An adult dog can technically hold the urge to pee or poop for a very long time. Now, this doesn’t mean that a dog holding his pee is good for him. No animal should be forced to hold its bladder for an extended period of time, or a string of negative health effects can arise.
We’ll be taking you through a look at dog peeing, how often a dog should urinate, and how long dogs can hold their pee. After all, there will be a period where you and your pooch have no choice but to hold it. Just think of trips to the beach, the park, or family members’ house.
An hour or three won’t do any harm, just try not to force your dog to hold their pee for too long; it’s far better to take a pit stop.
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How Often Do Dogs Need to Urinate?
Small dog breeds and younger dogs need to go far more often than other types. You can expect the average dog in good health to produce between 10 to 20 ml of urine for each pound of weight.
The frequency of urination should remain quite steady at three to five times a day by adulthood, but this can be affected by other facts such as diet, general health, body type, age, and sex. All dogs must maintain a healthy level of hydration, or they simply won’t have an urge to go.
If you’re worried about your dog’s lack of urination, start by monitoring the amount of water that they drink and perhaps place multiple bowls of water to make drinking more accessible. This behavior is, however, very strange, unless you’ve been absent-minded and left your pooch without water.
Even then, missing a bowl of water for a few hours can’t do any harm, but this cannot continue happening regularly.
Warning Signs Your Dog Has a Bladder Problem
If your dog has developed a bladder problem such as distension arising from either age or a sequence of having to hold it too many times, there will be warning signs.
These are generally indicative of bacterial infections occurring as a result of urine retained for too long. If you notice any of the following early warning signs, then consult a vet for a specialized course of treatment:
- Frequent accidents / breaking housetraining habits
- Constant licking and agitation
- Irritation after urination
- Difficulty/strain while urinating
- Frequent urination or urination attempts
- Pain when the belly is touched
- Blood present in the urine
- Dribbling pee
- Foul-smelling urine
- Poor/weak stream of urine
How Long Can Dogs Go Without Peeing?
Don’t be alarmed if your dog holds their pee for an extended period of time on the occasional long-distance trip. If you’re on holiday and your dog doesn’t use its chance to pee at your first few stops, this is not a cause for alarm.
Big dogs have been known to hold their bladder as long as 15 hours without needing to urinate. In much the same way as we experience things, once the urge passes, it can remain at bay for a long time. Try to stop at least five times across a journey that takes up to 24-hours.
Even if your dog doesn’t go immediately, at least you’re giving them a chance to pee. Another key tip to remember is that your dog may not go at all if it is uncomfortable or pressured so make your rest stops not only a pee break but a time to walk your dog as well. After a short stroll, your dog will be far more likely to pee or poop.
Dog Bladder Control While Traveling
Traveling with your canine can be a rewarding experience but don’t force your dog to hold their pee too often. Holding urine for extended periods of time increases the risk of urinary stones and urinary tract infections.
Studies even connect an increased risk of urinary tract cancer due to the way that the body retains contact with carcinogens in pee which are supposed to be flushed, not retained.
If you’re going to be asking your pooch to hold his pee for up to eight hours at a time (the highest possible recommended safe limit), then limit this to a maximum of twice a month.
Why Making Dogs Hold Their Pee is Bad
As a dog is forced to hold their urine too often, their bladder becomes distended. This means that as they age, frequent toilet trips will be needed while at the same time raising a host of other complications.
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common to dogs who are forced to hold their urine. Urinary tract infections are the most common, characterized by the increased urge to pee and a high frequency of ‘accidents.’ At times a dog will display pain or discomfort when attempting to relieve itself as well.
An untreated urinary tract infection can lead to severe issues like urinary stones developing due to the masses of bacteria retained. Over long periods of time, carcinogenic compounds can even cause cancer.
Also Read: Dog Won’t Pee Outside? What to Do?
An untreated UTI can become fatal in as little as ten months. Antibiotics clear an infection in weeks. Never risk it; if you suspect that your dog has a UTI, consider approaching a vet for urinalysis as part of a physical.
Stay Sensible Around Bathroom Breaks
Ultimately, it’s pretty safe to expect your dog to hold its pee in an extreme situation, or a few hours at a time while traveling. However, if you make your dog endure years of holding their pee, they’ll almost certainly become incontinent.
In severe cases, the only way that this can be resolved is by surgery. Males receive a cystourethropexy and females a colposuspension which is a procedure that repositions the neck of your dog’s bladder. In most cases, the pressure relieved off the bladder, and urethra improves bladder function.
About half of all dogs are totally cured, while bladder function is set to heal and improve by up to 75%. Having a dog hold his pee is never a good idea, but emergencies are emergencies.
Don’t make it a habit, and your dog will stay in good health and totally regular for many years to come.
A big-dog lover, successful marketing executive, and website developer, Brian founded Canine Weekly in 2016. Brian lives just outside of Seattle with his wife and child. Brian grew up with labs and the family is eager to get another Labrador once their newborn is a little older. Brian is the former owner of Canine Weekly.