While puppies bring almost immeasurable joy to the lives of people everywhere, the first couple of months are often taxing. Unfortunately, your life will revolve around your puppy’s bladder (and his tummy) to a ridiculous degree.
If you’re not standing outside in the cold, trying to coax your little puppy to potty, you’re inside cleaning up a puddle on your kitchen floor (if you’re lucky, that is – some prefer to sprinkle on the carpet).
You’ll learn to be as vigilant as a mother hen, while trying to interpret your dog’s sniffing behavior to catch him before he throws his leg up.
But sometimes, little puppies pee even more than this normal frequency. This should serve as a warning, and you should not just ignore the problem.
Key Takeaways: Why Is My Puppy Peeing So Much?
- Puppies have small bladders, so they often need to urinate pretty frequently. However, puppies that need to tinkle more than once per hour per month of age may be suffering from a health problem (see further explanation below).
- A variety of medical problems can cause puppies to urinate especially frequently, including urinary tract infections, kidney problems, diabetes, and others.
- Puppies may also urinate frequently for behavioral reasons, such as anxiety, attention-seeking behavior, and simply failing to grasp the rules about when and where to relieve himself.
How Often Should a Puppy Pee? What’s Normal?
Adult dogs can hold their bladder for impressive lengths of time. Many only require three trips outside per day, meaning that they are waiting at least 8 hours between pit stops.
But young puppies, whose bladders are much smaller and bladder control much poorer, must be allowed to tinkle far more often than this.
Even if it seems like your dog is peeing in the house right after being outside, it could have already felt like an eternity for your little fella!
For example, an adult dog may drain his water dish and then go fall asleep on the couch all night before needing to pee in the morning. He may really need to go by the time he licks you into a conscious state around 6 AM, but he’ll hold it all night without problem.
Conversely, puppies will usually need to void their bladder within 10 to 30 minutes of filling up their tanks.
In general, young puppies (less than about 6 months old) should be taken out once every hour or two. The AKC suggests that puppies can wait for the same number of hours as their age in months up to about 9 months of age.
This means that a 1-month-old puppy will need to pee every hour, while a 5-month-old puppy will need to relieve himself every 5 hours.
So, if your 5-month-old puppy needs a break every hour or two, something is probably wrong, and you should consult your veterinarian to get your puppy the help he needs.
Your vet can help you treat medical problems, but if your pup is healthy, the root of the problem is probably behavioral in nature. You’ll have to correct these problems (potentially with the help of a trainer or behaviorist).
The Causes of Frequent Urination: Medical Conditions That Cause Dogs to Pee Too Often
There are a number of different reasons your puppy may need to pee often, so don’t expect to get a quick-and-easy answer from your vet.
He or she will likely need to perform several tests – starting with a history and urinalysis, but potentially progressing to blood work and imaging techniques – before arriving at a diagnosis.
Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas either fails to produce enough insulin (the hormone used to process glucose, or blood sugar), or the body becomes insensitive to the insulin produced.
In either case, the result is high blood sugar, which triggers a dog’s kidneys to shed water, thereby stimulating the puppy to empty his bladder. This is one of the common medical reasons a dog may pee while they sleep. Another common symptom of diabetes is excessive drinking and thirst, which exacerbates the peeing problem.
Diabetes is often a congenital defect, which can strike puppies at a relatively early age. While imminently treatable, diabetes cannot be cured. Naturally, it’s important to consult a veterinarian anytime you suspect your dog may be diabetic. You may also need to switch your pooch to a diabetic dog food.
Urinary Tract Infection
Just as they do in people, urinary tract infections can cause puppies to feel a frequent and urgent need to urinate.
Urinary tract infections are usually easy to treat, although some particular bacterial strains are more difficult to eradicate than others. So, as always, prompt veterinary treatment is imperative. Fortunately, most bladder infections are easy to confirm by testing a urine sample.
Note that some puppies may experience urinary tract infections centered around the genital opening. In these cases, spaying or neutering is generally the most effective treatment, rather than antibiotics.
Kidney infections can cause many of the same symptoms as urinary tract infections, and they can cause your pup to need more frequent trips outside.
Like urinary tract infections, kidney infections are often treatable with antibiotics.
Bladder stones can cause your pup to feel the urgent need to void their bladder. Often, stones of either type will cause blood to occur in the urine, but this can also occur with serious kidney or bladder infections, so it is not diagnostic.
Stones are often very painful for your pup, and they can even be life-threatening, so be sure to get immediate veterinary assistance anytime you suspect this type of problem.
Kidney stones can also cause your puppy to pee more frequently than normal. However, kidney stones aren’t as common in dogs as they are in people — many times, they don’t even require treatment.
However, it is still imperative that you seek veterinary care, as stones can occasionally obstruct your dog’s ureter, which can be a life-threatening problem.
Some medications can cause a puppy (or an adult dog, for that matter) to pee more than usual. Most veterinarians will warn you of this possibility beforehand, to help alleviate any potential worry on your part.
Although rare, brain or spinal tumors may impart pressure on the nerves between your pup’s brain and bladder, which can impair their ability to control their bladders. For example, while it doesn’t often occur in puppies, some older dogs suffer from Cushing’s Disease.
This affliction usually entails the growth of a benign (non-cancerous) brain tumor, which puts pressure on the pituitary gland. This in turn cause the body’s hormone levels to stray from normal, which can lead to frequent urination.
Common Behavioral Reasons Dogs Pee More Than Normal
After your veterinarian verifies that your puppy is not suffering from some physical malady, it is time to turn your attention to the emotional, mental and behavioral reasons that he’s having problems.
Some of the most common examples of these types of problems include:
Sometimes, puppies who are not sufficiently stimulated may urinate in inappropriate places as a way of seeking attention from their person. While the attention is often negative (“No! Bad puppy! Don’t pee in the house!!!”), it is better in the pup’s mind than no attention at all.
Fortunately, this is one of the easiest causes of frequent peeing to treat. You just need to get your dog more stimulation, exercise, and attention!
So, get off the couch (or from behind your computer) and go play fetch or scoot around at the park with your pup!.
Many dogs, especially twitchy little toy breeds (no disrespect intended), pee whenever they get nervous.
While this is obviously better than a medically induced reason for excessive urination, it is often a bit trickier to fix.
More exercise, stimulation, and socialization may help in many cases, but it may also be helpful to provide high-strung dogs with a good “hiding spot” into which they can retreat whenever they are nervous. Dog cave beds are one popular way to provide smaller breeds with a cozy safe space they can feel secure in.
In many cases, these dogs may need the assistance of a professional trainer to feel more secure and stop peeing everywhere.
Also consider if you may be inadvertently causing anxiety in your pup. If you have had an experience where you yelled at your dog and they’ve peed, your pup is becoming afraid of you. This is absolutely something you don’t want to have happen!
Work on showing your dog that you are not a threat and not to be feared. Focus on using positive reinforcement training strategies to help your pup create a positive association with you.
Improper or Incomplete Training
I’m just going to rip the band air right off: You may be the reason your puppy is peeing too much.
Puppies don’t know when they are and are not allowed to go potty right off the bat — it’s your job as an owner to help them develop those skills.
The first step is to develop consistent, firm training methods including those relative to bathroom time. This means taking your pup out on a regular schedule (including anytime he drinks water) and providing plenty of praise and affection when he goes in the right place.
Don’t neglect your pup’s potty routine — taking him out often and regularly is essential for fostering healthy puppy potty behaviors in the future.
Also remember that puppies don’t have complete control of their bladders when less than a few months old. Sometimes, they don’t understand that they need to go until the urge strikes them. Before they know it, they’re sprinkling on the carpet. Patience is an essential skill for any puppy owner!
