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How Often Does My Dog Need Potty Breaks?
Pet CareHealth

April 27, 2020

PetSafe® Expert

Amy Shojai, CABC

How Often Does My Dog Need Potty Breaks?

Most times, I get questions about potty breaks with new puppies. It's important, though, to be able to predict how often a dog of any age needs to go outside. This goes beyond house training, and takes into account the dog's body, digestion, and natural elimination timetable. Remember, too, that bathroom routines may need to be adjusted as your dog ages. My Magical-Dawg no longer "goes" as regularly as in his youth, and sometimes surprises himself because his body gives little warning.

dog door

You may not be as eager to spend lots of time outside when the weather is extremely hot or cold. Maybe you don't want to stand in the cold rain while your dog sniffs everywhere. Or perhaps your reluctant canine refuses to go out in the wet, crosses his legs (in a figurative way) to postpone the inevitable and then find a spot under your piano to relieve himself.

How Often Does My Dog Need Potty Breaks

puppy potty break schedule

How Often Does My Adult Dog Need Bathroom Breaks?

Your toy-size dogs also have baby-size bladders and limited capacity to "hold it" no matter their best intentions. It can vary a bit between breeds with large and giant breeds having a bit more "storage" capacity. Old dogs and sick dogs also need more frequent breaks, which may include potty breaks in the middle of the night.

On average, a healthy dog produces about 10 to 20 ml of urine per pound of his body weight every day. Dogs don't "spend" the entire contents of their bladder all at once, though. They often water their favorite objects any time they go out, in a little spritz here and there in marking behavior.

Dogs usually defecate once or twice a day, usually within a short time after a meal. That's helpful when you meal feed, because you can predict when he needs an outing. A dog bathroom schedule should include letting dogs outside to relieve themselves after each meal, and at least three to five times daily. Dogs should not be forced to wait longer than about eight hours before having a bathroom break.

When You Can't Take Him Out

It’s always a good idea to go with your dog when he needs to relieve himself. This also allows you to monitor his output. Bathroom deposits offer early warnings to health conditions, so it's not recommended to just turn him out to "go" without occasional supervision.

That said, there are circumstances when you can't be there to let your dog in and out. Perhaps you work longer than eight hours away from home, or maybe your old dog needs more frequent breaks. In these cases, pet doors and fencing options can give your pet additional freedom when you aren’t able to supervise him.

Written by

Amy Shojai, CABC

Amy Shojai, CABC

Pet Expert

PetSafe® Expert

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