Potty Breaks: How frequently should dogs urinate?

As a pet sitter, I’m asked this question often.  Many people who are traveling will want me to visit their dog twice a day for potty breaks and more. They will tell me that their dog is able to “hold it” for 12 hours. I am sure this is the case. However, this does not mean it is a healthy practice.


The answer to how frequently should dogs urinate is: dog should be given the opportunity to urinate a minimum of three times daily. Holding urine for a long time makes dogs more prone to urinary tract infections, bladder infections and/or kidney infections because the dog’s bladder becomes a breeding ground for the bacteria in the urine – allowing it to reach high concentration.

First Issue – Bladder stones

Holding urinations can also cause bladder stones. Also known as urinary calculi, dogs with bladder stones might show symptoms by having blood in their urine and may only urinate infrequently; often from pain and irritation. Your dog might also hold a urination stance for longer, as they are almost forcing the act.

Another issue – incontinence

Having a dog hold urine for extended periods of time can eventually contribute to incontinence. Incontinence in dogs is often ranging in strength from ‘dribbling’ to full voids of their bladder.

“Holding It” can also mean cancer

Additionally, according to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP in The Pet Health Library holding urine may predispose the dog to transitional cell carcinoma. From Dr. Brooks, we learn that while “cancers are rare in pets, more than half (up to 70%) of bladder tumors developed by pets are transitional cell carcinomas”. The specific causes are not known, but are higher in females, and equated to less urine marking; possibly storing urinary toxins longer.

Potty Breaks Throughout The Day Mean Healthier Pets

Now that you know the answer to the question ‘how frequently should dogs urinate?’, please schedule three pet sitting visits per day with your pet sitter for potty breaks and dog walks for schedule pee breaks. Your dog will appreciate the extra attention, the chance to relieve himself and his health will be better for it.