Animals that can be left alone for 12 hours

Top 16 Pets That Can Be Left Home Alone While You’re Away

USA Today says most experts agree that a dog shouldn’t be left alone more than 8 to 10 hours, at most. And most dogs can’t even last that long. They need to be walked, fed, and interacted with throughout the day. But some pets can be left alone for more extended periods. Keep reading to find out more about pets that can stay home alone for 12 hours or so while you are at work or school.

There are plenty of pets that are just fine with a little bit of solitude. Pets that can live alone while you are away include cats, hermit crabs, tarantulas, lizards, snakes, fish, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, turtles, hedgehogs, and even sea monkeys. These low-maintenance pets are fun to watch and interact with without being needy.

This article will talk about pets that can be left alone for the better part of a day. Then, we’ll explain why they make good pets and how they’ll do when you’re not there. Let’s start with one of my favorite pets: cats.



Cats are well known for their independent and somewhat aloof personalities. But not all cats are quite as independent as others! For example, my own kitty doesn’t like to be left home alone for more than a day, although many vets say that mature cats can be safely left home alone for up to 24 hours, provided they have plenty of food and fresh water as well as access to a litter box.

If you are gone all day at work, your kitty should be just fine, as they love to sleep. But do give them extra bowls of water just in case one spills.

If your cat is like mine, he’ll do just fine on his own even though he prefers I never leave.



If you like things that are cute and fuzzy and easy to manage, you might love a little hamster. Our little hamster lived to a ripe old age despite many minor breakouts when the kitty tracked him down!

Hamsters are mainly nocturnal, which means they sleep during the day and are awake at night. This nighttime behavior is good news for those of us needing a low-key pet that we can leave home alone all day; a sleeping hamster won’t even notice we’re gone.

If you need to leave your hamster home alone, make sure they have fresh water and food and are safely locked in their cage.



Gerbils, like hamsters, are entertaining little critters. But they’re also social, so if you leave your home alone, you’ll want to make sure they have a cage-mate. Gerbils do best in pairs, so they don’t get lonely without you.

That being said, you can technically leave your pet gerbils for up to a week, if necessary, at least according to Whether you’re leaving them home for a few hours or a few days, you’ll need to ensure they have access to the essentials: food, water, warmth, and safe housing.

Gerbils like it warm, so keep their enclosure in a warm room of your home, so they don’t catch a chill. Being too cold could make your gerbils sick or worse. Also, these little Houdini’s are great escape artists, and you certainly don’t want them getting out and getting lost when you’re not home. So they need an enclosure that will keep them safely inside (and keep your kitty out!).

Gerbils eat about a teaspoon of food per day. They may not seem to drink much, but water is critical, so it’s a good idea to set up two water bottles for when you’re not home. That way, if one leaks or stops working, your little furballs will still be able to access their water.

Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crabs

Hermit crabs have a surprisingly long life span – up to 30 years under ideal conditions. explains that hermit crabs can be left alone for up to a week, provided they have access to food and, especially, water.

If you are going to leave your hermit crabs home alone, the water bowl is critical. It needs to be large enough that it won’t evaporate quickly, but it also needs to be shallow enough that your crabs can crawl out and not drown. You may want to experiment when you can keep an eye on them until you find just the right water container for your setup. Also, make sure your crabs can’t escape their enclosure and get lost and keep your other pets away.

So if you need to leave your crab home alone during the day, you don’t need to worry at all! Just make sure they have enough moisture, appropriate temperatures, and plenty of food.



If cute and fuzzy pets aren’t your thing, but you need a pet that you can leave alone for an extended period of time, you might just love a tarantula. I doubt you’ll be cuddling a tarantula before you go to bed at night, but they are fascinating creatures to watch.

Tarantulas don’t eat frequently, and in fact, according to, these creepy-esque pets can last months, even up to a year, without eating when they are fully grown. However, they do need a water source, so if you’re going to leave your 8-legged friend alone for a while, make sure it can get plenty of water.



A lizard will most likely be just fine staying home alone for the day, but any longer than that really depends on the type of lizard and how much care it needs. For example, some lizards need fresh vegetables daily, and others can go longer without eating. Another caveat, most lizards also need a heat source to stay warm. Make sure they have a safe source of heat that isn’t a fire risk.

