According to the American Kennel Club, puppies younger than 10 weeks cannot be left alone for more than an hour. From 3-6 months, they should not be left longer than their age in months (for example, 3-month-old puppies cannot be alone for longer than 3 hours).
Their young bodies and brains are still developing, and leaving them alone for too long can lead to behavioral issues and conditions like separation anxiety. No dog should be left alone for a full 8-hour workday.
If you leave your puppy alone for too long, no matter how many toys they have, they can get separation anxiety. A puppy definitely needs companionship, playtime, and pee and poop breaks during the workday, so be sure to plan for that.
Young puppies under six months shouldn't really be left alone for more than two hours. And it's a good idea to build up the time they spend alone gradually to prevent separation anxiety from setting in. When you do leave your puppy alone, it's a good idea to crate train them, or leave them in a puppy-proofed room.
Having a pet sitter or someone you know, such as a friend or neighbour, spend time with your puppy when you're working is a great way to lower the risk of boredom or separation anxiety. If possible, have someone stop by every couple of hours while you're gone if your puppy is younger.
Most dogs or puppies will settle down and stop crying or barking within a half-hour after they are left alone.
3 to 6 Months
Good news: once your puppy reaches around three months of age, you get a bit more wiggle room with alone time. As a quick rule of thumb, you should measure the amount of time to be away as one hour per month of his age.
Puppies need up to 18 hours of sleep per day, so leaving them alone for an hour or two at a time should not be too difficult. Avoid taking your puppy with you everywhere you go in the beginning, as tempting as it may be.
According to The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals, a good good starting point is to aim for 5 minutes of exercise, twice a day, for each month of age. For example, 3-month-old puppies should have 15 minutes of exercise twice a day, then 20 minutes twice a day at 4 months, etc).
Different dog breeds have different energy levels and rates of growth; the growth plates in their joints close at different ages. But do schedule play and exercise time into your puppy's day: a walk around the neighborhood, playing with toys, and time spent bonding go a long way toward expending energy.
Begin by closing your puppy in the confinement area with a chew toy or other constructive activity, then quietly walk out of the room. Return immediately and reward them with praise and a treat. Repeat the process, slowly increasing how long you're away each time.
Pick a room of the house for your dog. If your dog isn't comfortable in a crate or you don't want to use one, but you also don't want your pup having free run of the house while you're out, consider making up a room just for them or penning off a portion of your room with a pet fence.
Changes in behavior
If you notice a behavior change in your pet due to being alone too long, it could be a sign to take some action. Examples of behavior changes include increased lethargy, depression or disinterest in once-beloved activities, and destructive tendencies.
The short answer is yes. One of the emotions dogs can feel is loneliness. As you may know, dogs are pack animals and social creatures, and for this reason, they don't like spending too much time alone.
And finally, don't leave your puppy to cry it out.
When you leave your baby puppy to cry alone, you teach him that you aren't available to keep him safe. Puppies can become even more anxious and fearful. You want him to know that you will help him if he's crying. It's ok to soothe your upset puppy.
That said, for a general guideline, dogs should get a minimum of two hours of dedicated social time with humans or other dogs on a daily basis, which can be broken up into chunks of time over the course of the day.
From Birth to 10 Weeks
They spend most of their day playing and learning the foundations of being a dog: chasing, running, pawing, biting and fighting. Their enthusiasm for life and its surroundings can be exhausting, but this is also the perfect time to start thinking about puppy care and training.
It is not uncommon for a puppy to defecate 5-6 times per day. Some will eliminate even more frequently. The good news is that the pace of pooping will slow down as the dog matures. Although a 2-week-old puppy may defecate at every feeding, by 12 weeks, they may be down to only 4 times per day.
You'll have more peace of mind knowing that your puppy is safe, comfortable, and not chewing your couch to pieces while you're away. Putting your puppy in their playpen is a great idea if you work from home, as it gives them a safe area to relax or play while you get some work done.
It's normal to feel guilty about leaving your furry friend alone. But, as long as you're still getting their exercise in (especially before you leave) and don't make a big deal about leaving, then your canine companion should do just fine.