Can you leave a Chihuahua home alone?
If you’re like most Chihuahua parents, the thought of leaving your fur baby home alone can be worrisome.
After all, Chihuahuas are known for their loyalty and companionship, not for their ingenuity in stopping burglars by using elaborate traps.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to leave the house and are wondering can I leave my Chihuahua at home alone, don’t worry!
With a little preparation, you can help your Chihuahua adjust to being left alone.
In this blog post, we will discuss if you can leave a Chihuahua home alone, how long can a Chihuahua be left alone, plus the common challenges that people face and how to solve them.
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Can you Leave a Chihuahua Home Alone?
Yes, the majority of Chihuahuas can be left home alone.
The only exception is Chihuahuas with separation anxiety or with medical conditions that need constant supervision.
If your Chihuahua falls into either of these categories, it’s best you don’t leave them home alone.
You will need to do a few things to prepare before you leave them at home all day such as feeding and walking them, filling up their water, and setting out pee pads and toys.
How Long Can Chihuahuas Be Left Alone?
If you’re going to be gone all day and wondering how long can Chihuahuas be left alone, the answer is 6-8 hours.
There are lots of owners who work full-time with a Chihuahua and have no problems.
Of course, this will vary depending on your individual dog.
Some may do fine being left alone all day, while others may need someone to check on them every few hours.
The best way to find out is to gradually leave them alone for longer periods of time and see how they do.
If they seem to be doing okay, then you can increase the duration of time they’re left alone until you reach 6-8 hours.
However, if they get too stressed or anxious, then you may need to find a dog sitter or consider doggy daycare.
Can Chihuahua Puppies Be Left Home Alone?
According to the AKC, puppies can be left alone for 1 hour per each month of age.
So, a 3-month-old puppy can be left alone for up to 3 hours, a 4-month-old puppy for 4 hours, etc.
Chihuahua puppies have tiny bladders and thus need frequent potty breaks.
Socialization is crucial at this stage, so it’s important that they have some human interaction during the day.
It is best to crate-train your puppy so they are safe while you’re out.
Puppies have a tendency to chew on things and get into the trash, etc., so you want to be sure they don’t have access to anything that could harm them.
If you need to leave your Chihuahua puppy home alone for a longer period of time, consider hiring a dog sitter or doggy daycare.
11 Challenges of Leaving Your Chihuahua Home Alone
1. Potty Accidents
If your Chihuahua is potty trained but has accidents while you’re gone, it could be a sign that they’re not used to being left alone, that they’re stressed, or they’ve been left alone for too long.
Dogs with separation anxiety tend to have more accidents due to the amount of heightened stress they feel being left alone.
Tip: teach your dog to go potty on pee pads to reduce the number of accidents in your home.
2. Destructive Behavior
Chihuahuas may exhibit destructive behavior while you’re gone like chewing up items or tipping over their water bowl.
There are a few different reasons why this may occur.
If your Chihuahua is normally well-behaved but starts chewing on things or getting into the trash every time you’re gone, this could be a sign that they are bored and need more stimulation.
It can also be a sign of separation anxiety.
They may even resort to chewing on things to calm themselves down or licking the bed sheets because they’re anxious.
A third reason is that your dog might not have enough training, especially if they are a puppy.
If this is the case, a good level of obedience training might be useful in addressing destructive behavior.
3. Escape Attempts
If your dog is an escape artist, it could be a sign that you should try them out for America’s Got Talent or that they’re stressed or bored.
They might also be trying to escape because they don’t like being cooped up in a crate and would prefer to have more space.
They might hurt themselves trying to bite or dig their way out of their crate, so it’s important to find a solution that works for both you and your dog.
Tip: get a sturdy playpen or give your dog more space in a room with a closed door.
4. Excessive Barking and Whining
Before we sought help, our Chihuahua would start hollering in the crate like he was openly plotting a jailbreak during the times we left him.
This occurs because your dog might have separation anxiety and thinks you aren’t coming back.
