Is Frequent Urination in Dogs Normal?

When frequent urinary accidents in dogs are a medical concern.


It’s a beautiful morning. You roll out of bed, stretch, yawn, get up to make some coffee…and step in a puddle of dog pee. Now that you think about it, your dog has been having some accidents in the house recently. It’s not like your canine companion to suddenly have the urge to go wherever, whenever. Could your dog’s frequent peeing be illness-related?

Increased urinary accidents in the house can point to a health issue and should not be ignored. It could be something as treatable as a simple urinary tract infection or it could be more serious. When you notice that your dog is urinating more, it is important to observe what is happening so that a veterinarian can help you sort out the cause.

With that said, how many times a day should a dog urinate? The truth is, it varies. Large breed dogs may only go every 6-8 hours, while a smaller dog may need to pee more often. As a general rule, every 4-8 hours is normal. Most dogs can hold urine overnight.

little dog peeing outside
Phawat Topaisan

What Causes Frequent Urination in Dogs?

To gain more information, watch your dog closely when outside on walks. Many of us let our dogs outside in a fenced yard without direct supervision. Walk with your dog and scrutinize urinary behavior. Is your dog squatting often but only passing a small amount of urine, or is it large puddles each time? Is your dog straining during urination? Is there blood? This information is very helpful in determining the cause.

After a few walks, it’s time to call the veterinarian. During an examination, several things will happen. Your veterinarian should take a thorough history on your pet that includes vaccination status, previous illnesses including urinary tract infections, any medications your dog takes (this DOES include over-the-counter supplements and non-prescription medications such as Benadryl), diet, and possible exposures to any toxins. After this, a head-to-toe examination is in order.

If the symptoms your dog exhibits are straining to urinate, frequent, small accidents or repeated, small puddles when going outdoors, a likely cause is a lower urinary tract issue such as a bladder infection, bladder stones, or cystitis (bladder inflammation). Diagnostics will include a urine sample, urine culture, and possibly x-rays of the bladder. Some breeds such as Schnauzers are more prone to certain lower urinary tract issues like bladder stones.

If the symptoms are large puddles of urine frequently with increased drinking, this is referred to as polyuria/polydipsia or “PU/PD.” These symptoms require a much more thorough diagnostic approach. Your veterinarian will likely recommend bloodwork, urinalysis, and abdominal xrays to start. PU/PD has a host of causes ranging from metabolic diseases like kidney failure or Cushing’s disease to toxin exposure and elevated blood calcium levels.

Read more on frequent urination here.

Can Spaying Caused Urinary Incontinence?

This isn’t an easy question to answer unfortunately. It does appear that there is a relationship between spaying (called an OHE) and the development of urinary incontinence. It tends to happen within about 3 years after the spay is done and in dogs > 45 lbs. (though any size dog can be affected). The exact cause is unknown. Age of the dog at OHE may play a role, but this is controversial. When deciding a time to spay your female, it is best to have a frank discussion with your veterinarian and weigh the benefits and risks of timing.

Is My Dog Urine Marking?

In some cases, urination in the house can be a marking behavior. This tends to be in unaltered animals, particularly males. It would be unusual for a neutered male or female to suddenly start marking territory, although it does happen – often with the introduction of new pets into the household.


A sudden change in a dog’s urinary habits is always a cause for further investigation. Monitor your dog’s bathroom breaks, then schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian will help determine the cause through a history and physical exam, as well as diagnostic testing. What may seem like a “wee” problem could be something serious, so speak with your veterinarian if you have any concerns.


  1. My RR who doesn’t like getting her fur wet when it’s raining outside will hold everyting until it stops raining (12-14 hrs); however, when she’s loose running in the woods she’ll pee once or twice and then she’ll squat like she’s peeing, but doesn’t, I guess this is a marking her domain procedure. Comments?

