How Long Can A Dog Go Without Peeing?

A devoted pet parent, pet store manager and animal shelter volunteer. Read more about me here.

As humans, we are well aware of how important it is to urinate when we feel the urge, so there is no need to think that the situation is different for our bellowed tail waggers.

The question that many new doggo parents ask themselves is how long can a dog go without peeing? This is only a natural question since many have a very busy work schedule, and they must leave their furry companions alone for hours.

Just as we, dogs need to urinate every few hours. Imagine how you would feel if you hold your pee for several hours. This is not only uncomfortable; it is very harmful to overall health condition.

Even when your dog is well trained to ask to go outside and do the potty, he might have been holding it in more than it should have which can cause some problems.

Last Updated: October 4th 2023

How long is too long for a dog to go without peeing?


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Approximately dogs can hold their pee between three to five times per day. That means they need to go out do the potty every 6 to 8 hours. Most vets recommend taking your dog out to pee every 6 hours to prevent indoor accidents and prevent them from holding in for too long.

So everything above 8 hours is not normal for them, even though they can go hours without peeing, to be more precise every dog can go without peeing for over 12 hours. But make sure you do not let your dog go without peeing for that long! This will, for sure, cause some health issues.

What happens if a dog holds the pee too long?

If dogs hold their pee for too long over time, they will develop some kind of health issues like UTI or even urinary stones.

There are a lot of bacteria in your dog's urinary tract. They will start thriving when your dog hold them in and doesn't expel them out through the urination process. Urinary tract infection or bacteria overgrowth will make them pee a lot more until you start treating it with antibiotics.

Untreated urinary infection backs up into their kidneys, and this will result in a kidney infection. If you don't start treating it in the early stages, the kidneys will eventually shut down.

Untreated urinary tract infections often cause crystallization of your dog's urine, which can develop into bladder stones. Sometimes your dog won't be able to pee since it can't pass the stone. In this case, surgery is a must.

Some vets and dog experts are very strict about how long can dogs hold their pee in since they claim that the carcinogens that are present in urine and in the urinary tract can lead to some types of urinary cancer.

When your dog spends years going hours without peeing incontinence will develop. This is due to their bladder becoming quite distended from holding their urine for too long over the years. In more severe cases, surgery is needed to reposition the bladder's neck. This surgery cures approximately 50% of adult dogs, while in over 75% of adult dogs have their bladder function is significantly improved.

When Is The Time To Call The Vet?

If you notice any changes in your dog's peeing habits or notice there is no need for bathroom breaks, contact your vet. There are a few red flags that you must always keep an eye on to know that something isn't right with your dog and react on time. Those are:

When dog experience increased urination
When dog do not need to pee at all
When you notice your dog experience discomfort when urinates
Strange colors of urine like dark red or very dark yellow
Sudden and strong odors

How long can a dog go without going to the bathroom?

How long can a dog go without peeing significantly differs from breed to breed. Most dogs are able to hold their urine for up to 10-15 hours; some are even trained to do so. This is not healthy for your dog if they retain urine for too long frequently that will, for sure, lead to kidney and bladder issues.

When they develop these issues, they will, for sure, have more frequent urges for urinating, so indoor accidents might become new normal, which is what we all want to avoid.

However, this considers healthy middle-aged dogs. Things are a bit different when we talk about puppies and senior dogs. Also, a few various factors will affect your dog's peeing habits such as age, breeds, health condition, diet, and more, which I will explain in the section below.

This does not consider puppies. If you are asking yourself how often do puppies pee, you will be surprised when I tell you they pee almost every 3 to 4 hours! This is normal when you consider that they have a smaller urinary bladder that can hold smaller amounts of urine. Be aware that they won't be able to hold the pee overnight, so some indoor accidents may occur no matter how hard you are trying to potty train them in early stages.

On the other hand, an older dog will as well pee more frequently since it is usually unable to hold the pee as long as it did before.

How often should a dog urinate?

A few factors determine how long can dog hold a pee without risking the overall health.

First and most important is age. Naturally, puppers and older dogs are not great in controlling their bladders, and they must go out more often, or you need to teach them to use the pee mats or pads. How often does a puppy pee is a whole different field, considering how "long" senior dogs can hold their pee.

The second factor is breed, and that also means the size of your dog. Larger breeds go potty less than smaller breeds. Smaller breeds also have a habit of marking the targets more when they pee, so they will ask to go out more than larger dogs.

A healthy dog does not have to go to pee more often as much as a dog that is sick or in generally poor health conditions. Dogs can hold their pee for hours, and they do not need so many bathroom breaks. They will be perfectly fine if they urinate only during your regular walk schedule or any other kind of activity you practice daily.

If your dog urinate frequently, that can be the first sign of illness. Make sure you keep track of how often your dog goes out to pee to be able to keep his overall health in check.

In case your dog is sick or suffers from some health problems that require the consumption of certain medications like diuretics or steroids, they will need to pee more frequently, considering that's the point of using these meds. Before you start giving those meds to your dog, consult with your vet about any side effects.

Also, diet plays a prominent role in how long can dogs hold their bladder in tight. This as well includes how much water they drink every day. Of course, they will drink more water when it's warmer outside, which leads to frequent urination.

Obesity will significantly affect how long dogs can hold their pee. If your dog is overweight, he will pee more for sure since he eats and drinks more during the day than other dogs. Help them lose some weight, and they will, for sure, reduce the urge for peeing.


How long can dogs go without peeing is a tricky question since every dog is an individual for itself. Some dogs will pee more often; some dogs may hold in for longer periods of time. Most dogs feel the urge to urinate for approximately 5 times a day, but as I said younger dogs as well, older dogs are prone to frequent urination.

Treat your dog right and never let your dog go without urinating for more than 8 hours to prevent health problems. Remember, a dog needs bathroom breaks as much as you do, so make sure you listen to his needs and learn how long your dog can go without peeing.

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About the Author

A devoted pet parent to two lovely creatures – Charlie the Cat and Jimmy the Dog – a full-time assistant pet store manager, and an animal shelter volunteer. I've gathered knowledge about pets for almost a decade, and it all started in a small store called Jack's Pets.

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