It also takes time for puppies to learn how to manage their bladders. Anyone who’s walked an adult dog knows that they often release a lot of urine when they first go outside, but they’ll also pee a little in a dozen more places over the course of the walk. They’ll eventually empty their bladders more-or-less completely, but they keep a little in reserve for marking purposes.
Little puppies simply can’t control their bladders this well, so it takes them a while to figure all of these things out.
Strategies for Dealing with a Perpetually Peeing Pup: Coping with Frequent Urination in Dogs
Depending on the reason your pup is peeing inside, you may need to embrace different strategies and techniques for improving your shared situation.
A few things that may help your tiny tinkler better control his bladder include:
Crate training is one of the most effective methods for teaching puppies the proper place to poop and pee. The basic idea is that you keep your puppy in his or her crate anytime you can’t directly supervise them. Puppies are naturally reticent to pee or poop near their sleeping place, so they will usually instinctually hold it until you let them out.
Of course, you’ll need to let them out to go every hour or two at first, but, over time, you’ll be able to gradually extend the amount of time between potty trips.
If your pup has an accident inside his crate, be sure to clean it thoroughly, to avoid lingering odors, which may trigger him to repeat the offense.
Belly Bands and Diapers
If there is no medical reason your little sprinkler is peeing so frequently, you may just need to mitigate your losses.
One of the best ways to do so is through the use of a belly band (for male dogs) or a diaper (for females). These devices won’t stop them from peeing, but they’ll limit the mess after they’ve done so.
Both types of products typically rely on an absorbent pad or liner, to soak up the inevitable accident. You’ll have to change your pup’s pad frequently, and wash the band regularly, but this is easier (and more sanitary) than trying to clean up the floor constantly.
If you’re feeling crafty, DIY dog diapers are another option, but we think most folks will prefer to just buy a pack of pup diapers and call it a day.
Lengthen Your Pup’s Potty Breaks
If your puppy is prone to peeing immediately after you return from your walks, consider extending your walks a little (this can be especially helpful for pups with higher than normal water intake).
Give him a few more opportunities to trigger his tinkling urge, and more completely empty his bladder. This can be especially helpful when used as part of a crate-training regimen, but it will also help if you simply let your pup wander about the house.
To a large extent, dogs decide where to go based on their nose. Who knows exactly why they pick the places they do, but more often than not, they like going in a place that has been used before, and they do this by using their keen nose to detect the faintest traces of old urine or poop.
You’ll want to be sure you thoroughly – and I mean thoroughly – clean up any accidents. Once you’ve soaked up the puddle, you’ll want to use a high-quality odor-neutralizer to help remove the smell. This is especially important when the accident occurred on the carpet.
Clean it until you can’t smell any residual odor (even with your nose close to the ground), and then clean it once or twice again – your dog’s nose is profoundly more powerful than yours is, so you’ll have to go “above and beyond.”
Breeds That May Be Difficult to Housebreak
Many breeders, veterinarians and trainers consider some breeds to require more frequent bathroom trips or to be more difficult to housebreak than others. However, others dispute this notion, and believe that things like breed and size fail to have an effect on a dog’s need to urinate.
But whether a dog’s breed influences his need to go outside, or if this perceived phenomenon is nothing more than confirmation bias or an example of correlation, rather than causation; the following breeds are among those who experience these problems the most.
Fortunately, most of them are small, which limits the size of the ensuing mess.
- Jack Russell terrier
- Bichon Frise
- Yorkshire terrier
- Bassett Hound
Of course, these aren’t the only breeds that can suffer from peeing problems, but they are among those who suffer from these types of problems the most. Just know that if you share your life with one of these four-footers, you may need to provide more frequent potty breaks and be ready to deal with the occasional puddle.
Are you battling a puppy who is constantly making puddles around the house? What types of strategies have you used to correct the problem? Has your vet diagnosed your pup with a bladder infection or other health issue, or is the problem rooted in your dog’s behavior?
Tell us all about your experiences in the comments, below. You never know when your experiences will help someone else out.