In this video, Adam talks about the top 5 reptiles you can leave home alone for a week, including two special types of lizard. However, he recommends that someone gives a quick check on your lizard friends every couple of days, even if they don’t need to do anything. He says you can leave the following two lizards home alone:

  • Dumerils Boa
  • Leopard Gecko



On the other hand, Snakes are a little easier to manage while you’re away. According to, snakes have a slow metabolism. So not only are they fine to leave alone while you’re at work, you can leave them home alone for up to a week or two. has a check sheet for you to follow in case you need to leave your no-footed critter home for a bit. This check sheet lists access to clean water, putting your heat source on a power strip for safety and feeding your slithery friend two days before you leave. If you follow these protocols, your pet snake should be just fine for an extended period of time.



Fish are a workaholic’s best friend! If you are gone extended hours every day, you might want to stick to a goldfish for a pet. They don’t need long walks, they won’t be bugging you to play fetch, and they don’t need much food, either.

Although some exotic or saltwater fish species need more intensive care, a typical goldfish is easy, and you can leave them home alone for long periods of time without worrying.

If you do need to be gone for a few days, you can purchase slow-release feeder blocks for your fish.



Mice can be left home alone for a day or two, so there are no worries about them being home while you work. But, like any pet, they need food, shelter, and of course, water.

Female mice can be kept in pairs or trios, so they don’t get lonely, but male mice will fight if kept with other males. And if you keep them with females, well, you’ll have a whole colony of mice before you know it!

Most mice only live about six months, so you might not have to worry about leaving them alone on vacation. However, they might live up to a year or even two under perfect conditions! So if you do leave your mice home alone, you need to know that they can dehydrate easily. To prevent this, keep two water sources in their enclosure and make absolutely sure they can’t get out!



Your pet rat can be left alone for up to a weekend, but any longer than that puts them at risk for illness. Rats are highly susceptible to getting sick from a build-up of urine in their cage, so leaving them for longer than a weekend without a cage cleaning can be dangerous and disastrous.

If you’re just going to be gone for the day, make sure your intelligent little buddy has plenty of food, fresh water, and things to do, and he’ll be just fine.



If your rabbit is kept in a hutch, you can probably leave it home alone overnight. However, rabbits are pretty dependent on their owners for food, water, shelter, and companionship, so you don’t want to leave them alone for longer than this.

Remember to keep your bunny safe while you’re gone, and make sure they can’t chew on electric wires or get lost when you’re not there. A large cage or hutch is the safest place for your bunbun when you can’t keep your eyes on him.

Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pigs

Some of the most loving rodents, guinea pigs, are sweet and adorable. But cavies can’t be left alone longer than a day. However, if you’re just gone for a 12-hour workday, your fluffy friend should be just fine.

Cavies are extremely dependent on the owners, and they are very susceptible to illness, dehydration, and other problems. So if you’re going to be gone any longer than 12 to 24 hours, have someone check in on them and give them a little love, food, and water.



If you love chickens, you’re in for a treat because they are very easy to care for. I can leave my pet chickens home alone for several nights without having to hire a chicken-sitter, so if you’re just going to be gone for the day, it is no big deal.

Here’s what you need to know, though.

Your chickens need plenty of food, water, and shelter while you’re gone. My chickens have a large pen and an automatic door. They don’t need me to let them out in the morning or lock them up at night. I make sure to give them extra buckets of water and food so they don’t run out, and I have a Wi-Fi camera to check on them throughout the day.

Chickens are pretty good at finding food for themselves, too, as they love to eat bugs, veggies, and even small animals they come across.


Turtle says that turtles can last 160 days without food in the wild. Some turtles will even enter a form of hibernation, where their metabolism slows down, and they don’t really need to eat at all.

This makes turtles a great pet for people who are gone for long periods or who love to take vacations. If you’re going to be gone up to a week, you may want to invest in an automatic feeder or put some feeder fish in the water of your turtle’s enclosure. It will give them both entertainment and supper!



If it is legal to have a hedgehog as a pet in your state, they make great pets for people who are gone during the day.

When I had my pet hedgehog, I could leave him home alone for a few days and, of course, while I was away at work. So I made sure he had enough warmth, as well as plenty of food and several bowls of water spread out throughout his cage. This way, if he accidentally knocked one of his bowls over, he’d still have access to more.

Sea Monkeys


If you aren’t home very often but still are in need of a pet, you might just consider some sea monkeys. Sea Monkeys are a tiny form of brine shrimp that you can raise in a tiny aquarium on your kitchen counter.

The beauty of sea monkeys is they take very little work. Since they only need fed about once every five days, you can leave them alone for days at a time, if needed. Sea Monkeys are relaxing to watch, and if your tank conditions are right, they will continue to breed, so you’ll always have a supply of little monkeys to enjoy.

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