How Often Should I Take My Dog Out For a Walk?
[In-depth guide]

By kropek2021. • Updated July 3, 2021

Canines are everyone’s favorite pets for a reason – they’re loyal, loving, and overall delightful. So it’s no wonder pet parents often worry themselves sick about the needs of their furbaby.

One of the most common questions from first-time dog parents is how often should I take my dog out to pee? So, here’s what I decided to do – write a comprehensive canine guide that talks about how often you should take your doggo out to use the ‘bathroom’ – no matter your pet’s age or training.

If you’re worried about your pet’s bladder, you’ll likely find your answer here about how many outside trips a dog needs per day. Just stick with me as I break down the science behind doggy care.

Bathroom Breaks - How often should you take your dog out to pee?

Have you ever noticed how matter-of-fact parents are about their infant’s potty and pee schedule? Well, if you’ve got plans to become a dog owner – you’d better leave your reserve behind when it comes to talking about elimination schedules.

Like all living things, dogs need to pee and poo, and if you don’t want unwelcome surprises in different parts of the house, you need to get your new puppy house trained as soon as you can manage it.

Additionally, things can get even trickier when you realize there’s no clear-cut answer as to how often your pet should go out to do its business. For instance, determining your dog’s schedule depends on factors like age, health, breed, size, and diet.

And, before you start hyperventilating – relax. I never said there’s no way to figure out your canine’s ‘go pee pee’ schedule. Of course, you can (just like every dog owner in existence has), but the process takes a bit of time, observation, and some quick thinking.

Plus, you’ve got me—your very own dog trainer with years of canine experience at your service.I’ve taken the liberty of helping you sort your pet’s elimination schedule by dealing with puppies, adult dogs, and older dogs separately. That way, dog parents can jump to the relevant section according to their needs. Ready? Here it goes.

Elimination Timelines For Puppies

Puppies are a lot like babies in the sense that it may take some time for your pup to develop bladder control and that it’ll likely need to pee frequently. Where puppies are concerned, the general rule of thumb is that taking your pet out hourly to relieve itself during the day is best.

That means when you bring your 8-week old pup home, you’re going to spend some serious time going outside to take care of your little guy’s (or gal’s) urination urges. I know what you’re thinking – how can you possibly continue that kind of schedule at night?

Here’s the good news – you don’t have to. Instead, you should feed your pup its last meal for the night at least three hours before bedtime and take away the water bowl one hour before bedtime – that’ll give you plenty of time to walk your pet for one or two final potty breaks before it is lights out.

What’s more, as your pup grows, so will its bladder and retention abilities. As a result, a pup at the six-month age mark is much better at controlling its elimination urges. 

Nonetheless, to avoid problems like elimination in the house or a urinary tract infection, it’s best to take your pup out every two hours – even at six months of age.

Keep in mind that as your puppy acclimatizes to its routine, you’ll be able to tell when your pet needs to relieve itself

For example, it may whine or scratch the door, etc., to let you know it’s feeling full. Plus, there’s the added advantage of your pet associating going outside to going to the bathroom – which is what potty training is all about.

Elimination Timelines For Adult Dogs

A healthy dog can produce around 10 to 20 ml of urine per pound of body weight. Ideally, your adult dog should be allowed to go outside to relieve itself every four hours during the day or 3 to 5 times per day.

However, if your pet has been crate-trained, it will be able to hold its pee for around 8 hours to 10 hours. But, be warned that your dog may be vulnerable to health conditions like urinary tract infections and urinary stones if it holds on to its urine for long periods.

No rule says large breed dogs can control their bladders better compared to small breeds. A large-sized canine will produce more urine, whereas a small-sized one has a smaller bladder capacity.

Plus, external factors like weight or health can also play a role in determining how many times your pet needs to go outside per day. For instance, obese dogs will need to pee more often, as will canines with issues like diabetes.

Long story short, remember every canine is unique, and what works for other dogs may not work for yours. Therefore, it’s best to work out how many times a day your dog should go out based on its individual characteristics.

The generalizations shouldn’t be taken as gospel – they’re there to help you figure out your pet’s schedule.

Elimination Timelines For Older Dogs

It’s fascinating how many similarities humans and canines share. One of them is weakening bladder control due to age. That’s why canines in their golden years are a lot like puppies when it comes to holding urine in.

The inability to go outside in time or eliminating indoors has nothing to do with spite or misbehaving – it’s just that your dog can’t help itself. 

Senior canines should get a bathroom break every 4 to 6 hours. Once again, this statistic doesn’t take into account your pet’s unique circumstances. For instance, if your older dog has diabetes and drinks more water – that means you’ll have to adjust the schedule according to its needs.

Additionally, if your pet’s going through cognitive dysfunction or memory loss – you’re the one who’s going to have to take the initiative on frequent bathroom breaks because your pet may not remember. 

We recommend pet parents of senior dogs invest in waterproof and memory foam dog beds – because they help with orthopedic conditions and are easier to clean in case of house soiling.

Things to consider

What’s baseball without a curveball every so often? Unfortunately, life tends to throw curveballs, too – when you least expect them. That’s why I’ve compiled a section of pro tips that may make your life easier when it comes to looking after your dog’s urinary needs.

When to contact the vet

Frequent urination on its own isn’t something those dog parents should worry about. However, if your pet’s urinating more than usual with a few other symptoms, it’s best to take your dog to the vet asap. Here are some of the warnings signs you should look out for:

  • Your pet is uncomfortable or straining during urination
  • The color of your canine’s urine changes from yellow to red or very dark
  • A sudden uptake in the number of times your dog wants to out to pee

Getting additional help

Dog owners often feel guilty about how they treat their pets – even if everything’s going perfectly fine. Although, sometimes, it’s a good idea to delegate some of your responsibilities and reach out for help.

For example, if you’re away from home a lot – it’s perfectly okay to engage the services of a reputed dog walker. This way, your dog’s elimination schedule will work like clockwork, and your dog’s health won’t be compromised in any way because walking (and exercise) is an essential part of your pet’s care routine.

Travel (road trips or otherwise)

Traveling with a pet does raise the issue of where and when your pet should relieve itself. If you’re traveling with an adult dog, just follow the schedule you keep at home.

However, if you’re making a trip with your pup or senior dog, you might want to stock up on training pads and line them in the pet carrier so that your pet doesn’t have to go hours without urinating. You can also invest in doggy diapers, depending on the amount of travel time.

Lastly, don’t forget to pack up your doggo’s leash – for when you need to take your pet on bathroom walks.

Conclusion

The first rule of the doggy club is – that when your dog needs to go, it needs to go. And, just like diet and exercise needs may vary from canine to canine or breed to breed – there’s no set way to determine how much or often your pet should go outdoors to urinate.

Nonetheless, pet parents can work out a schedule that works to their dog’s health and advantage by considering factors like age, size, weight, health, breed, and diet. Just follow the tips and tricks mentioned in this guide, and you’ll do just fine.