We can’t always be there to help our dogs relieve themselves. We may be really busy at work or just doing other errands outside the house.
It may cause you to fear an accident will happen around the house since you will not take your dog out to urinate or poop when he needs to.
So, how long can dogs realistically hold their bladders and bowels?
As a general rule of thumb, dogs can hold their pee for about 1 hour for every month of age, plus 1, and for a maximum of 10-12 hours. However, it is recommended that adult dogs relieve themselves every 6-8 hours (3-4 times a day) when their bladders are about half-full.
When it comes to pooping, healthy dogs can technically hold their poop for more than 24 hours. Still, it shouldn’t be a regular thing. You should take your dog out for potty breaks every 4 hours if possible. Most dogs naturally empty their bowels around 1-5 times a day, depending on factors such as diet, stress, and medical conditions.
Taking more than 24 hours between potty breaks may mean that your dog is constipated. In that case, a vet visit may be needed.
The following table shows roughly how long healthy dogs should be able to hold their pee in. Take your dog out every couple of hours as recommended:
|Age||Can Hold Bladder For||Take Out Every|
|0 months (Newborn Puppy)||30-60 minutes||15-30 minutes|
|1 month (Puppy)||1-2 hours||30-60 minutes|
|2 months (Puppy)||2-3 hours||1-1.5 hours|
|3 months (Puppy)||3-4 hours||1.5-2 hours|
|4 months (Puppy)||4-5 hours||2-2.5 hours|
|5 months (Puppy)||5-6 hours||2.5-3 hours|
|6 months (Puppy)||6-7 hours||3-3.5 hours|
|7 months (Puppy)||7-8 hours||3.5-4 hours|
|8 months (Puppy)||8-9 hours||4-5 hours|
|9 months (Puppy)||9-10 hours||5-6 hours|
|10-12 months (Puppy)||10-12 hours||6-8 hours|
|1-7 years (Adult)||10-12 hours||6-8 hours|
|7+ years (Senior)||4-12 hours||2-6 hours|
It is important that you follow the recommended guidelines to avoid various health risks and discomfort for your dog.
I know the recommended times to take your dog out might be a bit hard to follow if you have a packed schedule. Don’t be discouraged, though. There are some solutions you can try if you can’t manage to follow them precisely. We’ll explore them down below.
First, let’s understand the variables at play regarding the time dogs can hold it in for.
The general rule of thumb and the table outlined above is generally true. Yet, individual dogs may be affected by other things causing them to not hold it longer.
Newborn puppies’ bladders are still tiny and not well developed, so they are not expected to hold their pee in for more than 30-60 minutes at a time.
As the puppies grow bigger and stronger and become adults (after about 1-2 years), their bladder capacities also increase. A fully developed adult dog should be able to hold it for at most 10-12 hours.
When adult dogs become seniors, at around age 7, their ability to hold it in decreases. They may start losing muscle control, have mobility restrictions or have age-related health conditions. All of which may make it harder for them to hold it in. Most senior dogs may need to relieve themselves every 2-6 hours, depending on their age and health.
Smaller dogs have smaller bladders. Thus, they usually can hold it in a bit less than bigger dogs and produce less urine per day.
An average healthy adult dog produces about 10-20ml of urine per pound of body weight per day.
An average 190lbs adult Mastiff may produce up to 1900-2000ml of urine. That’s about 8-9 cups of pee a day.
Now that’s a LOT of pee.
As a comparison, an average 24lbs adult French Bulldog may produce up to 240-480ml. That’s about 1-2 cups only.
Quite the difference.
It goes without saying that a dog that drinks more water may pee more often.
When it comes to food, all else being equal, a dog eating kibble only will most likely need to pee less than a dog eating a raw diet or wet dog food.
The raw ingredients and wet dog food contain water, which helps the dog stay hydrated.
That is great, though. Please don’t avoid giving your dog water and healthy food items because you want him to pee less.
Regarding health issues, your dog may have a more challenging time controlling his bladder if:
Not all dogs are the same. Some dogs may get uncomfortable faster, even with the same amount of urine in their bladders.
So, if your dog doesn’t seem to hold up to the urine standards mentioned earlier, have a veterinarian rule out potential health problems that may be causing this.
If your dog is healthy, then you have no reason to stress over it.
If your dog holds it in for too long (over the recommended times), a few things may happen:
To avoid all those things, do your best to have the dog relieve himself when his bladder is about half-full. This is about 6-8 hours for a healthy adult dog. You can look at the exact recommended times in the table outline at the beginning of this article.
It can be very hard for a person working a full-time job to adhere to the recommended times.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do.
Here are some free options, although more cumbersome:
If you are willing to spend some money to solve this problem for you, you can try any of the following: