Why You Shouldn't Let Your Dog Hold Its Urine

Why You Shouldn't Let Your Dog Hold Its Urine?


Discover why letting your dog hold its urine for too long can lead to serious health issues like urinary tract infections, bladder stones, and even bladder cancer. Learn how factors such as breed, size, and...

Many dog owners know that holding urine is bad for their furry friends, but they may not be clear on exactly what constitutes "holding it in" for too long.

Why You Shouldn't Let Your Dog Hold Its Urine

Defining "Holding Urine"

There are two main schools of thought among veterinarians regarding how often a dog should urinate:

  • Breed, Sex, Size, and Health: One perspective suggests that urination frequency is linked to a dog's breed, sex, size, and overall health. For example, smaller breeds with faster metabolisms typically need to urinate more frequently than larger breeds.
  • Individual Factors: The other viewpoint argues that urination frequency is highly individual and depends on factors like diet, activity level, water intake, and age. Young puppies have smaller bladder capacities and therefore require more frequent urination breaks.

The Dangers of Holding Urine

Holding urine for extended periods allows it to linger in the urinary tract, increasing the risk of infections and even the formation of stones. Here's a breakdown of some potential consequences:

1. Urinary Tract Diseases (UTDs):

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Bacterial UTIs are more common in female dogs, with bladder infections being the most frequent culprit. UTIs can become serious if they reach the kidneys.
  • Bladder Stones: These can form anywhere in the urinary tract, but most commonly occur in the bladder. Stones can block the urethra, preventing proper urination and potentially leading to kidney failure if left untreated.
  • Bladder Cancer: This aggressive cancer requires surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy for treatment. While pain medications can offer some relief, there is currently no cure for bladder cancer in dogs.
  • Kidney Failure: Holding urine can lead to a buildup of toxins in the kidneys, eventually compromising their function and potentially leading to renal failure.
  • Urinary Incontinence: This condition, often seen in spayed females, results from a hormone imbalance that affects the dog's control over the bladder sphincter.
  • Prostate Disease: Male dogs are more susceptible to prostate issues like infections, enlargement, and cancer. Difficulty urinating and blood in the urine are common signs of prostate problems.

2. Additional Concerns

  • Anxiety and Stress: Holding urine can cause anxiety and stress in dogs, leading to behavioral problems like excessive barking or destructive chewing.
  • Accidents: If forced to hold urine for too long, dogs may urinate indoors or in other inappropriate locations.
    Why You Shouldn't Let Your Dog Hold Its Urine


  • Adult dogs should typically urinate at least 3-5 times per day, with puppies requiring even more frequent breaks.
  • Avoid letting your dog hold its urine for more than 8 hours.
  • Always provide ample opportunity to urinate during walks and potty breaks.
  • Consult your veterinarian if your dog exhibits any signs of holding its urine.


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