How Long Can a Dog Go Without Peeing?

Factors such as age, sex, body size, and overall health affect urinary frequency in dogs. Many dogs can go 8 – 10 hours a night while sleeping but will need to be let out after waking up, after they eat and drink, and usually after they’ve been playing. So, how long can a dog go without peeing? While younger dogs and smaller breeds may need to go more frequently, a good rule of thumb is to not make a dog wait for more than 8 hours.
There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. Older dogs, sick dogs, and dogs with certain conditions need to go out more often, but, on average, dogs need to take care of their business 3 - 5 times a day.

“Listen” To Your Dog

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Peeing?
Your dog doesn’t raise their paw when they need to go out, but they have ways to let you know it’s time for the doggy equivalent of using the bathroom. Pawing at the door, nervous circling, coming to you to get your attention are all warning signs. A dog has to rely on their owner to help them fulfill a happy day. A dog starts to feel the need to urinate when their bladder is only half-full. Their bodies sense their bladder swelling and this lets the dog know that it is time to go. For this reason, your dog will usually start giving you the signs before it becomes an emergency. Luckily this gives you plenty of time to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

Consequences of “Holding It”

If you’re not paying attention to the signs, or if you are not available to let them out and they have to “hold it” for an extended period, it can lead to bacteria developing in the urine their body is accumulating. A urinary tract, bladder, or kidney infection can be a result. Bladder stones can also form when a dog holds urine for extended periods. A lifetime of spending days holding urine for extended periods can also contribute to incontinence in their later years. When you consider how long can a dog go without peeing, think about how long you can go. Let’s face it, we all know it’s important for us to urinate when we have to so that toxins won’t build up and bladder muscles stay strong, why not the same for our pups?

Are There Alternatives?

Dogs want to please you so they can be trained to hold it until you can take them out. But what if they don’t have to? What if your dog can go as the need arises? You can train them to go in a designated spot when you’re away that is easy to dispose of when you get home. There’s no looking at your watch with anxiety while you’re away from home. A good night’s sleep knowing that your pup can go when they need to is priceless. Let’s explore a few alternatives.

Doggy Door

Doggy doors allow your pup to go outside to do their business on their own schedule. These are great if you are comfortable with the dog going out on their own and you have a private fenced area. Apartment dwellers, unfortunately, don’t have this option.

Doggy Daycare

Doggy daycare is another option. Some dogs love socialization and interaction. Make sure your dog’s shots are up to date so they don’t catch anything from the other animals. This service can become costly but is a viable option if it aligns with your lifestyle.

Dog Walker

Many pet owners hire a dog walker to come to the home. If, however, you are not comfortable with strangers in your home while you’re gone, this is not a great alternative. This service is also costly over time. Your dog will have to encounter different people coming into their domain and that can be uncomfortable for some.

Pee Pads

Unlike the commonly used moniker “puppy pad” might suggest, pee pads aren’t exclusively for puppies. They can also be a good alternative for any dog stuck inside for long periods of time. This includes senior dogs, those that have a disability, and those that just don’t have ready access to the outdoors. It can be messy especially with the overspray of a male dog who is a leg lifter. But with a simple solution like the Pico Potty Wall, clean-up is a breeze. Discard the used pad and replace it with a new one and you’re ready to go. By training your dog to use a pee pad while stuck inside, you don’t have to worry about them ruining the carpet or hurting themself by holding it. They can go any time of day whether you are home or not.
How Long Can a Dog Go Without Peeing?


If you don’t provide your dog with a suitable alternative to going outside, they will eventually relieve themselves wherever they feel safe, like behind your favorite chair or sofa. You know the saying, “When you’ve got to go . . . you’ve got to go!” Your dog isn’t any different. If they do have an “accident” do not scold them. Instead, as the ASPCA suggests, lavish them with praise when they get it right. Both you and your dog will be better off for the effort.