How Often Do Dogs Need to Pee?

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By Pet Expert Team
Updated: 7/17/20242-4 minutes
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We all need to pee, that’s a fact of life. However, whereas we can just head to the bathroom to relieve ourselves when we need, it’s not that simple for our dogs. They can’t tell us when they have to go, and so they have to rely on us to know when to let them out to do their business to avoid accidents in the house.

But, how often do dogs need to pee? Should you be letting your four-legged friend out more often than you already do? And what about puppies?

Keep reading to find out how often you should take your dog or puppy out to pee.

How Often Does a Dog Need to Pee?

To put it simply, all dogs are different, and may have differing needs at different times. As a very rough rule of thumb, adult dogs generally need to go three to five times a day – although smaller dogs may need to go more frequently.

For example, overweight or obese dogs may need to pee more. There are also some medications which may cause more frequent urination, as well as health conditions such as diabetes which can influence how many times they need to go to the bathroom. As a dog ages, their urination needs may change too.

Additionally, smaller breeds such as Chihuahuas have much smaller bladders than a larger dog like a Labrador, so you’ll need to take this into account also.

You should also never make your dog wait too long, not only is this very uncomfortable for them, but it can also increase the risk of them developing some bladder or kidney problems and urinary tract infections – as well as causing stress.

How Often Should a Puppy Pee?

Puppies pee a lot! Puppies really can’t wait very long to pee because their bladder is still so small, and their digestive systems aren’t fully developed. When puppies are really small (less than one month) they will normally need to go hourly, with this becoming less frequent as they get older; however, it all depends on the individual puppy.

A puppy will need to pee every time they wake up from sleeping, after every meal and every drink, and usually after or during play or a game. Also, every puppy has their own tell-tale signs when they need a pee (circling, sniffing in corners, whining etc.).

In addition, they should be taken out every hour (if they are awake!). This will prevent accidents in the house from you expecting them to hold on for too long – and most importantly, it will give you plenty of opportunities to reward them for going in the right place. This is the very best way to fast track your puppy’s toilet training. This is why you always go with your puppy – and not just let them out on their own.

As they get older, you will get a better sense of your own puppy’s habits, and when you need to take them outside.

Most puppies will not be able to go through the night without a bathroom break (especially smaller breeds), and so to start with, you should get up in the middle of the night to take them out. Once again, as they age and develop (and get used to holding on a little bit more), this can be reduced until you are both getting a good night’s sleep.

How Often Should a Senior Dog Pee?

As with puppies, some senior dogs also can’t hold their bladder for very long. This causes many owners to get frustrated as they think they “forget” how to hold it properly, but you shouldn’t blame or punish them. It’s really not their fault!

When we get older it’s common for us to struggle to hold our bladders and have little accidents and it’s the exact same for your dog too. The general guide is senior dogs should be let out to go every four to six hours, but again, this will depend on their breed, weight and if any health issues are present. Other older dogs are more reluctant to get up and move, and so don’t drink enough water – and so don’t pee as much as they are dehydrated. Make sure they have easy access to water where they lie down (without having to get up) – and take them out every few hours.

Spayed dogs can also sometimes develop a condition called urinary sphincter mechanism incontinence (USMI) when they get older. This is where they are not able to hold the urine as they could before and so small amount may start to dribble out, especially when they are lying down. If you notice your dog is urinating inappropriately, it’s always worth speaking to your vet as many conditions, such as USMI, are treatable with medication.

What if I’m Going to Be Out All Day?

If you’re going to be out all day and can’t get home to let your dog out, you should either ask a friend or family member to pay a visit or hire a pet sitter or dog walker. Dogs should never be made to hold their bladder for too long, as this can cause health issues and ultimately, it’s not fair for them as holding their pee for long periods can be extremely uncomfortable as well as highly stressful. And, if you frequently work all day and can’t be home to let your dog out to pee and give them the attention they need, it’s a good idea to look into doggy day-care.

Is My Dog Urinating Too Much?

Frequent urination is not always a cause to worry, but sometimes it can be a sign that something is wrong, especially if it is unusual for your dog, comes on suddenly or is paired with other symptoms. If your dog is weeing very frequently and it’s paired with the following symptoms, take them to the vet as soon as possible:

  • Straining or showing signs of discomfort when urinating
  • Producing urine that is an unusual color such as red or dark red
  • Producing urine that has an unusual smell
  • Excessive drinking with no obvious reason
  • Unusual urinating in inappropriate places
  • Dribbling urine
  • Licking around their back end excessively or rubbing their bottom along the floor

That’s our guide to how often dogs need to pee! Remember that each dog is different, and all will have different urination requirements. It’s a good idea to let your dog out regularly, and keep an eye on the signs that your dog needs to pee, such as circling, sniffing, whining, going to the door etc. If you need further support, or have further questions, contact your vet for advice.

 

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