As humans, we all can understand the urge we feel when it comes to nature’s call, so there is no need to think that the situation is different for our tail wagers. So, how long can a dog go without peeing? This question is essential for those dog owners who leave for day-long work or enjoy traveling with their furry friends.
Not every dog owner has a dog door providing access to the backyard where their dog can go at any time and relieve himself. Many working dog owners are apartment-dwellers, and when they get stuck at work, they start to wonder if their furry friend would have made a mess or would he still be holding his pee until they get back home.
How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee?
You can expect your adult dog (1 to 8 years old) to hold his pee for around 8 hours; for senior dogs (above 8 years), the holding power could be anywhere between 2 to 6 hours, depending on their health and size. As far as puppies are concerned, their holding power is 1 hour per month—so a 4-month-old puppy would be able to hold it for 4 hours and a 3-year-old puppy for 3 hours.
That said, you should never make your dog hold its pee for longer periods unless there is an emergency.
Keep in mind that, on average, a dog needs to go out to pee after every 6 to 8 hours. It means you need to take your puppy out to pee at least 4 to 5 times a day to prevent any accident in your house.
How Long Can a Small Dog Hold Its Pee?
Smaller and younger dogs need to pee more often than adult and large dog breeds. According to Humane Society, the ability of a puppy to hold its pee is directly proportional to its age—it’s one hour for every month of age.
You will even have to take your puppy out for peeing, even during the night, at least until it is over 14 to 16 weeks old. After that, with house training, your dog will be able to sleep through the night without having an accident.
Factors Affecting the Peeing Habits of Dogs
A few factors can help a dog owner decide how long a dog can go without peeing and what is and isn’t the tentative amount of time your furry friend can hold his pee. These factors are given below:
Age is one of the most important factors that is affecting the urinary health of dogs. As discussed above, pups need to go out to pee more often because they have smaller and underdeveloped bladders, rendering them unable to control pee for longer times. Besides, they drink more water than adult dogs.
On the other hand, a young and healthy dog can control his pee for much longer. Still, as he gets older, he will be unable to hold his pee for this long and would need to urinate more frequently. Because the muscles of the bladder that contract to hold and release bladder start weakening and may lose their control as the dog gets older.
The below table shows how long can a dog hold its pee at a certain age.
|Time for which they can hold pee
|0 – 1month old
|Can pee at anytime
|2 months old
|1 – 2 hours
|3-4 months old
|3 – 4 hours
|5-6 months old
|5 – 6 hours
|7-8 months old
|7 – 8 hours
|8 months – adulthood
|Around 8 hours
|Above 8 years
|3 – 4 hours
2. Breed or Size
If your dog belongs to a smaller dog breed like Pocket Pitbull and Corgi puppies, he will require more frequent pee and potty breaks. This is because small dogs have small bladders and thus lower holding capabilities. Similarly, teacup dog breeds will have even lower holding capacity. Also, the small dogs mark their territory more often while peeing, so they might ask you to take them out more frequently.
3. Diet and Hydration
Dog diet plays a vital role in the urinary habits of dogs. Not only does consumption of more water cause dogs to pee more frequently, but a diet containing high contents of water, like raw and wet foods, will cause a dog to pee more frequently. Dogs having less intake of water in their diet will urinate less.
Health is the most important factor in deciding how long can a dog hold its pee. If a dog is healthy, he can hold pee for a longer duration as compared to a sick dog. Certain medical conditions can also influence the frequency of urination.
The most common diseases that cause dogs to pee more frequently are urinary tract infection, kidney stones, cancer, etc. Sometimes pet medicines also affect bladders.
Medications like diuretics or steroids stimulate water in a dog’s body; therefore, they pee more than usual. If your puppy is on any of these medications and is peeing more, consider this an effect of these medicines.
6. Lack of Physical Activity
When your canine buddy does not get enough exercise, he will pee more often. For example, a Victorian Bulldog, who is not getting enough physical exercise, will pee more frequently as compared to the one who tends to be more active.
