home alone. And low-cost cameras offer a way to keep watch over your pet, too.


In partnership with Willamette Veterinary Hospital

& Ark Animal Hospital

Josiah Moses, DVM Eastgate Veterinary Clinic


bottom of page