How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee?

Being a parent of a four-legged pissing machine often makes a busy mom or dad wonder: “How long can dogs hold their pee?”. A myriad of questions pops up after buying a puppy.

The pink dreams of walking and cuddling with a floofer become overshadowed by practical questions: ‘How often do dogs eat?’, “How often should I take my dog out?” and especially “How often do puppies pee?”

Life circumstances do not care when the natural need to pee comes to remind of itself, neither for people nor for dogs. But the problem with doggies is that they can’t speak, so unless they are taught to give signals when they need to go pee or can do it without the owner’s help, they are prisoners of the bladder.  

So what happens when it’s not possible to go out with a dog? How long can dogs hold their pee? So, it’s not harmful to them? And is a dog holding urine too long a bad sign? 

This article can help determine the nuances of a dog’s needs and what to do when a puppy seems to have a bladder issue.

Dog pee owner at home

How Often Do Dogs Need to Pee?

So, how often do dogs need to go out? And, if there is no possibility of taking them out, how long can a dog go without peeing? 

To calculate the time a dog can hold their pee, the next formula is used: their age in months plus one. 

Throughout the day, the dog should go out around three to five times, being able to hold the pee for around 8 to 10 hours.

Factors Affecting How Frequently a Dog Needs to Pee

So, what’s the science behind these suggestions? In fact, just like a human organism is sensitive to external and internal factors, a dog’s organism is just the same. 


Age is one of the key factors behind the frequency of a dog’s urination. Older dogs are capable of holding their bladder for longer than younger pups unless there are health issues that prevent it.


The second factor is diet. Clearly, what dogs eat has a huge impact on their digestion and urination (just like humans, right?). If a dog’s diet is rich in fiber and water, it will help it urinate less often and thus hold its bladder better. Read our article and find out Can Dogs Eat Pickles?


Some breeds have luckier physiology when it comes to urinating. Some dogs can hold their bladder better than others. For example, bulldogs, boxers, or mastiffs are more prone to urinary problems, so it’s not advisable for them to hold pee for too long. 

That said, when buying or adopting a dog, it’s necessary to study all the physiological basics of their breed to ensure all knowledge frontiers are secured.


This is exactly the case where the size actually matters. Simply anatomically, larger dogs have larger bladders, and smaller dogs have smaller bladders.

Water Consumption

Another rather obvious factor is drinking water. One can feel it on a personal level – drinking a lot of water means going to the toilet more often. The same thing comes with dogs. 

However, it’s crucial to monitor the amount of water a dog drinks. Not only will it explain frequent urination, but it also hints about possible urinary tract infections (UTIs); specifically, encouraging a dog to drink more water is a good idea to flush the bacteria that caused the infection.

Medication Intake

If a dog is under treatment for a UTI, some medication can cause increased thirst. For example, furosemide (a known diuretic) and prednisone are common medications for dogs. They are known for increasing thirst in dogs. 

Having said that, it is essential to clarify the side effects of medication for a doggo with the vet so that there’s no panic when the patient starts peeing around.

Specific Medical Conditions

Just like meds for UTIs can cause increased water intake, illnesses or infections can do the same. If suddenly a pup starts peeing way too often, it is better to visit a vet to cross out or confirm diabetes or UTI.

On the other hand, if the owner has noticed their dog not urinating for 24 hours, it’s also a sign to check the doggo’s health. Withholding urination in dogs usually means three things.

The first thing is a urinary condition, specifically urinary tract infections or diabetes. Notably, older female dogs and diabetic pups are more prone to UTIs. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to a ruptured bladder or kidney failure. 

The second reason is anxiety or fear. Dogs are highly sensitive creatures whose physical condition often reflects their emotional state. The new environment or meeting strangers or new dogs in the neighborhood can serve as stressors, so it’s important to keep an eye on the dog during serious life changes.

Finally, the third reason a dog can hold pee for more than 12 hours is dehydration, specifically a lack of access to clean water. That is why ensuring the dog always has something to drink is one of the owner’s biggest responsibilities. 

In the summertime, one may want to change the water more often as it gets warm and undrinkable. Treats rich in water content can help the problem as well.

Puppy made a pee on the floor

What Happens When a Dog Holds Pee Too Long?

The critical question that comes with a dog holding pee for a concerningly long time is: ‘Can dogs get UTI from holding pee?’ And just like UTI itself can prevent dogs from peeing, the Uno reverse card is possible in this situation.

Just like human beings, who can suffer from urinary issues in case of postponing the visit to the toilet, their four-legged friends can also catch a painful disease when not peeing regularly. 

So, if one notices their dog holding urine too long, the first correct thing to do is to schedule a visit to the vet.

Urine is a body liquid that contains metabolic waste and toxic substances that are supposed to leave the body, not poison it. Dog urine is one of the body liquids that contain dangerous carcinogens that predispose dogs to urinary cancer. That’s why it’s important to keep a good eye on the dog’s behavior. 

What to Do if You are Not Home Enough?

Another issue that becomes rather frequent in the hectic modern lifestyle is the inability to spend enough time with pets. And while the emotional factor is obviously present – pets naturally get stressed and depressed alone, another overlooked problem is forced urine withholding.

Unless the dog is small and potty-trained, there is a smaller risk of urinary infections. Unfortunately, most dogs need to go out to relieve themselves. And if they are left at home for a long time without being able to pee, the risk of urinary infection significantly increases.


Can Dogs Get UTI From Holding Pee?

Yes, dogs can get UTIs from holding pee. As urine contains toxic substances and liquids that normally have to leave the organism naturally through urination, they poison the internal organs, specifically the kidneys. They can lead to serious health problems for dogs. 

Can You Leave a Dog Alone Overnight?

Typically, a dog should not be left alone for more than 4 to 6 hours. The same applies to the nighttime. The question is: “how long can a dog hold its bladder overnight”? Leaving a dog alone overnight can make them experience anxiety. The dog can develop UTI or another related illness due to mental distress.

However, it also depends on the dog itself. If the pet is rather independent and not clingy, they should be fine spending some time alone. Also, they get tired, too. So the most likely scenario is them falling asleep and happily meeting you in the morning.

How Often Should I Take My Puppy Out?

So, how often do dogs need to go out? As mentioned before, the owner has to take their dog out to urinate a minimum of three times a day. Ideally, five times is enough for good health and comfort of the doggie, especially if it’s an active one. 

However, it’s important to consider the age and the size of the pet so that the owner can clearly understand which frequency and intensity of urination are normal for their dog. If suddenly there is no possibility to take the pet out, the owner needs to have neighbors’ telephone numbers so that they can walk the dog instead. 

Dog peeing

Parting Thoughts

When you’re a parent to a dog, it’s never just fluff and wiggly tails. Being a good caretaker for a pet is an immense responsibility, but as every parent learns through the journey, the same applies to parents of fur babies. 

The rules of healthy urination can become a little overwhelming here at the end, but as long as one is attentive towards their dog, they will notice the signs of bad health straightaway. So, love and care are all pets need. Such a simple recipe!

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