Before you consider getting a puppy, you should be aware of the common challenges you might face as a dog owner so you know that you’re ready for that responsibility.
But, once you’ve made the decision to get a puppy, leaving a new puppy at home for the first time can be nerve wreaking for some.
Will they be ok? Will my house be ok?
What am I going to come home and find when I return?
These are all questions (and many more) we end up stressing over and asking ourselves before it happens.
To ease some of your worries, and assist you in being as organised and prepared as you can be, we’ve put together a list of 17 of our most helpful tips that you might consider.
This guide is complementary to our guide on considerations when leaving a mature dog alone for a few days, up to a week.
Let’s check out the list …
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
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18 Tips For Leaving A Puppy Alone At Home For The First Time
A Word Of Warning First
Puppies should be able to be left alone for short period as long as they are safe in the environment you’ve left them in, they have essentials such as food and water, and you’ve puppy proofed the area.
But, try not to leave your puppy alone for the first few weeks or month for more than a few hours.
Speak to a vet about how long you can leave your puppy alone if you’re unsure.
Always Cover The Essentials As A Starting Point
Make sure when leaving your puppy home for a few hours or for a working day, you at least cover the essentials:
– Food, water, shelter, safety (including a puppy proof room/environment), and toys or other ways for a puppy to stimulate themselves
– A place to go potty, and take precautions (with a drop sheet, pee pads, or other methods) to address puppy toilet accidents whilst they still aren’t toilet trained/house trained yet
Other things to consider are …
1) Test Run With Friends, Or On A Weekend For A Few Hours If Possible
This one may not always be possible, but it really helps if you can pick your dog up on a Friday day or night.
You can give your dog Friday night and Saturday to get used to the home and get comfortable with you, before getting out of the house on Sunday for a few hours for a test run to see how your puppy reacts.
If you’re really worried, you can take him/her to a friends place so they can monitor them while you’re gone.
You can use that Sunday as a training run of what to expect in the week ahead.
2) Make Sure Food and Water Is Available
A pretty obvious one – make sure fresh water is available for your puppy.
Follow the feeding advice your vet gives you or what is on the dog food label for instructions, but in general, puppies are fed 3-4 times a day.
Know the amount you should be feeding you puppy per day, and space it across the day evenly, and have the amount of food your puppy needs to have in their food bowl when you’re gone.
3) Make Sure They Have Toys, Bones or Other Stimulation
Your puppy will need ways to stimulate themselves when you’re gone.
Different sorts of dog toys, uncooked meaty bones (although watch out for choking hazards) and BPA free plastic containers can keep your dog entertained for hours.
Puppies start going through teething which last until about 6 months of age, so have plenty of things for them laying around to chew on saves your house furniture too.
4) Make Sure Their Dog Bed Is Accessible
Puppies tend to sleep a lot!
Making sure they have a dog bed and that it is clean, comfortable and accessible is important.
Putting it in a safe place away from the weather is also a good idea.
Getting a dog bed with a removable/zip cover can help when it comes to washing it every couple of weeks to keep it fresh.
5) Consider A Crate or Outside Dog House/Kennel
You’re going to have to make the decision to leave your puppy inside, outside, or a mixture of both.
It’s probably a good idea to keep a puppy inside for a number of reasons – letting vaccinations take effect, letting their immune system build up and weather being others.
If your vet says it’s ok to leave your puppy outside – consider an outside/dog house to give them somewhere comfortable, insulated and away from the wind and other conditions to lay and sleep.
Place it in an undercover area along with the other essentials like food, water and toys, and it can be a good set up.
6) Make Sure You’ve Taken Them Outside To Pee and Poop Before You Go
In the first few months, puppies can only hold their bladders or bowels for a few hours i.e. puppies can’t hold their bladders and bowels as long as mature dogs.
A good rule of thumb is, for every month of your puppy’s age, that is how long they can hold (up to a max 12 hours)
So, a 2 month old puppy can roughly hold up to 2 hours.
To address this, make sure you are taking your puppy outside first thing in the morning and immediately when you get home to pee and poop to relieve themselves.
If you see them pee or poop outside, praise them and give them a treat immediately after.
