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How Long Can Chihuahuas Be Left Alone? Do’s, Don’ts & Tips

Last Updated: December 17, 2023

Whenever my friend goes away for a couple of days, I get the chance to foster her 3 Chihuahuas. Sometimes, even a few hours of separation between her and the dogs turns worrisome. This is common with most Chihuahuas – they get finicky when left alone.

Does that mean you can never leave them alone? No! You should get the truth right. If you’re wondering how long Chihuahuas can be left alone, here you go.

Generally, adult Chihuahuas can be left alone for 4-6 hours, while puppies need more frequent visits and care due to their smaller bladders and need for socialization. During this separation time, Chihuahuas should be occupied with toys and engaging activities to keep their physical and mental stimulation levels up.

If you regularly go out for a few hours or go to work and have a Chihuahua at home, this article is exclusively for you. You just can’t skip this post if you’d like your petting to be right.

Interested to know more? Let’s get started!

How long can Chihuahuas be left alone?
How long can Chihuahuas be left alone?

How Long Can You Leave Chihuahuas Alone by Age?

Leaving a Chihuahua at home when you’re away comes with several cons. Depending on their age, you need to schedule your routine.

Let’s look at how the timing differs according to age.

Young Puppies

Newborn Chihuahua puppies are extremely fragile, and leaving them alone can be dangerous. They require constant care and attention, and being left alone may lead to various health problems.

In a research study published about the effects of leaving Chihuahuas alone, several behavioral problems were identified. In fact, this led to long-term problematic behaviors, which made parenting more complex for pet owners.

Below is a table showing the maximum time for your little Chi puppy to be left alone according to age.

Age of Chihuahua PuppyMaximum Time Left Alone
2-3 months1-2 hours
3-4 months2-3 hours
4-6 months3-4 hours
How long Chihuahua puppies can be left alone

Adolescent Dogs

Adolescent Chihuahuas are those between the ages of 6 months and 1 year. They can be left alone longer than younger puppies because they are more independent and have learned some basic socialization skills. However, you should still be cautious and not leave them alone for more than 4-5 hours at a time.

But why?

A research study analyzing the association between the relationship with owners and separation anxiety identified that Chihuahuas (and other breeds) experience severe separation anxiety when left alone for several hours. The development of this condition can further lead to other complications in cognitive, physical, and mental aspects.


Adult Chihuahuas are self-reliant and have a higher tolerance for being left alone compared to their younger counterparts. A well-trained and socialized adult Chihuahua can be left alone for up to 6 hours.

But it’s not for every adult Chihuahua out there!

“If your Chi is undergoing a health complication, you should prioritize arranging a caretaker. I’ve seen how one of my friend’s Chihuahuas constantly demands attention.”

Senior Chihuahuas

The age range for senior Chihuahuas is typically 8 years and older. As they age, they may face various health issues and require more care and attention from their owners.

You shouldn’t leave senior Chihuahuas alone for more than 2 hours at a time. Regular health check-ups and proper care can help ensure their well-being in their golden years.

Note that this isn’t the case just with this breed. Even big dog breeds, such as German Shepherds, or Cane Corsos, should never be left alone when they reach the senior stage.

Two Chihuahuas In Dog Bed. How Long Can You Leave Chihuahuas Alone by Age?

So, How Long Can Chihuahuas Be Left Alone, Legally?

There are no specific laws regarding leaving Chihuahuas alone, but general pet welfare laws may apply. These regulations often require pet owners to provide adequate care, food, water, and shelter for their pets. The maximum time left alone for Chihuahuas may vary depending on your location and local guidelines.

If I were to tell you the exact time, it could be 2-6 hours, depending on the age, health needs (such as your Chi being in heat), attachment style, and temperament of the Chihuahua.

Proper socialization, training, and care can help reduce separation anxiety and stress, making it easier for both you and your Chihuahua.

How to Leave a Chihuahua Alone at Home

As a Chihuahua owner, you must prepare your dog for the first time you leave them alone at home. Chihuahuas can be left alone for extended periods, but the exact time depends on their age and personality.

To make the experience less stressful for you and your dog, consider the following key points before leaving your Chihuahua alone.

Create a Safe Space: Designate a comfortable area for your dog, such as a crate, playpen, or a specific room. This will prevent them from having accidents or getting into trouble while you’re away. Ensure they have their bed, toys, food, and water in this area.