  2. My (then) 12-yr-old female Pembroke Welsh Corgi started having urinary accidents around March 2018. Since she was reliably housetrained, this was unusual. We went to Dr. Vet and she was given medication to treat a suspected UTI – but the accidents didn’t stop. The vet then did an x-ray of her urogenital system and notice something odd where the urethra enters the bladder. She said, “I don’t know what it is.” Long story short, my beloved Katie was hospitalized at the local ER, which decided they couldn’t treat her, and was transferred to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph, Ontario – the premiere animal care hospital in the province (if not the country). She had surgery to insert a urethral stent and biopsies revealed that her frequent urination was the result of incurable transitional cell carcinoma (bladder cancer). We embarked on months of chemotherapy to prolong Katie’s quality of life (she tolerated it w no side effects or I would have stopped), but one year later, in May 2019, the wonderful oncologist told me that new scans revealed the TCC had metastasized significantly and that my beloved little girl had 2-4 wks left. Four wks later, Katie’s quality of life suddenly deteriorated and I had to let her go on an emergency basis. So excessive urination CAN indicate bladder cancer. She died 3 mos ago and I’m still heartbroken – but at least I had time to say goodbye and thank you. Crying again …

      • I also have a 6 year old YORKIE who has become my lifeline in the face of a tragic year after losing my mom. She got fixed recently and is peeing more frequently throughout the day. I’m worried that somethings wrong with her kidneys because my last dog had kidney disease and that’s the way the symptoms started. I hope I’m just paranoid ..I also get paralyzed with fear just thinking about anything bad happening to her

    • My heart goes out to you. I am just starting with bloodwork and urinalysis with my rescued Chihuahua-ish girl who gave birth to a litter of eight in my living room a little over ten years ago. I kept two of her boys, and had all three fixed (I still think it should be called “broke” since they are unable to reproduce!). I hope I get the results soon. in the meantime I remind Chloë not to go pee pee on my bed and encourage her to go outside to pee every couple of hours. She now goes out and pees on command.

  3. Thank you for this article. We just rescued a 3 year-old Bernier-Border Collie mix (we think). We’ve had her for 3 weeks and she occasionally pees in the house – usually a large amount. We take her out frequently and praise her lavishly when she pees outside but the indoor peeing is still happening. She also drinks a lot of water – more than any other dog we’ve lived with. We’ve been trying to figure out if these are behavioral issues related to her anxiety at being removed from her previous home to a shelter where we found her. She seems to be calmer and learning the ropes from our gentle guidance and from our 8 year-old Shepherd mix boy. I just made a vet appointment to check for physical issues after reading this. I love WDJ!

  4. I have a nine-year-old Petty mix which has been having accidents at least three times in the house she does get me up at night time to take her out more frequently than she has in the past . I took a urine sample and send it over to her doctors they did a check and there was no UTI . Now I’m just wondering and very scared if she might have kidney failure this is my daughters one favorite dog we also have two other dogs but she constantly wakes me up during the night and if I don’t make it to the door fast enough she will sit on the rug and urinate and that Now I’m just wondering I’m very scared if she might have kidney failure this is my daughters one favorite dog we also have two other dogs but she constantly wakes me up during the night and if I don’t make it to the door fast enough she will sit on the rug and urinate on that. She will be going to the Veterinarian soon I pray to God that she’s going to be all right .

    • Hi Joyce, hope your beautiful girl is ok. I put a pad in the basement about 2 years ago and told my beautiful Shipoo Tina to pee on the pad if she has to go and we are not at home or in the night and bless her she does exactly that and have been doing so for 2 years – not every day – she is 12 1/2 now. She has a UTI and I am giving her a natural anti-biotic from my vet and probiotic and herbal powders. We also have a magnetic mat that she goes on as well. Our dog also eats raw food and the vet and our animal communicator say that is still good for her. I hope this works out well for you and your girl!!

  5. Our American bulldog has a large wee when we first go out, and then the whole walk can only go a few steps without squatting or thinking about squatting for a pretend wee. She can’t keep up on walks because she is constantly thinking about having a phantom wee. Any ideas? Driving me insane.

  6. I have a 4 month old goldendoodle who is potty trained. The first month he was able to sleep through the night without waking up to go out. Over this past week, he walks around the house whining and wakes up every three hours to pee. I’ve also noticed he drinks large amounts of water at a time and doesn’t drink again for a few hours. He goes right away when I take him out but then turns around to come right back inside. Is there a big concern here? Should I take him to the vet? Or would a phone call describing the symptoms be sufficient enough to get a general idea of what is going on.