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Can Golden Retrievers Be Left Alone at Home? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

Golden retriever lying on light floor

Can Golden Retrievers Be Left Alone at Home? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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At some point or other, we’ve all contemplated whether or not it would be fair to leave a dog at home while we go out to work or spend a day out somewhere. The truth is, some dog breeds do better than others when it comes to being left alone for a few hours, and Golden Retrievers are one of them. You can leave a Golden Retriever at home for a certain period of time as long as they have everything they need throughout the day.


How Long Can Golden Retrievers Be Left Alone at Home For?

As a rule, you can leave a healthy adult Golden Retriever at home for between 3 and 6 hours and no longer than 8 hours. If you do plan on leaving your Golden Retriever at home alone, though, you’ll need to make sure they’re left in a safe environment and have everything they need to be comfortable throughout the day.

You might also want to dog-proof your home and furniture, just in case your goldie gets the urge to chew or resort to other destructive behaviors while you’re away. Leaving your dog for extended periods of time could lead to such behaviors, often as a result of boredom or stress, which is why it’s not a good idea to leave your Golden Retriever alone for more than eight hours at the most.

Your Golden Retriever should have access to the comfy spots they love to lounge and sleep on, their favorite toys or comforters, and plenty of clean drinking water. Speaking of water—your dog’s bathroom routine is another important factor to consider.

If you’re going to be out of the house for more than a few hours and you know your Golden Retriever is likely to need the bathroom at some point during that time (this depends on their routine), you might also need to make arrangements for your dog to have a bathroom break at some point.

golden retriever dog on a couch
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Can I Leave a Golden Retriever Puppy Alone?

Puppies are a little different because their needs are greater. According to the American Kennel Club, puppies under 10 weeks old should not be left alone for longer than an hour.

Here are the AKC guidelines:
  • Up to 10 weeks: Maximum one hour
  • 10–12 weeks: 2 hours
  • 3 months: 3 hours
  • 4 months: 4 hours
  • 5 months: 5 hours
  • 6 months: 6 hours
  • Older than 6 months: Maximum 6–8 hours

Can I Leave a Senior Golden Retriever Alone?

Like puppies, a dog’s needs may change somewhat once they head into their senior years—for one thing, they tend to need more frequent bathroom breaks. Whether you can leave your senior Golden Retriever at home for a few hours depends on any health conditions they may have and their bathroom-related needs.

In short, if your senior Golden Retriever is healthy, there’s no reason why they can’t stay alone at home for a few hours—ideally 2–4 hours, though this may vary. If your goldie has special requirements due to a health condition or other needs, you may need to arrange for someone to check in on them.

golden retriever dog eating
Image Credit: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

Tips for Leaving a Golden Retriever at Home

  • Train your goldie to be alone by rewarding them for short periods they spend alone (i.e. in their bed, in another room, etc.) before progressing to leaving them home alone.
  • When you start to leave your goldie alone, do so incrementally rather than for long periods right away. Start with one hour, then two hours, and so on.
  • Make sure your goldie has everything they need to be comfortable and suitably entertained while you’re away (favorite toys, mentally stimulating obstacle toys, beds, etc.).
  • Walk your goldie before you leave the house. This gives them a chance to go to the bathroom and get some energy out.
  • Dog-proof your home with baby gates, sofa covers, etc. if you’re concerned that your goldie might become destructive.
  • In general, it’s best not to leave your Golden Retriever locked in their crate while you’re out. The crate should be somewhere they can come and go freely and where they feel safe. Keeping a dog in a crate for long periods can be incredibly stressful for them.


Final Thoughts

So, as long as your Golden Retriever is healthy, you can leave them alone for about 3 to 6 hours and no longer than 8 hours. For puppies, how long they’re left alone depends on their age and for senior dogs, it depends on any health conditions or bathroom needs they may have. If possible, it’s best to start training your goldie as early as possible to spend time alone so it doesn’t come as such a shock to them down the line.

Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

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