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Leaving Pets Home Alone

Updated on January 27, 2016

Leaving your Pets Alone at Home? Better Safe Than Sorry!

Can you leave pets alone at home when you have to go away? For how long is it safe to leave pets alone at home? What kind of pets can you leave alone?

You are a responsible, caring and loving pet owner and the safety of your pets is of paramount importance to you. Sometimes however, you just have to be away from home for a few days, either because of work or because even the most loving pet owners occasionally schedule short vacations where they cannot take their pets along. Sometimes, it is impossible or too expensive to find a pet sitter or a friend to take care of your pets while you are away.

So you are wondering: Can you leave your pets alone at home and how many days is the limit?

I own a dog, two cats, a rabbit and four goldfish and my husband, my two sons and I adore them. They really are part of our family and we would be devastated if any harm came to them, especially if we thought we might have been responsible. However, for the past five years we have been leaving all our pets alone at home occasionally for a few days, over time we have found what necessary precautions we should take to keep the animals safe and content while we are gone, we have seen what works and what doesn't and we are finally confident that we can leave our pets alone at home for a few days if necessary, without induly worrying about their safety and well being.

Here are some things you should know and some helpful tips in case you are considering the possibility of leaving your pets alone at home.


Leaving your pets home alone? Plan before you go

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The first thing you should keep in mind is that leaving your pets home alone requires a lot of thought and planning in advance, as well as investing in some extra equipment that will ensure the safety and well being of your pets while you are away and training them to use this equipment. You cannot just wake up one morning and decide to leave your pets alone at home, even for a few hours, and expect them to fend for themselves.

In our case, we had an au pair girl living with us while the children were young and she used to take care of our pets whenever we were away. When she left, we had to make plans about occasionally leaving our pets alone for a few days. After thinking about each animal's specific needs and lifestyle, we bought and installed a large pet door, an automatic feeder and a water fountain, then spent a few days training each animal to use them and making sure they were comfortable with them. We then started leaving them alone for a few hours, then for a day or overnight and when we felt that all our pets were used to staying alone at home for a while, we started leaving them alone for up to 5 days.

It is also very important that, although you won't be having a friend, relative or pet sitter staying with your pets while you are away, that you do have someone who will pop in every other day or so, just to make sure that everything is in order and that all your pets are OK and in good health and none of them is sick or had an accident for example.

You should also be aware that some pets are easier left alone than others and that dogs are the hardest, because they crave for human company and are more dependent on humans that cats or fish for example.

Here are some tips and things you will need before you decide to leave your pets alone at home. Click here for more tips and ideas and all the equipment you will need to leave your pets home alone.

How do you feel about leaving your pets alone?

Do you leave your pets alone at home occasionally?

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Important things you should keep in mind before leaving your pets alone

Before deciding to leave your pets alone at home for the first time, even for a few hours, you should make absolutely sure of the following:

- Your pets have full and easy access to a toilet area for their toilet needs

- Your pets have plenty of easily accessible food and there is no danger of bugs or stray animals getting to it

- Your pets have plenty of clean water to drink, with no risk of spilling it over or dirtying it.

-Your pets have been trained to use all the equipment serving their daily needs while you are away, e.g pet doors, automatic feeders etc

-You absolutely trust your pets to behave in a responsible and trustworthy manner while you are away

Click here for more tips and all the equipment you need to leave your pets home alone.

More tips on leaving your pets alone at home

Another important point before deciding to leave more than one pet alone at home for any length of time, is that you should have a thorough knowledge and understanding of their character and particularities and the relationships and interactions between them.

Most pets living with humans develop bonds of friendship, solidarity, even love over time, as they grow older together. Our two cats for example, very often go to sleep between the two front paws of our large dog and they also expect it to protect them whenever a stray dog or cat threatens them. The cats often fight between them, but we know that it is a playful sort of fight just to keep things interesting and no harm is ever done.

However, some animals and certain breeds are more agressive than others and there are cases where larger dogs have attacked or even killed smaller dogs when left alone together, even though living together in the same house for years. A good and responsible pet owner knows how much or how little he/she can trust his/her pets to behave as they are expected to while he/she is away from home

What do you say?

Would you be comfortable leaving your pets alone at home provided you have taken all necessary precautions?

Yes, for up to a few days

Yes, for up to a few days

Submit a Comment

  • employmentresources 4 years ago

    We have 3 cats and have left them alone for up to 4 days with no trouble. Just leave extra food and water out for them. They berate us when we get home but are perfectly fine otherwise. Not sure I'd feel comfortable leaving any pet alone that long except cats though

  • Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

    I would if I had a neighbour or friend who would check on them a couple of times a day. I've done this myself, for other neighbours. It didn't quite apply in my case as my cat wasn't totally mine, but my neighbour did take him in when we were away as he got older.

  • victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

    I have left my cat for 2 days before. I put down a spare filled water bowl and plenty of food. I leave the heating on for her. If it's 3 days I have my upstairs neighbor visit. If it's any longer she goes into a Cat Hostel. Cleo sleeps 20 hours a day anyway! I would never leave a dog alone. Dogs need social interaction.

  • chattersharon 4 years ago

    I have left my cats at home alone several times. Usually I have someone look in on them every two or three days and it seems to work.

  • NickOct 4 years ago

    I own 2 cats (Brother and Sister) and their out a lot anyway catching mice. I also have to brothers to take care of them.

  • Aquamarine18 4 years ago

    Yes, I occasionally leave them alone for up to 6 days, with a neighbor checking in every other day or so. I am not concerned about the cats, but the dog is quite old and she is so attached to us that it really breaks my heart to see the look in her eyes when she sees us leaving...

  • LindseyKrelle 4 years ago

    Thank goodness that there are so many great devices for pet care these days so we can own pets but still take time away guilt-free

No, I would worry too much about their safety and well being

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  • Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

    Knowing our Bruno, we would not have a home left to come home to. He would eat everything from the inside out.

  • Amy Trumpeter 4 years ago from Oxford

    I think that cats can be left longer than dogs. The most I would leave Milo is around 6-7 hours, but not if I can help it - he likes to come to the office with me!

  • anonymous 4 years ago

    I have left my cats for a few days but they are okay with plenty of food, water and a litter box. My dogs I couldn't leave I'd be afraid they'd wreck the place.

  • steveko 4 years ago

    not for more than a couple hours

  • small dog lady 4 years ago

    naw, i couldn't relax :(

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great bunch of information for us pet owners, thanks!

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      Fab idea for a lens and you did it well! Blessed.

    • Loretta L profile image

      Loretta Livingstone 4 years ago from Chilterns, UK.

      Great lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      thanks for the answer to my question in the forum. Don't have any pets at this time but had plenty growing up. Good tips

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 3 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      My husband has to have a 6 hr infusion every other month and we have to leave Bruno by himself while we are gone. That is the longest we have ever tried. I did enjoy reading this page.

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