Should You Be Concerned if Your Dog Is Peeing a Lot?

Dogs communicate with their pee. Not only do they mark territory, but when and where dogs pee speaks volumes about their state of mind, their interests and their priorities. If you aren't studying your dog's urinating behaviors, then you are missing out on a huge part of his or her life.

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Observant pet parents sometimes notice fluctuations in both the frequency and volume of urine their best friends produce, which often prompts questions about whether or not they should worry when dogs pee a lot.

How often do dogs pee?

While the frequency of urination will vary depending on size, breed and age of your dog, most dogs pee 3-5 times each day, every 4-8 hours. However, puppies pee almost twice that amount (every two hours), but they will learn to control their bladders for longer intervals of time as they age. Larger breeds have larger bladders and can go about 6-8 hours, while the smaller dogs need to urinate more frequently.

Clear as mud? Thought so. As a general rule of thumb, an average-sized dog of average age needs to urinate every 6-8 hours. Adjust that rule to your dog accordingly.

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How much do dogs pee?

Normally, a dog's total urinary output over the course of a day is about .7 ounces per pound. This means a 20-pound dog will urinate about 14 ounces each day, which is a bit more than a can of beer.

Should you worry when your dog pees a lot?

There are a variety of reasons why dogs may suddenly begin to urinate more; some are innocuous, while others may be symptoms of underlying health disorders. Understanding the root cause of your dog's urinary habits is of vital importance when discerning between the commonplace and the abnormal.

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Common reasons your dog is peeing more

It's normal for pet parents to obsess about their dogs' health. The good news is that your dog is pretty tough and that not every sneeze or surprise nap is a sign of illness.

Food and medications may cause dogs to pee more Some medications, especially diuretics, can cause dogs to urinate more frequently. In fact, some nutrients may increase the number of potty breaks dogs take. Canned food has more moisture than dry food, which will result in more peeing. Similarly, salty food causes dogs to both drink and pee more.

A dog's age affects their urinary behavior Urinary incontinence impacts the lives of most dogs, and the condition often begins during middle age and progresses into a dog's senior years. Once dogs develop urinary incontinence, they're often not able to stop themselves from unexpected potty breaks. A veterinarian can help diagnose your best friend and even prescribe a course of treatment that may include medication or surgery.

Seasonal changes can cause dogs to pee more frequently
Most pet parents often don't realize one of the most obvious variants affecting their dogs urinary schedule: temperature changes. More frequent urination could simply be a sign that dogs are thirstier than usual because of seasonal weather cycles. Dogs don't sweat like humans do. They regulate their body temperature by panting, which uses more of their body's stored water. An increase in water consumption not only helps dogs cope with increased heat, but it also results in more potty breaks.

Marking behavior is probably not why your dog is peeing more often Marking behavior is often cited as a reason for a sudden increase in peeing, but it's unlikely that a spayed or neutered dog would abruptly start urinating more frequently, as the "fixing" process greatly suppresses the instincts for males to mark territory and females to communicate estrus.

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Serious medical reasons that cause dogs to pee more

Once you have ruled out any of the commonplace reasons that a dog could be urinating more frequently, the following possibilities could be a more serious cause that requires the consultation of a veterinarian to both diagnose and treat.

Spay incontinence
Spaying and neutering your dogs is one of the many duties of a responsible pet parent. Not only does does "fixing" your best friend prevent unwanted pregnancies and hep suppress the homeless pet population, there are numerous health benefits like decreased risk of cancers. However, as with any medical procedure, there can be complications. Some dogs, especially females, can experience urinary incontinence after spaying or neutering. Visit our dog incontinence guide to learn about how to help your best friend.

Urinary tract infection
A urinary tract infection is a common and treatable condition that causes dogs to urinate more frequently. Like incontinence, UTIs affect female dogs more than male dogs of any breed or age group. UTIs occur in dogs when bacteria gets into the genital openings. Typically, a veterinarian will treat with a round of antibiotics.

Small amounts of urine When dogs strain to urinate or pee small amounts unexpectedly, then they may be suffering from a lower urinary tract issue:

Large amounts of urine When a dog's increased urination (technically referred to as polyuria) is accompanied by increased water consumption (polydipsia), the they may be suffering from a congenital disease or a metabolic disorder:

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What to do when your dog pees more than usual

The first thing to do when you notice your dog urinating more frequently is to continue observation. Over the next 48 hours, log the times and frequency of your dog's urinary habits. If the increase is attributable to diet, medications, temperatures or age, then you've most likely identified the culprit and make informed decisions about a solution.

However, always consult a veterinarian when you're concerned that your best friend may be displaying symptoms of a serious health condition.