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How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 5 Factors Affecting It Discussed

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How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee

Most, if not all of us, spend the majority of our time away from home every day; and sometimes we even need to work long or inconsistent hours. So, as a dog owner, you may be wondering how long can dogs hold their pee.

This topic may concern you, especially if you don’t have a dog walker or someone you can trust who can take your dog out while you are at work.

Not surprisingly, this is a common question in the canine community. However, the answer is not as straightforward as the question.

There are several factors that influence how long dogs can hold their pee. And in this article, we are going to talk about the typical amount of time that your beloved pet can go without urinating or holding his pee, how frequently he urinates, and more.

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How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee?

The short answer is that a healthy dog can keep his urine for six to eight hours. It's important that dogs shouldn't go more than 10 hours without urinating. And because of this, dog owners should allow their pets to pee at least three to five times daily.

Dogs under the age of eight months can often retain their urination for one hour for each month of age. As mentioned earlier, there are several factors that affect how frequently your dog pees. However, there are also methods that can help your dog develop regular toilet habits.

The 6-8-hour rule is simply a minimum recommendation.  Some dogs can comfortably hold their pee for eight hours, while others will feel more at ease having more frequent potty breaks.

Also read: Best Low Sodium Dog Foods

Factors That Affect How Long Dogs Pee

Although dogs can normally keep their bladder control for long periods, it's crucial to know when that threshold is crossed. And as a dog owner, it's helpful to understand the following factors that can influence how long a dog can usually hold his pee:


The most well-known factor affecting how long a dog can go without going potty is age. Younger dogs won't be able to contain their pee for as long as most adult dogs, especially pups who aren't totally potty trained. Their small and underdeveloped bladders and urinary tract systems play a part in this.

There is more to it than only holding capacity. It takes time for the muscle that holds and releases the dog's bladder to grow. As a result, some puppies need more potty breaks than others. Developing these muscles and teaching your dog to control his bladder are both important components of toilet training.

As they age, senior dogs may also begin to lose that muscle control. More frequent potty breaks can be caused by muscle weakness, inflammation, movement issues, and even kidney and liver function.

Here is a handy chart to show you roughly how frequently your dog will need to urinate depending on age:

  • Puppy (6 months or younger) = 1-3 hours
  • Puppy (over 6 months) = 2 to 6 hours
  • Adult (7 years or older): 6 to 8 hours
  • Older dogs (>7 years) = 4-6 hours
  • Seniors (over 12): 2-4 hours
How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 5 Factors Affecting It Discussed 1


Your pet's physical size is another crucial aspect. In comparison to a larger dog, a small or toy breed dog's bladder is incredibly small. Although it doesn't always follow that all larger dogs can hold their urine for longer, it may help with successful potty and house training.

A dog is estimated to urinate between 10 and 20 ml per pound of body weight each day. Accordingly, a 6-pound dog will urinate around half a cup per day, as opposed to a 60-pound dog, who will urinate about 5 cups per day.

Again, this is only a general rule of thumb, and a dog's personality and training will probably have a greater impact on this issue than his or her size.


Dogs that are under any physical strain as a result of an ongoing or recent health problem may have more difficulty in controlling their bladders. Some dogs could also have a persistent urine odor due to a health issue.

There are several health issues that can contribute to frequent urination in dogs. Oftentimes, especially in female dogs, urinary tract infections are to blame. Urinary and bladder stones are a more severe but nonetheless quite common problem.

In addition to being exceedingly unpleasant and hazardous, these stones obstruct your dog's abdomen, preventing his bladder from expanding. 

Also, keep in mind that some prescription drugs may make your dog pee more frequently. On the other hand, some drugs can also cause dogs to urinate less regularly than usual.

