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How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? Dog Behavior Explained

Written by: Hallie Roddy

Last Updated on April 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee? Dog Behavior Explained

Being a dog owner means that, at some point, you’re going to have to deal with an accident in the house. Urinating in the house is expected at a young age, but it becomes more serious as your dog matures. One of the biggest reasons a trained dog would pee inside the house is because we don’t let them outside enough. So, just how long can your dog stay indoors without using the bathroom?

The answer depends on a few different factors. Most dogs can hold their pee for a few hours, but it depends on their age and size. Keep reading to learn more!

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The 2 Factors That Affect How Long a Dog Can Hold Their Pee

1. Size

Size is an important factor affecting how long a dog can hold their pee. Larger dogs tend to be able to hold their pee in longer than small dogs because of the size of their bladders. However, even if you have a giant breed, that doesn’t mean they can stay inside all day. All dogs need frequent bathroom breaks throughout the day.

a german shepherd lying on the table outdoor
Image Credit: lancegfx, Pixabay

2. Age

One of the most obvious reasons for a dog not being able to hold its bladder for a long time is age. Puppies and senior dogs have less control over their bowels than adult dogs. Every dog is different, and you might experience something different from this, but generally, this is true for almost all dogs.

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How Long Can Dogs Hold Their Pee?

Puppies (Under 6 Months)

Very young puppies under 6 months old need to be let out more frequently than older dogs. Most can hold their bladders for 1–3 hours. The younger they are, the more you have to let them outside. You should also let puppies outside right after drinking or eating.

rottweiler puppies running
Image by: Rita_Kochmarjova, Shutterstock

Puppies (Over 6 Months)

As puppies mature, they start to be able to hold their pee in for a little bit longer. Puppies that are over 6 months of age 10 are able to hold their bladders for roughly 2 to 6 hours. This timeline, of course, depends on the individual.

Adults (Under 7 Years)

Most healthy adult dogs have no problem holding their bladders for between 6 and 8 hours a day. This is ideal for owners who need to leave the house for work. Still, you might consider finding someone to let them out in the middle of the workday to relieve themselves.

chow chow dog in the grass
Image by: Flower_Garden, Shutterstock

Seniors (Over 12 Years)

Once a dog hits the age of 12 they are considered a senior, and their ability to hold their bladder drops. Senior dogs can only hold their bladders between 2 and 4 hours per day. Again, each dog is different, and these are general rules that may or may not apply to your pet.

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Should I Be Concerned About How Long My Dog Can Hold Its Bladder?

Dog Pee on Grass
Image by: Ching Louis Liu, Shutterstock

There could be a variety of factors affecting your dog’s ability to hold its bladder during the day. To start, how often and how much they eat and drink are going to significantly impact how frequent their bathroom breaks are. More moisture leads to more frequent urination. This might be a hassle for you, but it’s nice knowing that they are staying hydrated.

On the other hand, there are times when frequent urination is a cause for concern. This could be one of the symptoms of issues with their kidney or liver. If you suspect that it is a problem, then it’s better to err on the side of caution and take them to see a vet to rule out any medical issues.



Even though most dogs are able to hold their pee for several hours, it depends largely on each individual dog and a variety of other factors. We hope that you take this as an opportunity to learn more about dog behavior and try to let your pooch out as much as they need. While frequent urination isn’t always a sign of medical issues, it is still possible. Either way, it’s best to be safe and take your dog to see their vet if they cannot hold their bladders for an appropriate amount of time based on their age.

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Featured Image Credit: Liliya Kulianionak, Shutterstock

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