Dogs might also do this if they are bored or are not getting enough attention.
Tip: Consider hiring a dog sitter or doggy daycare for vocal dogs. They will get some human interaction and feel less lonely leading to less barking.
5. Lack of Mental Stimulation
Some Chihuahuas sleep all day when their owner is gone.
This essentially means your dog is not getting enough mental stimulation and has chosen sleep over boredom.
Some dogs are lazier than others and don’t need as much activity, but most Chihuahuas do.
Other than being tired, dogs sleep because they’re bored and they have nothing better to do.
Boredom can lead to destructive behavior and excessive barking, so it’s vital that your dog has something to help keep their minds engaged.
6. Possible Injury
Your Chihuahua could get hurt while you’re gone.
Chihuahuas are tiny and fragile, so they can easily get hurt if they fall off the couch or bed, for example.
They can also fit into small spaces and could potentially get stuck.
Tip: use a pet camera so you can check in throughout the day and make sure your Chihuahua is doing okay.
7. Separation Anxiety and Loneliness
Separation anxiety is common in Chihuahuas. This is because they are often called a “velcro dog” because they get attached to one person and like to follow them around all day.
Your Chi might get lonely being by themselves all day.
Tip: work with a trained behaviorist to reduce separation anxiety or use a dog sitter or daycare.
8. Less Socialization
Chihuahuas that are home alone all day get less socialization.
It’s important that your Chihuahua has some human interaction during the day, even if you can’t be there yourself.
Tip: stop by home on your lunch break to brighten your dog’s day. If that’s not possible, hiring a dog sitter or taking them to doggy daycare will help them get more socialization.
9. Flipping Over Water and Food Bowls
If your Chihuahua is flipping over their water bowl or food bowl while you’re gone, it could be a sign that they’re bored.
Dogs find playing in the water is way more enjoyable than staring at wallpaper.
It could also mean they don’t like the food or water you’re giving them.
Make sure to leave your Chihuahua with plenty of food and water and check to see if the bowls are empty when you get home.
You don’t want your dog to run out of water while you’re gone.
Tip: get an automatic food dispenser and a water fountain that cannot be tipped over.
10. Get Sick
Dogs are notorious for finding things they shouldn’t eat, like rummaging through trash or snatching food from the counter.
If your Chihuahua eats something they shouldn’t while you’re gone, they could get sick.
To prevent this, put away anything potentially harmful and keep trash cans out of paw’s reach.
If your pup has a curious streak, play it safe – close those bathroom doors to avoid any mischief.
Tip: it’s a good idea to have a pet camera installed so you can see if your Chihuahua is exhibiting signs of illness.
11. Training Regression
Chihuahuas who are consistently left at home for extended periods of time are at risk of losing the training and good behaviors they were taught.
Your dog may start having accidents in the house or chewing on things they’re not supposed to.
No one will be home to correct this behavior so it can quickly become a bad habit.
Tip: practice training while you’re at home to reinforce good behaviors and leave potty pads out to lessen the chance of accidents.
Do Chihuahuas Get Separation Anxiety?
Yes, Chihuahuas tend to be clingy dogs and usually get attached to one person. This can lead to separation anxiety when they’re away from their owner.
Dogs will become stressed and anxious when left alone, which can manifest itself in different ways.
Dogs may lose interest in food when stressed leading to weight loss.
Symptoms of separation anxiety in Chihuahuas include:
- destructive behavior
- barking or whining
- excessive panting and drooling
- accidents inside the house
Can Chihuahuas be left alone if they have separation anxiety?
If your Chihuahua is showing signs of separation anxiety, it’s important to seek professional help.
A behaviorist can help you modify your dog’s behavior and make it easier for them to be away from you.
Remember, It’s a gradual process of getting them used to being alone.
It isn’t good to just let your dog cry it out or assume they will get over being alone.
Do Chihuahuas Need A Lot of Attention?
Chihuahuas are a breed that needs a lot of attention.
