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How Often Should I Let My Dog Or Puppy Out?

How Often Should I Let My Dog or Puppy Out?

dogpottybreak3It’s probably not the first thing you think about when you get a new dog or puppy, but it is one of the most asked questions for us, and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about! On average, most dogs pee as often as allowed out, but more realistically 6-10 times a day, and poop once or twice a day. Lots of puppies and dogs fall outside of this range, and there really is no “norm” when it comes to the potty habits of dogs. EDID: Every dog is different!

Did you know, during an average visit from our team, that your dog is taken out no less than twice? It’s true. We’ll let them out for a quick pee, and then bring them back in, either for a proper greeting, snack or meal, and then leash them up for a good walk. If we have reason to believe that not all “the business” is completed, or we are scheduled for a longer visit, we may well take them out a 3rd time right before we leave.

Besides accidents, what can happen if your dog is required to hold it too long?

Bladder infections, urinary tract infections, crystals, kidney infections, kidney stones, and kidney failure, to name a few. Not only can dogs become sick from inability to urinate, but their behavior can take a bad turn, as frustrated dogs can chew, bark or develop other anxiety disorders. Frustrated owners may accidentally incur further incidents and accidents by losing their tempers: then the vicious cycle starts from anxious dog to frustrated owner to accidents.


Soooo… “How many times should I let my dog out?”

Adult Dogs

Veterinarian recommendations: 6-8 hours
Pet sit visit recommendations: 3-4 visits per 24 hours

Large dogs have larger bladders, but still should have a minimum of 3 opportunities to urinate per day. Most veterinarians recommend every 6-8 hours. This is most important after meals and after waking up. Male (and some females!) dogs don’t always “let it all go” the first time they pee, and they’ll hold much in reserve for marking. It’s important to allow enough time for them to fully empty their bladders before bringing them back inside. Smaller dogs will likely need a minimum of 4 or 5 pee breaks per day.

Senior Dogs

Veterinarian recommendations: 4-6 hours
Pet sit visit recommendations: 4 visits 24 hours, and pee pads or outdoor access

Some senior dogs are just fine with the above recommendations, but as a pet ages, they may experience incontinence. We may recommend a visit with your veterinarian, as there are medications now which can help simple incontinence. Dogs with illnesses such as diabetes or kidney disease may need more visits per day as well, due to increased urine output. Asking your dog to “hold it” more than 2-3 hours in this case can be very hard on them.

Last But Certainly Not Least, Puppies

Veterinarian Recommendations: As often as they need to go
Pet Sit Visit Recommendations: At least twice per workday

We saved this section for last because it’s the most critical. The general rule of thumb is “1 plus the number of months the puppy is, is how long they can hold it for”. That doesn’t mean that is how long every puppy can hold it, every time. When your puppy is about 2 months old, you may find that you need to take them out every 30 minutes. Lots of puppies at 3 months or more still need to urinate every hour or two. How does this work with pet sitting and dog walking services? We recommend paper training with newspaper or pee pads. We’ll help you keep the designated area clean and refreshed on our visits and we’ll work with you as you head towards fully potty training your puppy. The important thing is not to try to rush puppy, as they are only physically capable of so much. Bringing a pet sitter or dog walker in while you’re at work at least twice per work day gives a boost to potty training and more importantly, helps to prevent a lonely puppy.

  • A note about restricting water: Don’t do it. You can seriously sicken your pet by withholding water to prevent accidents, as dogs need water for all their vital functions. This article from Veterinary Partner outlines the seriousness of this subject.

How Often Should My Pet Sitter or Dog Walker Visit Per Day?

dogpottybreak1We find that if we leave this question up to the owner booking visits, we may well hear “every 12 hours”. Wow. That is some bladder! We’ll then ask how frequently you let your dog out when you’re home. Thinking about this question causes the owner to re-evaluate their dog’s needs from a pet sitter or dog walker, because most owners take their dogs out 6 or more times a day! Our company requires a minimum of 3 visits per 24 hours for dogs with no outside access (ie: doggie door).

How can we help you? We customize our pet sitting and dog walking visits to your dog’s schedule. Remember that it’s more important to time visits for bowel and bladder relief than for scheduled meal times, which can be adjusted easily. We have a potty break visit available for multi-visit schedules, so just let us know if your dog needs more than the usual 3 visits per day, we’re glad to add on the more cost effective potty breaks. Our packages start at $49 per day, all household pets and services are included in that cost.


Rescue Work

Pet Guardian Pet Service
Pet Guardian is a local rescue organization specializing in saving domestic animals in crisis.

Diabetic Cats In Need
Diabetic Cats in Need is a national organization dedicated to helping diabetic cats live wonderful lives.

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GO Rescue is a local group rescuing dogs from imminent death and rehoming them.

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