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Do dogs feel the need to pee?

Dogs, like all mammals, need to urinate and defecate regularly. This is an important bodily function that allows them to eliminate waste products from their system. As pet owners, it’s important we understand our dogs’ need to pee and poop so we can set up a proper schedule and meet their needs. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons dogs need to pee, how often they need to go, signs they need to go, and how to properly potty train our furry friends.

Why Do Dogs Need to Pee?

Dogs need to pee for the same reason humans do: to eliminate liquid waste from their body. Here are some of the main sources of liquid waste in a dog’s body:

Excess Water

Dogs need to consume water regularly to stay hydrated. However, not all the water they drink gets used by the body – some of it ends up as excess that needs to be eliminated. Peeing allows the body to get rid of this surplus water before it throws off the delicate fluid balance in the body.

Metabolic Waste

During metabolism, the body’s cells produce liquid waste like urea and uric acid. This needs to be filtered out of the bloodstream by the kidneys and excreted from the body via urine. If allowed to build up, metabolic waste can become toxic.

Toxins and Medications

The kidneys filter out toxins, medications, and their byproducts from the bloodstream. These also get eliminated from the body through the urine. This is why urine often changes color or smell after the dog consumes certain foods or medications.


Hormones like aldosterone and anti-diuretic hormone help regulate the body’s fluid balance. When their levels change, the kidneys adjust the amount of water reabsorbed back into the bloodstream vs. lost as urine. More urine may be produced as hormone levels fluctuate.

So in summary, dogs pee to get rid of excess water, metabolic waste, toxins, medications, and to maintain proper hormone balance. It’s a natural and necessary process.

How Often Do Dogs Need to Pee?

Most healthy adult dogs pee between 4-10 times per day. More frequent urination may indicate:

– Puppy still potty training
– Excess water consumption
– Illness like UTI or kidney disease
– Incontinence due to age, spaying, excitement, etc.

Pee frequency is also affected by factors like:


Puppies have lower bladder control and smaller bladders, so they tend to pee more often, like every 1-2 hours. Senior dogs may begin peeing more frequently as they develop incontinence.


Larger breeds have bigger bladders and may only need to go every 6-8 hours. Small breeds have tiny bladders and may need potty breaks every 2-4 hours.

Fluids and Diet

Dogs who consume more water will of course need to pee more often than dogs who don’t drink as much. Water content in foods also contributes to pee output.

Activity Level

Very active dogs drink and pee more throughout the day than lower energy dogs. Exercise and excitement can also make them need to go more urgently.

Medical Issues

Bladder infections, stones, diabetes, kidney disease, etc. can all increase how often dogs need to urinate. Medications like steroids may also contribute.

So pee frequency varies, but healthy adult dogs typically need potty breaks at least 3-5 times in 24 hours. Be attentive to your dog’s routine and health for cues they may need to go more often.

Signs Your Dog Needs to Pee

Dogs give us both subtle and obvious clues that they need a potty break. Look for these common signs:

Whining and barking

Dogs who suddenly become vocal may be telling you it’s time for a bathroom trip! Whining, barking and even howling can indicate urgent pee pressure.

Pacing and circling

Your dog may walk in circles or pace back and forth when they’re looking for the right spot to pee. They are feeling the urge to go but can’t settle in one place.

Nose to the ground

Dogs on the hunt for the perfect pee spot often walk around with their nose glued to the ground. They are sniffing out previous urine marks.

Sniffing and squatting

Frequent sniffing and repeatedly squatting without peeing are clear signals. They are looking for a spot but haven’t found it yet.

Leg lifting

Male dogs lift their leg to pee on vertical surfaces when they are feeling the urge to mark territory. If your dog is suddenly hiking his leg more often, he likely needs to go.


Pee accidents obviously confirm your dog couldn’t hold it any longer. Use these incidents to adjust your potty schedule.

By recognizing these signs, you can let your dog outside right when they need it and prevent indoor accidents. Pay attention and act promptly if your dog is asking to pee!

House Training Tips

To potty train a puppy or dog:

Stick to a schedule

Puppies do best peeing every 1-2 hours. Adults need at least 3-5 potty breaks daily. Feed and water dogs on a consistent timetable as well.

Use a crate

Dogs don’t like to soil their sleeping space. Crating them teaches bladder control.

Reward instantly

The second your dog pees or poops outside, praise them excitedly! Give treats and affection immediately so they connect the behavior with positive reinforcement.

Clean accidents completely

Use an enzymatic cleaner to fully erase the smell and residue. Dogs are drawn back to spots that smell like urine.

Limit freedom

Don’t give puppies unsupervised run of the house until fully potty trained. Confine them when you can’t directly supervise.

Be patient!

Accidents happen, especially with young puppies. Stick to your training schedule and celebrate all successes, no matter how small. Progress takes time.

With a proactive routine, plenty of trips outside, praise for going in the right spot, and managed freedom, you can teach your new dog good potty habits.

When to See the Vet

While peeing is a normal dog behavior, some changes warrant a vet visit:

– Peeing much more or less frequently
– Straining or crying when peeing
– Leaking urine involuntarily
– Urinating in unusual places
– Blood in the urine

Urinary issues like infections, stones, tumors, kidney disease, diabetes and incontinence can cause problems with peeing. Persistent difficulties or abnormalities should be evaluated by your vet, especially in senior dogs. Treatment is available for most conditions.

The Bottom Line

Dogs need to pee and poop just like we do! Understanding why they go, how often, signs they need to go, and proper potty training techniques will help you meet your dog’s needs. Pay attention to their bathroom schedule and habits. With patience and positive reinforcement, even young pups will master the potty skills needed to be happy, healthy companions!