Caring for a dog is a lot like caring for a child. Different dogs have different personalities, different bodies and different needs, both emotionally and physically. So, how do you know how often your dog needs to be taken on a walk to relieve themselves?
Some of this depends on your dog’s age, diet, individual body and any health issues they might have. Some dogs need medication or require other care that results in a more-frequent need for urination. All dogs benefit from frequent trips outside, for more reasons than one.
We’re here to answer your questions, “How often does my dog need to be walked,” and “how often does my dog need to pee?” Read on to help determine the unique needs of your dog.
How often should I take my puppy out when potty training?
Until about 16 weeks old, puppies are not able to control the frequency of their urination. It’s smart to begin potty training using puppy pads and slowly train your pup to start going outside. Think of this as the same function that a litter box has for cats.
The American Kennel Club offers great advice for training puppies to urinate outside, and you can read more about that here.
When you begin training your puppy to relieve themselves outside, your puppy will need to go out much more frequently than your adult dog does. So, how often does a puppy need to go outside when potty training?
Experts like the Humane Society suggest taking your puppy for a potty break at least every two hours. Prior to 16 weeks, when using puppy pads to train your furry friend, bathroom breaks should be offered about every 15 minutes.
Remember that puppies will need opportunities to relieve themselves after every meal and drink of water, every play session, and after every nap. If walking a puppy sounds like a lot of work, consider hiring a dog walker to help with the task. Dog walkers can also help leash-train your pup.
How often do dogs need to pee? A blanket answer for healthy dogs
So, how often do dogs need to pee? Healthy adult dogs need to urinate about as often as healthy adult humans do: anywhere from 3-5 times per day. Most veterinarians recommend no more than 6 hours between bathroom breaks.
Think about the frequency at which you use the bathroom. Is it the same frequency as the other members of your household? Probably not. There are a number of things that can affect the how often your dog needs to be taken outside to pee, including the following:
- Your dog’s age
- Your dog’s breed
- Your dog’s activity level
- The amount of water they drink and the amount of food they eat
- Their level of anxiety
- The amount of sleep they’re getting
It’s a good idea to walk your dog shortly after each meal, at a minimum. You should also make sure your dog has an opportunity to pee before you leave the home for an extended period of time, or when you know they will become anxious. For example, if your dog is anxious and accident prone when guests arrive, be sure to take him out for a walk before the event.
A dog walking schedule for working pet parents
So, what if you work 8 hours per day and have a commute to and from work?
Taking the dog for a walk as the last step in your morning routine before you leave home is a good idea. Similarly, daily dog walks should be your first priority when you return home. Chances are your pet has been holding its urge to pee most of the day. Because pets have no concept of time or work schedules, they might also be anxious not knowing when you’ll return home or when they’ll be able to relieve themselves.
If you’re able to return home for your lunch break, take advantage of this time to check in with your pet’s well-being. Alternatively, small dogs might benefit from laying down some puppy pads and allowing them to roam free throughout the day to mitigate anxiety and give them access to a safe place to relieve themselves. Do not leave puppy pads inside a crate if you’re using one. They are a chewing hazard, and dogs do not like to urinate where they sleep.
If you have an 8-hour work day and no one is available to let your dog out midday for potty breaks, it’s best to hire a dog-walker for midday bathroom break, at a minimum. You can also schedule recurring walks with your reliable dog-walker, in order to make them more comfortable.
Never leave your adult dog for more than 8 hours without a bathroom break. Like you, your pet will become very uncomfortable in these conditions, be more prone to accidents, and possibly suffer health consequences as a result. This includes urinary tract infection or bladder infections, and urinary stones, which are painful and can only be treated by a vet.
There are many benefits to regular walks
So, if you’re still wondering “how often should I take my dog out, really?” we hope you’ll consider this: aside from meeting your pet’s basic physical health needs, there are many benefits to regular walks with your pet.
Regular walks are an ideal form of exercise for dogs, and for you, too! This is also a great time for your pet to learn socialization skills with other dogs and humans in the community. For more great reasons to get outside on regular walks with your dog, check out our recent article, “The Many Health Benefits of Daily Walks with Your Dog"