How often does a dog need to go to the bathroom?

by jen
(los angeles, california)

How often does my dog need to go to the bathroom. she is 8 years old. I work long days and feel badly for her. I adore her and have adopted her!

Gale's Reply

Hi Jen:

I have heard it said that a dog that can "hold it" for 8 hours is considered housetrained. And, I've always wondered if that was predicated on the convention of an 8 hour work day.

In other words, do we think a dog should be able to restrain themselves for 8 hours at a stretch because it fits with our human schedule? Or is that really about right?

So, I did a little research and found this article which appears to have been written by a vet or vet tech.

Bottom line, it depends a lot on diet, activity level and how much water your dog drinks. It also depends on her overall health. But, according to this article at least, 8 - 10 hours seems to be OK. If it has to be longer than that you may want to arrange to come home for lunch or have a trusted friend walk her around mid day.

Just like humans who habitually put off answering nature's call, dogs can develop bladder and urinary tract issues if forced to hold on too long. So it's great that you asked the question.

Feel free to post back here and let us know how your dog is doing. Congratulations on adopting her.

Comments for How often does a dog need to go to the bathroom?

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Feb 24, 2011
Doggie Bathroom Habit
by: Doggie Mom

I agree with the vet, but that is based on my own observations with my own dog. He has gone for as long as 12 hours with no bathroom break, but as often as every 20 minutes. It all depends on how much he drinks. If mine is put into his crate, he will refrain from drinking, since he knows he can't go out. Also when we are gone from the house (believe me, dogs know when you are home (and behind a closed door sleeping) and when you are gone). They will regulate their food and water intake based on this knowledge. I don't know if all dogs are like that, but mine seems to pick up on our wacky schedule. I figure as long as he doesn't pee in the house, he is fine. They are quite smart characters and soon learn to adapt to our schedule, but not to their own detriment.

Good luck with your girl!

Feb 24, 2011
by: Michelle

I leave for work at 7:30 and get home at 5:30. I have my daughter come over let my dogs out to potty at 2:30. There are occasions when she can't make it,on those days, they haven't had any accidents when I get home, but I can tell that they are very uncomfortable and they start going as soon as their paws hit the grass. If you can't get home mid-day or don't have anyone to help out... you may consider a Potty Patch. I have heard good things about them. Love & Licks

Feb 24, 2011
by: ktjo

We go to bed early, about 8 PM and don't go out again sometimes till 8 AM without any problem. Dog doesn't even run to the door with legs crossed. Am I causing her to develop bladder problems? She's an 80lb. spayed Pit Bull. We do spend a couple hours everyday outside walking - she "marks" like a guy, even lifting her leg sometimes.

Feb 27, 2011
Dogs should be let out every 4 hours
by: Alex D

A dog may be able to "hold it" for 8 hours but they really shouldn't. If you work, PLEASE consider getting a dog walker to come in and let your dog out for a potty break at lunch time! I personally think a dog should be let out at least every 4 hours and the absolute max they should stay without a potty break is 6 hours but that is only once in a blue moon, emergency stuff.

Jun 22, 2011
by: GG

I have an 8 yr old Shiba, she doesn't want to go out to the bathroom. She can stayed for 15 hrs the other day I was home with her and she did not scratch at the door at all to go out. I made her go on the front lawn and she just walked around didnt do anything. She eats normally drinks normally plays with the cat acts normal, thyroid is good. She just doesnt want to go out. I think it may be the breed, i know they are a strange breed. She has done this for a couple of months now.

Aug 01, 2011
67 lb. Rescue
by: Anonymous

I adopted a hunting dog from the animal shelter. He is big and drinks a great deal (we go out for walks & lawn work but keep him inside most of the time on these 100 degree days). Even though we go outside every couple of hours to play catch, or get the mail, he sometimes doesn't pee for 12+ hours - and bowel movements can be 12 to 16 hours after feeding him! Is this normal? He is nothing like our previous dog.

Oct 11, 2012
Frequent Wee
by: Anonymous

Our Lhasa Apso will be 2 in April. We got him at 8 months - from a known breeder - who had his pups and their mother outside in a huge 'run'. He still refuses to wee outside sometimes and prefers the carpet. He easily holds it overnight in his crate but during the day he wees about every hour. On the grass or on the carpet. Driving us nuts. I only work 5 hours a day from the time I leave the house until the time I arrive home. When I'm out he's locked in the kitchen and never makes a puddle. We DO give him the opportunity to go outside to wee. Any suggestions?

Oct 12, 2012
Re: Frequent Wee
by: Gale

I recommend that you have your dog checked by a vet to rule out any urinary or bladder problems. The frequency with which he urinates does sound excessive, at least in my experience. Assuming there's not a physical problem, I would emphasize two things:

1. You need to be sure you are cleaning the carpet really, really well after an accident. Otherwise, he will be attracted to return to that same spot over and over again.

2. Start taking treats with you when you take him outside. Reward him the instant he does his business where he's supposed to.

Here's an article with a bit more info on housetraining an adult dog. Good luck.

May 06, 2013
About my girl
by: Anonymous

I would love to hear comments about this: A place where I live at wants to hit me with neglect. I take out my pit bull almost every 3-4 hours when I am awake. I sleep 8-10 hours too. My girl is good on not having any accidents. I was wondering she I take her out more??

Jan 22, 2014
Holding their bladder NEW
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the above article regarding the period of time the pug may hold its bladder. I recently adopted a 5 year old. The previous owner told me that she may have a bladder/ urinary track infection. Well, knowing how expensive the vet can be, i went old school with a home made remedy. Cranbery juice in her water and/ or sometimes I put a tablespoon of baking soda in her water. Cleared her right up. . . . But I'm concerned that she still wants to go outside about every five hours. If not, she has a habit of licking herself, drinking her urine. Disgusting! Then I found out the previous owner kept her caged all day when they were at work. At my home, its free rane. So my question is, how can i break her of this 'to soon to often' need to go ?

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