Gradual Training: Start by leaving your dog alone for short periods and gradually increase the duration over time. This will help them get used to being alone and reduce their anxiety.

For puppies, the maximum time they should be left alone is about 1-4 hours, as they require frequent bathroom breaks and social interaction. Adult Chihuahuas can generally be left alone for 5-6 hours, but it’s based on your dog’s specific needs.

Here’s a video from Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution on how to train a dog to stay alone in the house. Of course, it applies to Chihuahuas as well. Set some time aside to watch this video:

Exercise and Mental Stimulation: Before leaving your Chihuahua alone, ensure they’ve had plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation. A well-exercised and mentally engaged dog will be more likely to relax and sleep while you’re away.

Using Treats and Toys: Provide your dog with toys and treats that will keep them occupied while you’re gone. Puzzle toys filled with their favorite treats are an excellent way to keep your Chihuahua entertained and prevent boredom.

Avoid Over-Attachment: It’s essential to teach your Chihuahua that being alone is a normal part of their routine. Allow them to spend some time alone while you’re at home so they don’t become too dependent on your presence.

Pro Tip! Always monitor their behavior and adjust your routine as needed to ensure your Chihuahua stays happy when you’re away.

Solutions When Leaving Your Chihuahuas Alone

It isn’t uncommon to have a sudden meeting or an emergency that demands you to step out of your home. In that case, it can get messy just thinking if your Chihuahua can settle alone.

Based on my experience, I can tell you that you can leave your Chi alone at home without a second thought, but it needs certain preparatory elements.

Here’s a list of possible solutions:

  • Physical exercise
  • Mental stimulation
  • Crate training
  • Comfortable environment
  • Dog walker or pet sitter
  • Playtime
  • Independent training
  • Puppy socialization
  • Companionship

Let’s explore these further:

Exercise is crucial for maintaining your Chihuahua’s energy levels and overall health. Ensure they have adequate exercise before you leave, as a tired dog is more likely to rest and be calm while you’re away. This is also a way to address the picky eating behavior of Chihuahuas.

Mental stimulation helps keep your Chihuahua engaged and prevents boredom. Provide puzzle toys, chew toys, or treat dispensers to entertain them and stimulate their minds while they’re alone.

Crate training can be an effective way to provide a secure, den-like environment for your Chihuahua when you’re not home. Gradually introduce crate training and make it a positive experience so they feel comfortable resting inside.

Here’s a crate suggestion for your little one. It’s just perfect for your little Chihuahua…

Creating a comfortable and safe environment is essential for your Chihuahua’s well-being. Designate a specific area or room with a comfy bed, fresh water, and their favorite toys where they feel secure while alone.

Hiring a dog walker or pet sitter can provide your Chihuahua with the attention, exercise, and companionship they need when you’re not available. This service can also help with maintaining their routine and potty breaks.

Don’t forget about playtime when you’re home. It strengthens your bond with your Chihuahua, tires them out, and helps maintain their social skills.

Independent training can help your Chihuahua be more comfortable with alone time. Practice leaving and returning home without making a fuss to gradually teach them that you will always come back and that it’s okay to be alone.

Puppy socialization is crucial for your Chihuahua’s development. Expose them to various environments, people, and other animals, which helps build their confidence and independence.

Consider providing companionship in the form of another pet. Having a playmate can keep your Chihuahua entertained and give them a sense of security while you’re away. However, ensure they get along well and have their space when needed.

Providing companionship has simplified my friend’s job. As I’ve got a German Shepherd at home, it has always been a cakewalk for her Chihuahuas to gel with my GSD and have fun with common toys and treats.

Chihuahua Having Belly Rub
Molly enjoying a belly tickle

How to Entertain Your Chihuahuas While You’re Gone

Going out? You’ve decided to leave your little one alone for some time. You may worry about keeping your little friend entertained while you’re away from home. No need to stress, though!

There are various ways to ensure that your Chihuahua stays happy and engaged even when home alone. Here are some budget-friendly and effective options to consider.

