How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 6 Factors That Affect How Long Your Dog Can Hold Its Pee

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how long can dogs hold their pee

Dogs can hold their pee for up to 10-12 hours. However, this doesn’t mean that they should because it’s not good for them. Vets recommend that dogs should pee 3-5 times per day which is at least every 6-8 hours.

If you have to travel with your dog for longer distances or have to leave the dog home alone, you need to understand your dog’s bathroom needs.

So, how long can dogs hold their pee? While 6-8 hours is the minimum recommendation, some dogs are comfortable holding pee for longer. In addition, various factors affect how long your pup can hold.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? Here Are Some Factors

How long your dog can hold its pee depends on more factors. Below, we will talk more about each of these factors:

Size

Smaller dogs need more frequent bathroom breaks than larger dog breeds. This happens because these smaller breeds have a tiny bladder that fills up quickly.

An average healthy dog produces 10-20 ml of urine for each pound of body weight; therefore, if your dog is 6 pounds, it will produce approximately half a cup of pee per day.

However, this doesn’t mean that all larger dog breeds can hold pee for longer. Every dog is different. Therefore, it still depends on potty training habits and personality. Keep in mind that your dog might surpass or fall below this average.

In addition, larger dog breeds will need more toilet breaks as puppies because of their size.

Age

Age is one of the most common factors that affect how long your dog holds their pee. Compared to most adult dogs, puppies and adolescent dogs have less capacity to hold pee.

Younger dogs who aren’t potty trained are still developing and have underdeveloped urinary tract systems and bladders; therefore, they won’t manage to hold their pee for longer. The muscles that control the bladder have also not developed at this stage.

Some puppies will also need more bathroom breaks than others. This is why you should potty train to help build these muscles and train your dog to control the bladder. 

A general rule of thumb is that your puppy can hold their pee for an hour for every month old they are

They can now hold pee for 6-8 hours as they become adults, while others can push it to 10-12 hours. While the extended period is good for you as the pet owner, it increases your dog’s risk of developing health issues. 

Once the dog starts aging, they start having issues again in holding pee. Senior dogs about 8 to 10 years old will find it uncomfortable trying to hold pee. Therefore, you need to give your older dog more potty breaks every 3-4 hours.

In some cases, some senior dogs may need to pee more often than this. The frequency varies depending on the particular breed, weight, and health problems.

Not sure how much your dog should weigh? Read the article we wrote about How Heavy Should My Dog Be to learn more.

Senior dogs lose muscle control and start developing mobility and inflammation issues. They are also at a higher risk for kidney and liver problems, increasing their bathroom breaks.

Diet

The foods and drinks you give your dog also determine how long they can hold in the pee. If your pet is on a diet that mainly contains liquid foods, wet dog food, and any foods that contain moisture, they will have more potty breaks.

Dry kibble contains less moisture[1]; therefore, your dog won’t need to pee often. Furthermore, if you feed your pet foods high in salt or fatty proteins, they’ll become more thirsty and drink more fluids, hence peeing a little more.

An active dog that plays outside on a hot day will also drink more water, so you should expect them to pee more in the coming hours.

While hydration is good, ensure that it’s not overdone. In addition, if your dog’s pee is dark yellow, this could be a sign of dehydration, so you need to increase the moisture foods and add the water your dog drinks.

Health

If your dog has health problems such as kidney problems, diabetes, urinary tract infections, or weight problems, they are more likely to have more frequent urination.

The urination schedule is also disrupted by inflammations, cancer, mobility issues, muscle weakening, and kidney stones.

Additionally, some medications also have a diuretic effect and cause more bathroom breaks. 

If you are concerned that your pet is urinating more than usual, schedule an appointment with your vet as soon as possible to have the problem addressed. 

Training

A dog who stays inside the home for long while you are away at work will be better trained to hold urine than one that is let out more frequently.

While potty training, you can also train your dog how to have control over their bladder. Therefore, if your pet is going through frequent urination, the chances are that you have trained them to be that way.

Environment

Just like people, dogs also get uncomfortable in some situations. If your dog is on a long car ride or airplane trip, or you just moved into a new home, they might get stressed out and become uncomfortable peeing in an unusual spot.

When this happens, your pup will hold on to urine for more extended periods. 

What Happens If Dogs Hold Their Pee Too Long?

While most dogs will pee on their own accord, you might notice that your dog is holding the urine for longer than 12 hours. This is quite dangerous for your dog and might lead to the following problems:

Urinary tract infection

If your dog doesn’t pee for more than 12 hours, the bladder becomes full, and bacteria starts developing. This bacteria could remain in the urinary tract even after your pet urinates, causing a urinary tract infection (UTI).

When your dog develops a UTI, you have to get antibiotics from the vet to inhibit the bacteria growth and treat the infection.

Urinary stones

Apart from the UTI, your dog could also develop urinary stones. Holding pee for extended periods causes crystallization of stones which can cause extreme pain and life-threatening infections. 

To avoid further problems, avoid forcing your pet to hold in their pee for longer hours.

Urinary cancer

You also increase the chances of your dog developing urinary cancer. Carcinogens stay in your dog’s tract, which is dangerous for your pet. 

Incontinence

If your dog spends years holding in the pee, it will develop incontinence because the bladder gets distended from holding pee over a long period. This will affect your dog’s peeing schedule in the long run and make them uncomfortable.

These problems can reduce your dog’s life quality; therefore, it’s better to let them relieve themselves.

How To Encourage Your Dog To Hold Their Pee Longer

If you want to train your dog to hold their urine for more extended periods, here are some of the things you can do:

Crate training

Crate training helps your dog physically exercise their bladder muscles which determines how long they can hold their pee.