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Below are some of the common health issues that may affect a dog’s urination schedule:

  • Any kidney-related health problem
  • Bladder/Kidney Stones
  • Diabetes
  • Electrolyte Imbalance
  • Incontinence
  • Inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Mobility Issues
  • Muscle Weakening
  • Psychological or behavioral problems
  • Urinary Tract Infection
  • Thyroid Problems
  • Weight Problems

If you are concerned that your dog is experiencing health problems or is in pain, you should take your pup to the nearest vet right away.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 5 Factors Affecting It Discussed 2


Your dog's urinary health problems are significantly influenced by the sort of food he eats. Pets who eat foods high in moisture, such as raw and wet dog food, may urinate more frequently and in larger quantities.

Moisture-rich meals help with digestion and can help your dog's body wash out toxins and bacteria that accumulate, even if they may make them urinate a little more frequently. However, though dogs on a purely dry diet, such as kibble, may pee less, this does not imply that they are healthier.

Like humans, animals can show signs of dehydration by the color of their urine. Pee that is a dark yellow color is not ideal. If you discover that your dogs' pee is unusually dark, it's time to increase their moisture intake by giving them more water, broth, wet food, or even raw bones.

Reevaluate your dog's water intake as well as the components and quality of his regular meal if he is urinating excessively or you are worried that he is not urinating enough.


One of the earliest occasions for dog owners to work with their pets seriously is during house training. Contrary to sit, shake, and stay commands, keeping your dog from going potty inside the house has a very specific benefit for pet parents.

Once your dog can reasonably control their bladders, though, potty training continues. Your dog will learn to hold or not hold their urine for a particular period of time depending on how frequently you take them outside during the day.

A dog that is kept indoors while its owner works an 8 or 9-hour shift will be better conditioned to contain their urination in other scenarios than dogs whose parents are at home and able to let them out more regularly.

It can just be that you unintentionally taught your dog to urinate on a strict schedule if they are going outside a lot.


Some dogs, like some people, just don't feel at ease going to the bathroom in public places or away from their homes.

An anxious dog or one that is overstimulated and preoccupied with several new stimuli is more likely to hold in his pee while he is engaged in whatever has captured his interest.

Additionally, your dog may occasionally experience unavoidable stressors in his or her life, such as extended automobile or plane travels or moving into a new house.

When under these settings, it is normal for dogs to keep their urine longer.

Food, Water, and Play

The length of time a dog can hold his pee can also depend on whether he has recently eaten, drunk, or played. These actions cause a dog's bladder to be stimulated. Hence, after eating, drinking, and playing, take your dog for a pee break within 10-15 minutes.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 5 Factors Affecting It Discussed 3

Potty Training Mishaps

If your dog routinely has accidents in the house, you might want to think about the cause of his behavior. Contact your veterinarian right away to rule out any potential medical problems. If your dog is healthy, the issue can be behavioral.


One of the reasons your dog might be having accidents inside the house is territorial marking. Both male and female fixed dogs can exhibit this undesirable behavior. However, it is most prevalent in unneutered males.

When a dog marks, they leave the fragrance of their urine behind, “marking” the place, the unfortunate human, or both. Dogs' olfactory senses are highly sensitive. So, to them, the scent of another dog's urine is like a very intricate fingerprint that contains a ton of data.

Their primal instincts serve as the foundation for the psychology of territory marking. It's a control-based game. This behavior frequently develops when your dog perceives that his position in the pack hierarchy is challenged by the entry of a new pet or person into the family.

Typically, having intact dogs fixed will stop their marking behaviors. Consult your veterinarian to determine whether it is advisable to spay or neuter your pet.

Usually, fixed dogs who mark do so out of anxiety. Keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated will help reduce tension, worry, and fear.   

Excitement Peeing

Excitement peeing is frequently just a maturity, anxiety, or personality issue.

When you get home from work after a long day or when your family or friends knock on the door, your dog can pee out of excitement.

In his eagerness, your dog loses control of his muscles and deposits a puddle on the floor. This is frequently followed by a look of shame as he realizes he shouldn't have peed on the floor but was powerless to stop himself.

After your long day at work, it's possible that your dog already had a full bladder. However, this is a behavior that will also require attention outside of his housebreaking.


