When it comes to regular urination in our pups, how much is too much? If your dog suddenly seems to empty its bladder every hour on the hour, it may have an underlying health condition. Learn more about frequent urination and how to treat a pup that's peeing a lot.
Does your dog need to pee a lot? Are you concerned because their urination frequency changed suddenly?
We come to expect this behavior from a pup with a little bladder or a senior dog with weakened muscles, as they naturally tend to urinate more than a healthy adult dog.
As you get familiar with your dog, you learn the ins and outs of their body function and can practically predict their bathroom breaks like clockwork.
If something seems out of whack and your dog is peeing with increased frequency, it can be a sign of a minor or a more serious medical issue. Your crucial duty as a canine owner is to monitor their behavior, treat them at home, and see a vet as needed.
Learn more about normal dog urination behaviors, so you can determine the best next steps, if any, for your doggo.
Understanding Your Dog's Routines: How Often Do Dogs Pee?
Should you worry about your dog's peeing habits?
A dog needs to pee when its bladder fills - but dog breeds come in a range of sizes from tiny teacup pup to a 200-lb Newfoundland, with bladder sizes to match.
On average, most dogs pee 3 to 5 times per day every 4-8 hours.
If you own a small dog, expect them to sit on the lower end of the scale, while large breeds will slide to the higher end and be able to hold their pee the longest.
Puppies have undeveloped bladders that mean they easily have accidents and need to pee almost twice the average amount, 5-10 times a day or every two hours.
Polyuria: Abnormal Urination Habits
There's a name for the abnormal increase in urine some dogs experience - polyuria. It can occur when a dog is urinating more often, urinating increased fluid volume, or both.
Polyuria can sometimes be paired with another issue, polydipsia, in which a pup has increased thirst and is drinking more water than usual.
There are three primary types of polyuria, increased urination, in our pups:
- Physiological polyuria occurs when your dog is drinking more water and, therefore, needing to evacuate more of it.
- Pharmacological polyuria happens when a dog consumes more sodium or drugs that cause increased urination.
- Pathological polyuria is increased urination caused by metabolic issues and disorders.
Excessive Peeing: 7 Reasons For Frequent Urination
There are plenty of reasons for frequent urination in dogs, ranging from minor behavioral issues to significant health concerns. Look for these common canine factors that can contribute to your dog's need to pee.
#1 Marking Their Territory
This instinctive behavior can be a tough habit to break, especially in unneutered and unspayed animals with stronger natural instincts to attract a mate using their scent.
Fixed animals may also exhibit this behavior if they see it modeled by other pups or get spayed or neutered at a later age when some of those instincts have already started to kick in.
Peeing is a social behavior for pups, and they use it to communicate with each other (luckily, it's a trait not shared by humans).
Beyond the standard ways dogs pee to speak to each other, they may experience social triggers, like anxiety, that cause them to urinate and express these negative, stressed feelings.
#2 Old Age
We know that pups gain better bladder control as they age when then begins to decline as they age further.
Senior dogs can have more trouble holding their urine because of two urinary sphincters - much like in humans, a dog's muscles will weaken as they age, and controlling their bodily functions becomes more difficult.
These urinary sphincters control urine expelling through the urethra and weaken over time.
#3 The Changing of the Seasons
You may notice that your doggo begins to pee more between the spring awakening and Labor Day for an utterly harmless reason.
During the warmer weather months, your dog needs to drink more water to stay hydrated. A dog pants to regulate its body temperature, and without sweat glands, they won't lose their excess moisture through their pores. Instead, a pup will urinate more often.
A dog may also urinate more often in the polar opposite season - in cold weather, a dog's body constricts blood flow to the skin to keep its core warm.
The kidney filters out excess fluid from the blood to slow the flow and release it through a dog's bladder.
#4 Spaying and Neutering
While neutering and spaying often reduce accidents, it can sometimes lead to more accidents due to the rapid hormone change after surgery.
These issues should get better over time as hormones balance out and urinary muscles gain more strength.
#5 Minor and Serious Health Conditions
It can be scary to know your pup is suffering from an unknown health condition.
Still, many conditions that cause frequent urination are on the minor end of the spectrum, like a urinary tract infection or canine bladder infection, and can be well-managed with treatment.
First, however, you need to take your pup to the vet so they can get checked by a professional.
Here are a few common canine health conditions that can affect urination frequency:
- Urinary Tract Infection/Bladder Infection. Urination can often be strained and contain blood with increased frequency.
- Diabetes. Yep, dogs can develop this shared human condition, too. If your pup has issues with its insulin, he may urinate more often, vomit frequently, feel sluggish, lose his appetite, and have frequent kidney infections and problems.
- Kidney Infection. Alongside canine diabetes, toxin exposure can infect a dog's kidneys, which leads to excessive drinking and urination. In the worst cases, this can cause canine kidney failure.
- Cushing's disease. This disease makes the body produce too much cortisol, which gets stored in the adrenals near the kidneys resulting in more frequent urination.
#6 Diuretics, Steroids, and Other Puppy Meds
Some medications like diuretics and steroids offer crucial functions for a dog but will also increase urination.
If your pup suddenly urinates more after being put on a medication by a vet, it's likely a side effect of the drug. If you're unsure, check in with your vet to ensure it's normal behavior.
#7 Electrolyte Imbalance
Electrolytes are charged mineral compounds like sodium that move through a pup's body and perform essential functions.
A high sodium diet can throw electrolytes into imbalance, leading to fatigue, increased thirst, and, you guessed it - excessive urination.
Other Signs of Urination Problems
Other than a frequent need to urinate and increased volume, these are a few more signs that may point to trouble:
- Straining to urinate
- Urine with an unusual odor
- Excessive water drinking
- Blood in the urine
Final Notes: At-Home and Vet Care
- If your pup has any accidents around your house, clean them up immediately and be thorough - you don't want to leave any lingering scent of the pee, which can encourage your dog to do the bad deed in the same spot again.
- Feed your pup a healthy diet and avoid overly salted foods that may affect your dog's delicate electrolyte balance and essential organ function.
- Until you address the root of the issue, try incorporating pee pads around your home if your dog cannot hold it for long.
- You can also find male dog diapers or female dog diapers, which vary in shape and size to best suit each gender.
Take your dog to the vet
While some temporary solutions can help to keep your pup more comfortable in the meantime, eventually, your doggo needs to be checked over by a professional who can diagnose and treat the problem as required.
For infections, your dog's vet may prescribe antibiotics. Depending on the issue, your pup may need hormone replacements, diabetes medication, dietary changes, or a combination of different treatments.
We hope these tips help and that your sweet furry pal gets back to their usual self soon!