The puppy crate confines your pet to a small space that is basically their bed. In this situation, the dog will naturally try and hold the pee.

When planning your dog’s potty training, keep in mind that your dog will take time before attaining better control of its bladder.

Take your time and follow the age expectations to ensure that your puppy masters the training.

As part of crate training, stop your dog from eating and drinking a few hours before bedtime and ensure that your pup is totally exhausted before bedtime.

Teach your dog to pee on command

Like other forms of dog house training, you can also use commands to control your dog’s peeing habits. 

Teaching your dog to pee on command makes it easier to associate potty breaks with specific environments and words. This helps you gain more control and establish a regular pee schedule for your pet.

Using commands is quite helpful, especially for pet parents who have to leave their dogs at home for long hours or have to take road trips.

Establish a routine

To make it easier for your dog to hold their pee, you can establish a routine for them when they are still younger dogs. 

Some of the routines you can establish include taking your puppy outside frequently, at least every 2 hours. You can also pick a bathroom spot outside that your dog associates with a bathroom break.

To keep your puppy happy, introduce rewards and treats every time they pee outside. Ensure that you reward the dog before they come back indoors. This step is important in teaching your dog what’s expected of them.

Find them a spot in the house

For dogs that are unable to go outside frequently, you can find a designated spot in the house where your dog can relieve themselves without feeling any pressure.

This is ideal if you live in apartments or top floors where you can’t easily access the outdoors or a yard.

Limit water intake

If your dog is healthy, they need to drink about 1/8 of a cup (1 ounce) per pound of bodyweight every day. [2]

For the health of your dog, ensure that you keep the water intake within these limits. If you portion your dog’s water intake, your pet will likely hold their pee much longer.

You can train your dog to control their bladder by ensuring they don’t take too much water during the day.

If it’s too hot, you can portion your pet’s water intake and keep them hydrated by giving them ice cubes instead of water.

Add dry food

To encourage your dog to hold their pee for longer, you can switch the diet from wet foods to dry kibble.

Swap the regular diet to dry food that doesn’t contain too much salt. This way, you can monitor your dog’s water intake and ensure that you are not adding more moisture to the food.

How Often Should You Take Your Dog Out To Pee?

Since dogs should pee every 6-8 hours, you should take them out to pee 3-4 times per day. However, when the dogs are younger or at a senior stage, you should take them more frequently.

Here’s a quick guide you can use:

  • Puppy less than six months – 1-3 hours
  • Puppy older than six months – 2-6 hours
  • Adult dogs 8 months old – 6-8 hours
  • Adult dogs less than 7 years – 6-8 hours
  • Senior more than 7 years – 4-6 hours
  • Senior more than 12 years – 2- 4 hours

What Other Options Do You Have?

If you have a full-time job and are away from home for more than 8 hours, you need to have a backup plan for your dog. Here are some of the options that could work for your pet.

Pee Pads

pee pad

You can get disposable or washable puppy pads for your pet when you are away from home. These are critical, especially if your dog is kennel trained. Therefore, they can pee at any point without risking their bladder health.

Install a doggy door

doggy door

If your house has space and access to a yard, you should install a doggy door to allow the dog to go outside and relieve themselves.

This way, your pet can go in and out as they please, and you don’t have to worry about leaving them at home.

Indoor bathroom

dog potty

As part of potty training, you can teach your dog to use an indoor potty system when you are not home. This system comes in handy if you don’t have a fenced yard or compound where they can pee.

Get a dog sitter or walker

dog walker

There are tons of dog walking and sitting services. If you are at work all day, hire a professional to watch your dog, which is vital in maintaining a bathroom schedule.

Use doggy day care

dog daycare

If you can’t get a sitter, you can also leave your dog at a doggy daycare. Here your dog will be supervised, and they can take the necessary bathroom breaks.

Additionally, a daycare provides a fun environment for your pet to play with other dogs.

Take your dog to work

pet-friendly company

If you work for a pet-friendly company, you can take your puppy to work. Your dog won’t have to stay home alone, and you get to spend time together and maintain the regular potty schedule.

Use lunch breaks

This is a great option for pet parents that live close to the office. You can use your lunch break to come home and check in on your dog.

When on this break, you can let him out of the house for a bathroom break which keeps your pet comfortable.

Have an emergency pet contact

If you are caught up at work or in traffic, you can have an emergency contact such as your neighbor or local professional pet care provider to let your dog out before you get home.

A designated emergency contact is important because you’ll have peace of mind that your dog is well taken care of and your dog’s bathroom needs will be sorted out.

The Bottom Line

So, how long can dogs hold their pee? Dogs can hold their pee for about 6-8 hours, while others can for 10-12 hours. The frequency of bathroom breaks depends on different factors such as age, health, diet, and size of your dog.

You can train your dog how to hold on to their pee for longer if you are never home during the day or need to take long trips.

However, it’s not recommended to do this for extended periods to protect your dog from potential infections.

If your dog holds their pee for too long, they are at risk of UTIs, urinary cancer, and kidney stones. All these conditions can be dangerous and life-threatening for your dog.

Therefore, if you notice that your dog is peeing more frequently or less often, you need to schedule an appointment with the vet to determine whether there are any health problems. 

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Author
Diana Nadim
My name is Diana, a travel enthusiast, and a pet lover who believes that our animal friends deserve the best. I'm passionate about the well-being of animals, big or small. Through writing, I offer practical and helpful advice backed by research. I provide sources to the research data I find to ensure my readers always get the best and most accurate knowledge and information on the internet.

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