Is Frequent Urination in Dogs Normal?

When frequent urinary accidents in dogs are a medical concern.

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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.

Summary

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.

5 COMMENTS

  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 …

    • Oh God, I am crying for you too. I am so sorry you lost your baby. I have a little Yorkie who is now 8 and when I think of losing her, I swear I become almost paralyzed.

      I will say a prayer that your heart heals.

    • So very sorry for the loss of your beloved Corgi. We also have a Corgi that’s getting on in age, The thought of him leaving us is difficult to imagine. It will take time for your heart to heal your loss.

    • 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.

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