  • Firstly, invest in a variety of toys that cater to your Chihuahua’s specific interests and play styles. Some examples include puzzle toys that dispense treats, chew toys, or plush toys for cuddling. Rotate the toys every few days to keep your dog’s environment engaging and fresh.
  • Next, make sure your Chihuahua has access to water throughout the day. A pet water fountain, such as the Petwell Drinksafe, from Amazon, is a great way to ensure that your dog has clean, fresh water available while creating an engaging environment for them to explore.
  • If possible, provide a window view for your Chihuahua so they can observe the outside world. Be sure that the window is secure, with a comfortable perch or cushion for them to sit on. This helps to stimulate their senses while allowing them to feel more connected with their surroundings.
  • Playing soothing sounds, such as classical music or nature sounds, can create a calming atmosphere for your Chihuahua when home alone. Leaving the TV or radio on at a low volume may help to keep them company, but be careful not to rely on this as the only form of entertainment.
  • Consider arranging for a dog walker to visit during the day, especially if you’ll be gone longer than a couple of hours. A brief walk or play session provides both physical exercise and necessary companionship for your small dog.
  • Another option is to establish a calming spot in your home, such as a comfortable bed or crate with soft blankets, where your Chihuahua can relax and feel safe while you’re away. Familiar scents, like a piece of your clothing, can provide additional comfort.
  • Introducing a second pet – preferably another Chihuahua – can also be beneficial, as your pets can keep each other company and provide mutual stimulation. However, you must ensure that both dogs have compatible temperaments and have been properly socialized before leaving them alone together.
  • I’d also suggest investing in an interactive CCTV remote camera that lets you monitor and talk no matter where you are. This lets your little one believe that you’re around and calms them down in no time.

Here’s one I like and use for my dog:

What Happens if You Leave a Chihuahua Alone for Too Long?

Leaving your Chihuahua alone for extended periods can significantly impact their physical and mental well-being. Chihuahuas are social animals that require regular interaction and engagement with their owners. When left alone for too long, they may exhibit symptoms of stress, anxiety, and frustration.

Here are some signs and symptoms you may observe in your Chihuahua if they’re left alone for extended periods:

  • Excessive Barking: Chihuahuas are known to be vocal dogs, and barking can increase if they’re feeling anxious or bored. Excessive barking may disturb neighbors and cause additional stress to your pet. This is exactly when separation anxiety gets triggered and leads to a host of problems, as mentioned by the ASPCA.
  • Chewing and Biting: Boredom and anxiety can lead to destructive behaviors in dogs, such as chewing on furniture or biting their paws. This can damage your belongings and be harmful to your dog’s health.
  • Increased Energy Levels: A Chihuahua left alone may have pent-up energy that leads to hyperactivity once you return home. Ensure they get proper exercise to keep their energy levels in balance. The American Kennel Club states that addressing these signs when you’re available will help when you’re unavailable.
  • Loss of Appetite: Stress can cause dogs to lose interest in food or even become picky eaters. You should have a list of safe foods and unsafe foods for Chihuahuas to hand.
  • Digging: This behavior may occur if your Chihuahua is trying to escape from their environment. Be cautious about leaving them in your yard unattended for a long time, as they can potentially dig their way out.

Chihuahua owners often face practical issues such as work and other daily commitments that make it difficult to avoid leaving their dogs home alone. Thankfully, there are solutions to help monitor and maintain your Chihuahua’s well-being during these times.

Remember, it takes a long time for a Chihuahua to recover from separation anxiety once diagnosed with it. Unless you prep your Chihuahua, don’t take the risk of leaving him/her alone.

Fawn Chihuahua Sunbathing. Should You Leave Your Chihuahuas Inside or Outside?
Lily sunbathing

Should You Leave Your Chihuahua Inside or Outside?

Deciding whether to leave your Chihuahuas inside or outside when you’re away from home can be a tough choice. There are pros and cons to both options that may have an impact on your dog’s behavior and overall health.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of each choice.

Pros of Leaving Your Chihuahuas Inside:

  • Safety: Keeping your Chihuahuas inside ensures they’re protected from potential dangers like other animals, traffic, or theft.
  • Climate control: Inside, you can regulate the temperature, protecting your Chihuahua from extreme heat or cold, which can negatively affect their health.
  • Comfort: Your Chihuahua can enjoy their familiar dog bed and surroundings, providing them with a sense of security and comfort.
  • Less exposure to pests: Indoor Chihuahuas are less likely to encounter ticks, fleas, and other pests that can carry diseases or cause irritation.

Cons of Leaving Your Chihuahua Inside:

  • Boredom: Extended periods alone indoors can lead to boredom, potentially causing destructive chewing, barking, or other bad behaviors.
  • Separation anxiety: Some Chihuahuas may experience separation anxiety when left alone for too long, leading to behavioral problems and stress.
  • Lack of exercise: Without access to the outdoors, your Chihuahua may not get the vital exercise they need to maintain a healthy weight and well-being.

