The amount of time that a dog can hold their pee depends on several different factors, and out of all of them, the age is by far the most important one. If you have ever had a puppy, you probably know that it can take up to a year for them to be able to pee just twice or three times a day.
In today’s article, we’ll discuss just how long dogs can hold their pee depending on all of the factors that influence this behavior.
Is it OK for dogs to hold their pee?
The short answer to this question is a clear no.
It is not healthy for dogs (or any other animal or even people, for that matter) to hold their pee, especially for too long, as the most minor negative outcome from this can be a urinary tract infection.
The lining inside the urinary bladder is made in such a way that whenever too much pressure exists, some tissue parts might crack and allow the bacteria in the pee to get into the lining and cause an infection. On the other hand, if the dog gets to pee whenever they feel the need to, and in accordance with the size of their bladder and the amount of liquid they’ve had, the chances of a urinary infection happening are slim to none.
A dog that has to hold their pee time and again will also develop urinary stones much easier.
The pee contains a normal amount of minerals of different kinds, and if it sits in one place for too long, crystals could begin to form, which can then cause serious issues in the urethra (like blockages), not to mention that if they are sharp enough, they can also irritate the bladder lining and cause hemorrhages and entry ports for the bacteria in the urine → which leads to a UTI, too. Urinary blockages can also be life-threatening, so do keep that in mind.
Besides, the more a dog tries to hold their pee, the more the lining and build of the urinary bladder structure are affected, sometimes leading to situations where they develop incontinence due to fibrosis or recurring UTIs, for example.
What influences urination frequency in dogs?
There are several factors that determine how often a dog gets the need to pee, such as the following:
Puppies can’t hold their pee as well as their adult counterparts to the point that depending on their age, they may need to go potty once every 3-4 hours. Once they get to the age of 6 months, they might feel the need to pee just 3-4 times a day, but only after the age of 12 months or even 18 months, in some cases, will they be able to pee just twice or three times a day.
As they become seniors, their ability to hold their pee will gradually decrease again, which means that you will somehow have to incorporate an additional walk into your routine.
- Health problems
There are many conditions that can influence a dog’s frequency of urination, whether that be cancer, UTIs, kidney pathologies, or autoimmune diseases. Even hormonal disorders or imbalances caused by the heat cycle can significantly influence how many times a day a dog feels the need to pee.
Have your dog checked by a vet if you suspect that a medical issue is at the root of the problem.
- Fluid intake
The more water a dog drinks, the more often they will have to pee. On the other hand, limiting the amount of fluid that a dog has in a day isn’t necessarily healthy, so long as the pet is still drinking within the normal limits – because dehydration can cause additional problems.
- Interactions with other animals or people
Puppies, especially, can become overly excited when meeting new people or even in moments such as when their owners come back home from work. So urination in those times can be normal, especially if the dog is very young and they haven’t been trained.
- Routine changes
Once you teach your canine friend to be taken out for walks in the early morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, or whenever you feel would be convenient and healthy, you should try to stick to the schedule as best as possible.
That does not mean that a dog, especially a healthy adult one, would not be capable of holding their pee for an additional hour if you couldn’t go out for your walk immediately, but it’s still not a good idea to change up their routine too often.
Potty training your dog properly
There are several methods that you can rely on to ensure that your dog pees in your home as rarely as possible in the future. The best way is to start as young as possible so that you get your pet used to the idea that the right place to relieve themselves is outside, not the floors of your home.
Crate training can be a solution for some people, but in other cases, positive reinforcement, such as giving your dog treats whenever they go potty outdoors instead of indoors, can offer good results, too.
Some dogs can even be taught to go on command, but if you’re generally having trouble with the entire potty training process, we suggest hiring a professional trainer instead.
What to do if your dog has an accident
The most important part of managing an accident would be for you to clean that spot as quickly and effectively as possible. Dogs tend to mark their territories, and if they develop a habit of peeing in a specific place, it can be very challenging for you to break that habit.
There are enzyme cleaners and all sorts of other products, including pet repellents, that you can spray on top of the area that your dog peed on.
Avoid reacting badly to an accident because the last thing you’d want to do would be for your dog to become alienated from you or experience anxiety or nervousness whenever you’re around – they would never learn to trust you if this happens.