They were bred to be lapdogs and companions.
Chihuahuas are known for being clingy and often attach themselves to one person in the family.
They will follow their person around like a little shadow.
This means that they tend to do best in a household where someone is home most of the time.
But, dogs are individuals and some may do fine being left alone and spend most of their time sleeping.
If you need help deciding, this quiz can help you figure out if you should leave your Chihuahua home alone all day.
Quiz: Should You Leave Your Chihuahua Home Alone?
Leaving a Chihuahua home alone can be a hard decision to make. You want what’s best for your fur baby but sometimes life gets in the way.
This quiz will help you decide if it’s a good idea to leave your Chihuahua at home.
- Will you be gone for less than 8 hours?
- Is your Chihuahua older than 3 months?
- Does your Chihuahua have no separation anxiety?
- Can someone check on your Chihuahua during the day or do you have a pet camera?
- Do you have a safe place for your Chihuahua to stay while you’re gone like a crate, playpen, or a room?
- Does your Chihuahua behave well when you’re gone and not chew things?
- Can your Chihuahua control their bladders and avoid accidents while you’re away?
- Is your Chihuahua not taking any time-specific medication where you won’t be there to administer it?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, then it’s probably not a good idea to leave your Chihuahua home alone.
14 Solutions for Keeping a Chihuahua Entertained While Home Alone
There are a few things you can do to keep your Chihuahua entertained while you’re gone, especially if they are kept in a playpen or a room.
1. Puzzle Toys
Puzzles will keep your Chihuahua busy and mentally stimulated. Fill the puzzles with treats before you leave and set them out so your dog can have fun while you’re out.
Some good puzzle toys for dogs are made by Outward Hound.
2. Treat Dispensing Toys
3. Snuffle Mat
Snuffle mats are great for practicing scent work. Your Chi will have to use their nose to find the treats or kibble hidden in the mat.
It’s a great way to feed your dog their breakfast while you’re gone. Just hide the kibble in the mat and set it out right before you go out the door.
4. Pet Camera
Pet cameras are an essential gadget to have so you can check in on your Chihuahua while you’re away. Some cameras even dispense treats, too.
This is a great way to see how your dog is doing while you’re gone and give them a little pep talk.
This Mubview camera is great if you’re on a budget.
But if you want to splurge on the best camera that also doubles as a treat dispenser and will alert you to your dog barking, then the Furbo camera is the way to go.
5. Youtube or TV
Leaving the tv on or putting on some Youtube videos will provide some background noise and may help reduce their anxiety. Some dogs love watching tv, especially if there are animals on the screen.
You can find dog-specific channels or Youtube videos to keep your Chihuahua entertained.
6. Open the Blinds
Letting your dog look out the window will give them something exciting to observe. They may see squirrels, or people and dogs walking by.
Just make sure the windows are secure so your dog can’t jump out.
You could even put a bird feeder outside the window so your Chihuahua can watch birds.
As long as your Chihuahua doesn’t bark at everything that goes by, this can be a great way to help keep them entertained.
7. Dog walker
If you have a younger, active Chihuahua then hiring a dog walker to come by in the middle of the day would greatly benefit them. It is a good way to give them some exercise.
This will also provide them with some human interaction and make sure they’re not getting too lonely during the day.
A dog walker can come by once or twice a day, depending on your schedule and your Chihuahua’s needs.
8. Get a Second Chihuahua
If you have the time, energy, and money, getting a second Chihuahua may be a good solution.
This way they will have a companion to play with and won’t get as lonely.
Just make sure you introduce them slowly and properly to make sure they get along.
9. Automatic Ball Launcher
An automatic ball launcher is a great way to keep your Chihuahua entertained. You can set it up before you leave and it will play fetch with your dog while you’re gone.
This is a great way to tire them out so they can take a nap while you’re gone.
10. Kong or Lickmat
A Kong or Lickmat is another great way to keep your Chihuahua busy. You can use peanut butter, yogurt, wet dog food, or baby food.
