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How Long Can a Dog Go Without Peeing? How To Avoid Accidents In The Home

how long can a dog go without peeing

When nature calls, even the best-trained dog has to answer eventually, so how long can dogs go without peeing? Dogs improve with bladder control as they age.  Regardless, dogs of all sizes and ages must visit the great outdoors a few times daily. 

No one looks forward to returning home to a pool of pee, even if a dog urine stain remover will clean up nicely. It’s easier to spot signs that your dog really needs to go if you’re around, but what if you’re away at work or running errands?

Knowing how long dogs can hold it in keeps your mind at ease when going about your business without worrying about accidents. So let’s dive into all about your dog’s peeing schedule.

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee?

The time before peeing depends on age, size, and health, but most adult dogs can stay 6 to 8 hours without peeing. On the other hand, puppies below six months can only go for about 3 to 4 hours without having to urinate. Very small dogs can sometimes only hold their bladders for around 2 to 3 hours.

Just like people are built different, with some holding their pee for much longer than others, the same applies to canines. You can easily establish how long your dog can hold pee by observing how much time passes before they get restless and squirmy. 

Some healthy adult dogs can control their bowel movements for even 10 to 12 hours, but that doesn’t mean they should. Some factors influence how long your dog takes before they relieve themselves, which include:

1. Age 

Age is the biggest determiner of the length between potty trips and even how long dogs can stay in a crate. Puppies below six months have underdeveloped bladders that can’t hold as much urine. Additionally, their urethral sphincters and detrusor muscles that control urine are yet to develop fully. 

You can also read more on our article about whether to crate puppies at night.

Senior dogs also experience difficulties holding urine due to losing control of their urinary muscles and bladders (sphincter mechanism incontinence). This condition is slightly more common in senior female dogs, although males experience it too eventually.  This will often mean incontinence issues, such as dogs leaking urine when lying down.

Full bladders could be why your puppy and senior dog wake you too early. This table will give you a good idea of how long your dog can hold it.


Number of Hours

<2 months

1 – 2 hours

< 6 months

2 – 3 hours

Puppy above 6 months

4 – 6 hours

Adult < 7 years

6 – 8 hours

Seniors 7 – 11

4-6 hours

Seniors > 12

2 – 4 hours

2. Size of dog

Small and toy breeds like Chihuahuas and Teacup Havaneses have really tiny bladders compared to their larger counterparts. Consequently, they can hold their pee for shorter periods and need more bathroom breaks. 

Studies have shown that dogs have a normal bladder volume of 3.5ml/Kg and a maximum of 20ml/kg without overdistension. This means the less a dog weighs, the less urine they can hold. The exception to the size rule is older dogs and those with medical conditions since they’ll pee more frequently.

While smaller dogs will certainly drink less water and produce less urine than larger ones, their smaller bowel capacities mean more potty breaks. 

3. Health Issues

Certain health problems cause increased or decreased urination, mostly accompanied by pain, energy, and diet changes. Health issues increasing urination include:

  • UTIs
  • Kidney stones
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Obesity
  • Addison and Cushing disease
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Stress—Your dogs can pee unintentionally when scared or submissive

Certain medications also cause more peeing because of their diuretic effect (increasing urine production). It’s important to get to the vet if you suspect your dog’s urinating frequency is abnormal and they have other clinical signs. 

4. Diet 

Dogs on wet food and even those on raw diets pee more often due to the high water content in the foods. Kibble causes less urination, but be careful because it can be tough on your dog’s kidneys, so keep your dog hydrated. 

If your dog has dark and yellow pee, consider adding some water-based additions like chicken or bone broth.

5. Outdoors or Indoors?

Dogs that spend plenty of time outdoors will pee more than those that stay for hours in the house. If you trust your dog to stay in your yard when you step out, they’ll be freer to empty their bowels as they please. 

Can Dogs Hold Their Pee Overnight?

Healthy dogs can hold their pee for longer at night than during the day, with most staying the whole night. Dogs will hold it overnight if you take away water and food two hours before and take them out before bed.