7) Isolate Them to One Room, Or One Area Of The House, and Place Down Some Puppy Pads or Newspaper
If you’re keeping your dog inside the house, isolating to one area of the house, or one room, can save you a lot of headaches.
Make sure you have their bed etc. there, you’ve puppy proofed the area, and placing some puppy pads on the floor can save you a whole heap of clean up effort and time + damage to carpets or floor surfaces.
If you don’t want or have puppy pads, some people use newspaper, but be very wary on carpets as newspaper is not waterproof.
8) Consider pet gates as barriers to stairs or areas of the house you don’t want your puppy going
Pet gates and dog gates are a good idea for creating barriers to parts of the house that you can’t block off with doors.
They might also be good if you have a baby in the house and you don’t fully trust your puppy with your baby when left unsupervised yet.
Pet gates come in different heights and different widths for different applications.
9) Make Sure Your Puppy Is Cool/Warm Where They Are
Do you live somewhere where it gets very cold or very warm?
If you do, you’d want your puppy inside.
Even when inside, make sure your puppy is adequately cool or warm in the area of the house they are in.
It’s a similar principle to leaving a dog inside a hot car.
10) Puppy Proof Your Home, and Back Yard
Puppy proofing is very important for the safety of your puppy, and to keep your house in one piece whilst your puppy hasn’t had had time to grow out of the puppy stage, or have basic obedience training yet
Isolating your dog to one area can really help with this, and so can providing them with lots of objects to play with.
Scan the area you’ll be leaving your puppy in and:
Remove power cords
Remove choking hazards
Remove chemicals toxic things your puppy could eat
Turn off power points
Clean up and store away things that could fall on your puppy
Block off areas your puppy could escape or get stuck in
Cover sharp or dangerous objects
This includes anything your puppy can jump on, bite or walk into.
Read more here about:
11) Have Some Pet Stain Remover and Deodoriser Ready
Most people leave their puppy inside.
Even if you’ve places down puppy pads or newspaper, AND you’ve left them on a floorboard area or non carpeted area, you’ll probably still have some poop or pee to clean up.
Make sure you know how to both:
12) Inspect Your Puppy’s Poops When You Return
Be sure to look at your dog’s poop when you get home, and in the first few months you have them.
Diarrhea in puppies can mean the food is disagreeing with their stomach, they aren’t comfortable with their environment yet, or something more sinister like a parasite infection or virus.
Check out the potential causes of puppy diarrhea here.
13) Follow Vet’s Advice
Your vet is the best person to ask about any specific health requirements for your puppy.
They might be able to give you tips about leaving them home in regards to food, water, medications etc.
They will also be able to tell you whether it’s safe to let them outside at their age and how things like vaccinations effect them.
14) Outside Tips
If you do leave our puppy outside – puppy proof your backyard very thoroughly.
It’s probably not a good idea to leave your puppy outside for a number of reasons – two of which being weather, and the fact that some puppies will yelp – which can very quickly annoy your neighbours.
15) Pay Attention To The Reaction Of You Dog When You Get Home and Leave
Pay attention to what your puppy does when you get home.
Are they just really happy to see you and they settle down after a bit?
Or, do they seem very visibly shaken up and not quite right?
If the puppy shows signs of visible distress and it persists, you might take them to the vet to check for symptoms of dog anxiety.
16) Give Your Puppy Attention When You Get Home, and Let Them Out To Play In The Yard To Burn Energy
All puppies and dogs need socialisation with humans and other dogs to develop and maintain a healthy temperament and level of sanity.
Taking your puppy for a walk (as long as they are allowed outside and to be playing with other dogs at their age) is not only a daily must do, but it’s a good way for you to get exercise too.
17) Consider A Pet Sitter or Doggy Day Care
In special circumstances you might consider a pet sitter or doggy day care – like when you are going to be away for a few days at a time for example.
Check out some of these tips for finding a good boarding kennel.
Otherwise you can google good pet sitters in your area that might be able to come to your home.
18) Consider A Pet Camera
Pet cameras like the one from Furbo allow you to see and interact with your dog via your phone whilst you aren’t home.
The Furbo pet camera also has a treat dispensing feature.
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