Obesity is a big problem in the dog world; as dogs become obese, they will be less active and pee more because they eat and drink during the day all day long with little to no physical activity. Encouraging your furry friend to lose weight will help control this problem.
Triggers of Frequent Urination in Dogs
You may sometimes wonder why your pup is urinating more often than usual; dogs have many reasons for frequent urination. For example, fear and anxiety can cause unexpected urination. Furthermore, a lot of health issues can also lead to frequent accidents—dog peeing in the house. Some of these medical problems that make a dog urinate more often are listed below:
- Psychological or behavioral problems
- Side effects of medication
- Electrolyte imbalance
- Other hormonal disorders
- Polyuria and Pollakiuria
- Kidney failure
Harmful Effects of Making Dogs Hold Their Pee
Unlike humans, dogs can’t communicate their need to pee; therefore, veterinarians suggest that you should never make your doggy hold its pee for more than six hours because holding pee for a long time can cause severe health issues. Once in a while won’t harm your dog, but constantly forcing a dog to hold its pee for a long time can be detrimental to your dog’s health.
a. Urinary Tract Infection
In some cases, if a dog holds its pee for too long, it will cause bacteria in its urinary tract to multiply, leading to the development of urinary tract infection. Bacteria present in dogs’ urinary tract are thrown out with urination, but in the case of a dog holding its pee for longer times, bacteria start multiplying, which in turn causes UTI. This condition will make your dog urinate over and over again until you treat him with antibiotics.
Symptoms of UTI can include
- Frequent urination
- Bloody or colored urine
- Licking of genitals
- Strong or foul-smelling urine
Pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen
b. Kidney Problems
If your dog is continuing to hold its pee for longer times and the urinary tract infection is not treated on time, it can result in kidney infection. Similarly, if this infection is not treated at the earliest, it will cause a kidney shut down (renal failure), and your furry friend can eventually die from it. A few signs to notice for kidney failures in dogs are
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Change in volume and frequency of urination
• Decreased appetite
• Unexplained weight loss
• Blood in urine
c. Bladder Stones
Bladder stones usually develop as a complication of a bladder infection caused by bacteria that produce an enzyme known as urease. It may lead to urine stoppage as one of the stones may block the urinary tract. Surgery will become a necessity to remove the bladder stones. If you allow your dog to urinate regularly (every 4 to 6 hours), there will be no time for bacteria growth or those enzymes that help crystallize your dog’s urine.
d. Urine Incontinence
Incontinence will develop when your dog’s bladder muscles lose elasticity and can’t hold pee for more extended periods. This problem usually occurs in adult dogs, especially if they have spent years going hours without peeing. This way, their bladder becomes exceptionally enlarged due to holding pee for long hours. In severe cases, surgery should be done to reposition the bladder’s neck.
e. Urinary Bladder Cancer
Some vets and dog experts are very strict about how long a dog can go without peeing because the carcinogens present in urine and the urinary tract can lead to some types of urinary cancer. Although the risk is quite less, still it should not be neglected. It can be problematic for our pets.
What to Do if a Dog Is Not Peeing?
The condition in which a dog has difficulty or is unable to pass urine is called urinary retention. Numerous factors can cause urinary retention in dogs.
The major causes for dogs’ inability to urinate are urinary tract infection, prostate disease, cancer, and damaged urinary bladder or urethra tissues. The symptoms may include
• Urine that flows in spurts
• Blood in the urine
• Licking of the urinary opening
• Low appetite
• Tender abdominal area
• Disinterest in normal activities
If you notice any of the above symptoms in your dog, you must take him to the vet as soon as possible. In some cases, it can be life-threatening.
Final Verdict: How Long Can a Dog Go without Peeing?
While an adult dog can go without peeing from 6 to 8 hours, a senior dog can only go somewhere between 2 to 6 hours, and for small dogs, the ability to hold their pee is proportionate to their age—one hour for every month of age.
Needless to say, dogs shouldn’t be made to hold their pee for longer periods, and if they have an accident, you should not scold them or punish them—they are not responsible for what they have done.