When they do not feel they are receiving enough attention, some dogs have been known to breach their potty training guidelines and start to urinate or poop more regularly within the home.

Many new parents claim that as soon as they brought their new baby home, their dog, who had previously been quite well-trained, started urinating indoors.

Even while it's tough to say for sure that this conduct is attention-seeking, it does seem that a dog would think “Whenever the new infant produces a stench in the house, they get loads of attention. Maybe I should follow that, too!”


Submissive actions, such as your dog turning over on his side or back and peeing as you reach to pet him, are sometimes seen alongside submission peeing.

This frequently occurs when they are meeting unfamiliar dogs or a person who, for whatever reason, really frightens them.

It may be challenging to solve this issue. When your furry friend is on the floor out of submission, how you act next will either reinforce that behavior or gradually assist in helping him overcome it.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 5 Factors Affecting It Discussed 4

What Happens If Your Dog Holds His Pee Too Long?

The distention that can happen on your dog's bladder or in their abdomen if they hold too much pee is the most immediate concern if he holds it for more than roughly 12 hours.

Bladders are intended to extend to a particular point before the pressure buildup is expected to force the urine out.

When a dog holds his urine and doesn't release the pressure, his bladder will continue to fill up like a balloon. And we are all aware of what may happen to a balloon if it becomes over-inflated.

Your dog will almost certainly urinate prior to this unless there is a blockage. Urinary tract infections and stones are probably your biggest problems.

Bacteria can grow in a dog's bladder when urine remains inside. The bacteria might still be present within your dog even though they immediately feel better after peeing.

A painful urinary tract infection (UTI) brought on by these bacteria may need to be treated with medications.

After then, your dog's kidney, bladder, or other organs in the urinary tract may develop hard stones.

The urinary tract can develop calcification and crystallization as a result of holding urine. These calcified, crystalline stones have the potential to be fatal and can harm one's body and cause excruciating pain.

Not only is forcing your dog to hold in his urine painful and harsh, but it can also have a number of negative effects on his health. It's best to simply let your tiny friend go potty.

What to Do If Your Dog is Not Peeing?

A young dog, a puppy, and a senior dog will likely urinate more frequently than an average healthy adult dog, who will probably pee three to five times per day.

Take your dog's lack of urination just as seriously as when he doesn't defecate. When this happens, there's a high chance that your dog could be suffering from an underlying health problem. If your dog is unable to urinate, the bladder's inability to remove toxins from the body might quickly become lethal.

As soon as you suspect a problem (not peeing), you need to take your dog to the vet

A urinalysis, abdominal x-rays, full blood counts, and CT scans are a few diagnostic tests that your veterinarian may advise in order to help identify the problem.

Your vet will palpate your dog's bladder and once he determines that it is full, he may use a urinary catheter to temporarily relieve your dog by removing the pee.

If your dog has urinary stones, the course of his treatment will vary depending on what type of stones are present. Struvite and calcium oxalate uroliths are the two most typical types in canines.

Some bladder stones will necessitate surgery for your dog. If you want to help in dissolving struvite stones, you should strictly follow your vet's advice to put your dog on a low-protein diet.

Your dog's veterinarian might also administer medicines to treat bladder stones. When treating bladder infections in dogs, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs may also be helpful.

Surgery could be necessary for tumors. Radiation, chemotherapy, or perhaps both treatments may be necessary for a dog with a malignant tumor.

Surgery can be required in order to repair the harm sustained by dogs whose abdomens were injured.

You will receive post-operative instructions from the vet's team if your dog needs surgical treatment. Your dog will wear an E-collar while waiting for the vet to remove the sutures from the incision, which needs to be kept dry.


Every dog is different, and much like people, some dogs will require toilet breaks more or less frequently than others.

Ideally, you should let your dogs out to relieve themselves every six to eight hours, but if you can afford it, I'm sure they'd love more opportunities.

After all, retaining one's pee is a universally unpleasant feeling, and one simply must go when nature calls.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? 5 Factors Affecting It Discussed 5

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