You will need to set the alarm for 4 to 5 hours after bed if your puppy is below four months for them to pee. Even puppies above four months can urinate in the house if not locked in their crates overnight after proper crate training. 

What Happens if My Dog Holds His Pee for Too Long?

Some dogs can stay extremely long without peeing, to their owner’s delight but at the expense of their health. Urinary conditions and behavioral issues arise if your dog is forced to hold their urine for too long, such as: 

  • UTIs—Dogs that don’t empty their bladders when they should encourage bacteria in the bladders to sit and multiply, causing infection.
  • Kidney stones—These form when waste products calcify in the kidneys. Since Struvite crystalluria is also common in dogs without UTIs, the crystals can harden and lead to stones.
  • Incontinence—Holding urine for too long leads to premature weakening of the urinary muscles causing involuntary urination.
  • Kidney failure—This occurs if your dog is really unlucky when the urine makes its way back to the kidneys.
  • Behavioral problems— Locking a dog up too much that they can’t pee causes them to develop long-term anxiety and depression 

What Causes Dogs to Urinate More Frequently?

What Causes Dogs to Urinate More Frequently?

Increased urination can suggest a medical issue if you’ve studied your dogs and they’re not showing their normal pee patterns.

UTIs are the most common reason a dog needs to urinate more frequently. Other signs to watch out for include:

  • Bloody urine
  • Little to no pee coming out
  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent genital licking

Other more severe conditions like kidney stones, renal failure, diabetes, and hormonal issues can make your dog pee more frequently. Your dog may urinate more if they’re uneasy in their environment  or due to anxiety triggers like fireworks or thunder. 

Types of Peeing in Dogs (It’s not all about needing the bathroom)

1. Excitement peeing

Puppy piddles commonly refers to the peeing dogs do when overly excited. If your dog releases a few urine drops right after you return home, they may just be too excited to see you. You can remedy this urinating type by greeting your dog only when calm.

2. Gender-specific Peeing

Accidental peeing is more common in female dogs than males and typically settles down by the time they’re one. Spayed females also exhibit urinary incontinence, with a study showing 9.7 % of spayed females experience the condition.

3. Marking

Male dogs engage more in territory-marking urinating. Female dogs also urinate to mark and communicate their fertility status.

4. Submissive  peeing

Dogs can pee when scared or to show submission to you or a more dominant dog. Try not to loom over your fearful, submissive dog to help with their peeing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can a dog go without pooping?

Dogs can go 24 to 48 hours without pooping, without necessarily implying a medical issue. It’s time to call the vet if your dog passes the 72-hour mark without pooping since they could be experiencing GI blockage. Constipation is a major reason your dog is going that long without pooping.

Can a dog hold in pee for 24 Hours?

Adult dogs can go about 6 to 12 hours during the day and overnight without peeing depending on size, age, and health. Your dog can develop serious urinary issues like kidney stones, UTIs, and kidney failure if they hold pee for 24 hours. Locking up a dog too long is the likeliest reason a dog would have to go long hours without peeing.

How long can a sick dog go without peeing?

Sick dogs, especially those with vomiting and diarrhea, pee less frequently than healthy ones. You can expect your sick dog to pee every 8 to 10 hours if sick, but ensure you hydrate them properly. All the fluids lost can cause severe and rapid dehydration in a dog, and peeing only worsens it.

Final Thoughts

Urinating is a natural bodily process in dogs, just like in humans. Healthy dogs need to urinate 3 to 4 hours every day, which is approximately every 6 to 8 hours. Young puppies below six months need more frequent bathroom breaks to avoid accidents. Health issues like diabetes, UTIs, and kidney stones increase urination in dogs.


Tamsin De La Harpe


Tamsin de la Harpe has nearly two decades of experience with dogs in rescue, training, and behavior modification with fearful and aggressive dogs. She has worked closely with veterinarians and various kennels, building up extensive medical knowledge and an understanding of canine health and physiology. She also spent two years in the animal sciences as a canine nutrition researcher, focusing on longevity and holistic healthcare for our four-legged companions.

Tamsin currently keeps a busy homestead with an assortment of rescue dogs and three Bullmastiffs.

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