This will keep them busy for a while, plus Licking is a great way to calm dogs down and relax their minds.
11. iDig Toy
If your Chihuahua loves to dig then the iDig is the perfect indoor solution.
This toy is a great outlet for their energy and they can dig to their heart’s content without making a mess.
Hide treats or toys inside and your Chihuahua will have to dig to get them out.
12. Scavenger Hunt
Hiding treats around the room or house is a great way to keep your Chihuahua busy. They will have to use their nose to find the treats.
You can make it easier or harder, depending on your Chihuahua’s level of intelligence. Most Chihuahuas are smart dogs, so make sure you give them enough to do to keep their mind active.
13. Doggy Daycare
If you have a really social Chihuahua that loves playing with other dogs, doggy daycare may be a good solution.
This way they can socialize and play all day while you’re away.
14. Rotate Toys
Rotate their toys so they don’t get bored and have something new to play with each day. New toys are exciting for dogs so by rotating through a couple of toys a day, older toys will seem new again.
What to Do Before Leaving Your Chihuahua Home Alone
If you’re going to be leaving your Chihuahua home alone, there are a few things you can do to prepare them and make sure your house is ready.
Choose a Safe Space
Choose where you are going to leave your dog and get them used to that spot so they feel safe in it. It could be a crate, a playpen, or a room with a closed door.
This will minimize the chance of any damage if your dog exhibits destructive behavior.
If you’re going to be gone all day, a closed crate might not be the best option as they may feel too confined.
Get Them Accustomed to Being Alone
Start by gradually leaving your Chi alone for short periods of time. This will help them get used to being alone and lessen the chances of developing separation anxiety.
Chihuahuas require at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. If you can take them for a 15-minute walk before you leave so they get some activity in before being left alone, that would benefit them greatly.
This will help to tire them out and make them more likely to take a nap and feel relaxed while you’re gone.
Then when you get home, you can take them for another 15-minute walk or have playtime.
That way, they’ll get their full 30 minutes of activity every day and you can get a much-needed bonding session with your pup.
Access to Food and Water
It’s crucial that you remember to leave out water for your dog and possibly food if you’ll be gone all day. A treat dispenser works well for snacks throughout the day and can keep your dog entertained.
If your dog tends to tip over their bowls, try raised food bowls or automatic food and water feeders.
Laying out pee pads in the house is a great idea. Chihuahuas have small bladders and may need to go more frequently than other breeds.
Training your Chihuahua to use pee pads will ensure you won’t arrive home to a mess. Maybe one day you get stuck in traffic or get held up at work and your dog can’t hold it any longer.
You won’t have to worry about them having an accident in the house if they’ve been trained to use pee pads.
Turn On Pet Camera
If you want to, you can also turn on a pet camera so you can check in on your Chihuahua throughout the day. This can give you peace of mind and let you see how they’re doing.
Put Things Away
Make sure your dog doesn’t have access to things they shouldn’t while you’re gone.
This includes items like trash cans, cords, cleaning products, chocolate, and anything else that could be harmful to them if they chewed or ingested it.
Check the Thermostat
Chihuahuas are very sensitive to the cold. Before leaving, check the thermostat to make sure it’s set to a comfortable temperature.
If it’s a chilly winter day, you may even want to put on a sweater on your Chi before leaving.
Turn on the TV
You may also want to leave the tv on for your Chihuahua or put on Youtube videos specifically for dogs. This can provide a soothing ambiance and keep them company while you’re gone.
By taking these precautions and preparing your home, you can help ensure that your Chihuahua stays safe and entertained while you’re away.
We hope this solved the question: can you leave a Chihuahua home alone?
Leaving a Chihuahua home alone can be a difficult decision to make. But, there are ways to prepare your dog for it and provide them with entertainment while you’re gone.
It’s important to choose a safe space for them, get them accustomed to being alone, and provide them with food, water, and toys.
With our tips, we hope you feel more confident about leaving your Chihuahua home alone!