Pros of Leaving Your Chihuahua Outside:

  • Fresh air: Outdoor Chihuahuas benefit from the fresh air and natural sunlight, which can enhance their mood and overall health.
  • Room to explore: Having a spacious yard to explore can provide mental stimulation and physical exercise, curbing bad behavior caused by boredom.
  • Opportunity for socialization: If you have multiple Chihuahuas, they can keep each other company outside, fostering healthy companionship.

Cons of Leaving Your Chihuahua Outside:

  • Potential dangers: Chihuahuas left outside could face risks such as other animals, extreme weather, or theft, compromising their safety.
  • Lack of shelter: If adequate shelter is not provided, your Chihuahua may be exposed to harsh weather conditions, leading to potential health issues.
  • Exposure to pests: Chihuahuas kept outside are more vulnerable to ticks, fleas, and other pests that can spread illness or irritate them.

Be sure to weigh the pros and cons carefully and always consider your Chihuahuas’ well-being and safety when making decisions about their care.

3 Chihuahuas Sat On Beanbag
My friend’s 3 Chihuahuas, Poppy, Lily, and Molly

If you ask me, I keep my friend’s Chihuahuas indoors or outdoors depending on the external climate and their energy levels.

For example, during the day, in the heat of summer, they stay indoors. When the external temperature drops, I let them play in the garden with an option to enter the home anytime. This has made them feel excited to visit my home.


Do Chihuahuas get sad when you leave?

Yes, Chihuahuas can get sad when you leave since they are a very attached breed. They form strong bonds with their owners and can become lonely and upset when left alone. To avoid stress, gradually train your Chihuahua to become comfortable with short periods of separation.

Do Chihuahuas have separation anxiety?

Chihuahuas are prone to separation anxiety due to their strong attachment to their owners. Signs of separation anxiety can include excessive barking, destructive behavior, and house soiling. If your Chihuahua exhibits these behaviors, consider seeking help from a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

Can Chihuahuas be left alone in a crate?

Chihuahuas can be left alone in a crate for short periods but should not be left for longer than 4 hours at a time. Ensure the crate is comfortable and safe, with enough room for your dog to stand up, turn around, and lie down. Also, provide fresh water, a comfortable bed, and some chew toys to help ease any anxiety.

Do Chihuahuas have worse separation anxiety than other breeds?

While Chihuahuas are known for being prone to separation anxiety, it can affect any dog breed. Some dogs might be more likely to develop separation anxiety due to their individual personalities, breed characteristics, or past experiences.

Let’s Wrap This Up!

When you need to leave your Chihuahua alone, you have to take the necessary precautions to ensure they’re okay. Following these guidelines will help you create a comfortable environment for your furry friend and make your time away as stress-free as possible for both of you.

Let’s recap!

First off, create a safe space for your Chihuahua while you’re away. Set up a designated area for them, such as a playpen or crate, with their bed, toys, and water. Make sure the space is free from any hazards or potential escape routes. If your Chihuahua is crate-trained, this can be an excellent way to keep them secure and comfortable.

Keep your Chihuahua mentally and physically stimulated before you leave. Give them a good walk or playtime to tire them out. This will help reduce the chances of them becoming anxious or bored while you’re gone. Also, consider providing puzzle toys or treat-dispensing toys to keep their minds engaged during your absence.

Ensure that you maintain a consistent schedule for your Chihuahua. Keeping to a feeding schedule, walking them, and giving them attention at the same times each day will help them anticipate your return, reducing potential anxiety from being left alone. Also, don’t make a big fuss when leaving or coming home, as this can create additional stress.

To help monitor your Chihuahua while you’re away, consider using a pet camera. These devices can allow you to check in on your dog and communicate with them, providing much-needed peace of mind and reducing the chances of any emergencies going unnoticed.

Happy pet parenting!

Sharon Waddington
Sharon Waddington is the founder of World of Dogz. With over 30 years of experience working with dogs, this former Police Officer has seen it all. But it’s her trusty German Shepherd, Willow, who steals the show as the inspiration behind this website. As Sharon’s constant companion Willow has played a pivotal role in shaping her passion for dogs. Recently, Sharon has become deeply passionate about the plight of rescue dogs and is an active advocate for dog rescue, striving to make a difference in the lives of dogs in need.

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