Dogs can’t hold their pee as long as humans, though they come close. The average dog can hold on to urine around the same time as a teenage human.
However, dogs do not need to hold their pee as long as humans, as it is dangerous.
A dog’s urination schedule differs from a human’s and should be strictly followed.
Numerous factors can affect how long a dog can hold its pee, and your dog may outlast a human in special conditions. Under the same conditions, with the same quantity of liquids consumed, a dog’s bladder will fill up before a human’s.
Once their bladder is full, a dog will immediately look to relieve themselves unless there is a problem.
Fun fact: The older your dog gets, the closer it gets to how long a human can hold its pee. An adult dog comes closest to a human peeing schedule; an age dogs reach around a year. However, each dog is unique, and there may be a few exceptions.
Dogs’ Peeing Schedule
Most dogs follow a similar peeing schedule and timeline. Around each age range, they can hold their bladder for certain hours, which comes in handy when potty training. The maximum time a dog should be allowed to go without peeing per age group is as follows:
Puppy 0-3 Months
Puppies are volatile regarding bladder control, especially in the first two months. During this phase, they can’t see and generally have no control over bodily functions. A puppy in this phase will pee and eat at will with no defined pattern.
They start to show some consistency when they cross the 2-month mark. A puppy can hold its bladder for about three hours between two and three months old.
When potty training, move it to the assigned spot three hours after its last break. While it isn’t a definite science, as other factors still play a key role, it is your best option. Most dogs can’t pick up clues yet around this age, but it’s the best time to start potty training.
Adolescence 3-9 Months
Adolescence encompasses teen and early adulthood, the period where the dog comprehends instructions and patterns are established. There isn’t a fixed time for your dog to hold its bladder in this phase, with breaks increasing steadily as the dog grows. Starting at three hours when the dog is three months old, the time between gradually rises till 5 hours.
The average time a dog in this phase can go without peeing is 5 hours, depending on other factors. A few dogs in this phase may be able to hold it a bit longer, but it isn’t advised. To be safe, never let a dog less than nine years old go more than 6 hours without peeing, even if you have to express its bladder.
Adulthood 9+ Months
Technically, adulthood starts around a year for most dogs, but early bloomers start maturing from 9 months. Dogs reach their peak and can hold their pee for between 6 and 8 hours. While they may be able to hold their pee for up to eight hours, no dog should be put through this. Once a dog holds its pee for more than 6 hours, it will face discomfort.
Prolonged periods of holding in urine will likely cause long-term damage, including weakening the bladder’s walls. A dog should only hold its pee for more than six hours when it is overnight. Urine production is reduced overnight thanks to the production of certain hormones.
Ideally, a dog should urinate at least 3-5 times a day in this phase, an average of 4-5 hours when awake.
Senior 7+ Years
Seniors are past their prime and will slowly regress concerning urine retention. Several factors contribute to the decline of a dog’s retention with age, including UTIs and Bladder integrity. There is no official age for a dog to become a senior, but most dogs start around seven years.
Some dogs may suffer from urinary incontinence and will be unable to control their pee. Most seniors may need to pee more than six times daily, with little patience for holding it.
How Long Can Humans Hold Their Pee?
Humans can hold their pee for up to ten hours before they are forced to relieve themselves. On average, it takes about 8-9 hours for an adult human’s bladder to be filled with urine. Each individual is unique, and urine frequency will vary based on how much fluids a person consumes.
A person shouldn’t wait until their bladder fills before emptying it, with frequent urine breaks at least once in three hours.
Conversely, children will need to pee more often, with their bladder filling up in under four hours. Some children can pee as much as ten times daily, especially while still in infancy. In infancy, the best time to develop a healthy habit of emptying the bladder frequently. Once the habit is cultivated, risks of UTIs and bladder damage are eliminated.
Interestingly, there isn’t much difference in the dangers of holding urine for too long in a human from that of a dog. Hence the need to pee frequently, even before the bladder fills up. Always relieve yourself when pressed, even though you can hold it in.
Dangers Of Holding Pee In Dogs
Holding in pee is harmful to dogs and usually comes with a lot of pain and discomfort. The longer a dog goes without peeing, the worse these problems get. While the time it takes to cause a dog serious problems differs from one dog to the next, the end product is the same.
The most common dangers associated with a dog not peeing include:
A Burst bladder
A burst bladder is the most common thing when a dog holds on to its pee for too long. The body doesn’t stop producing urine, even when there isn’t an outlet for the one already in the bladder.
The longer the dog doesn’t urinate, the more urine accumulates in the bladder. Eventually, the bladder walls won’t be able to hold back the urine anymore and will burst., spilling urine back into the body.
While the process isn’t immediate, it occurs eventually, especially when the dog is still consuming liquids. Urine is acidic and will act on the bladder’s wall, gradually weakening them until it bursts open. A burst bladder is irreversible, so you shouldn’t let it get to this point before seeking help.
A Bloated Stomach
Before anything extreme happens, you will notice your dog has a bloated stomach. A bloated stomach is a major indicator that your dog has a problem and should always be addressed immediately. There are several possible reasons a dog will have a bloated stomach, but none are positive.
As the bladder swells from accumulating pee, so will the abdomen area. Simultaneously, the bladder will press against other organs in the region, causing other notable discomforts. The more pee the dog withholds, the larger the bladder, and so will the abdomen. In most cases, the smell of urine will accompany a bloated stomach.
Urinary Tract Infections
The urinary tract is sensitive, and while it constantly deals with acidic urine, it doesn’t need prolonged exposure. The longer urine remains in the bladder, the greater the chances of contracting a urinary tract infection. Urine houses certain bacteria which could cause infections.
These bacteria are usually harmless in the short run, but prolonged exposure creates new circumstances. There are numerous possible UTIs, all of which start with withholding urine for too long. There isn’t a particular timeframe that attracts any specific disease, but withholding urine puts the dog at risk.
Dogs generally like to pee, so anyone withholding pee will usually do so against its will.
Urinary incontinence isn’t a problem the dog will deal with in the short term, but it is a present danger when withholding urine. One or two sessions aren’t enough to bring about incontinence; only a consistent approach does. Dogs that constantly hold in their urine are most prone to this occurrence.
Urinary incontinence usually occurs in old age, when the dog is a senior. They struggle to control their bladder as the walls have weakened due to prolonged exposure to urine. The condition can be managed, but there is no cure as of yet.
The best you can do is to avoid it by ensuring your dog pees frequently. There may be other factors that contribute to urinary incontinence, but holding pee is a key one.
Can A Dog Die From Not Peeing?
Yes, a dog can die from not peeing, but the process isn’t immediate. To die from not peeing, a dog must keep at it for between three and five days. The most obvious thing in this scenario is the discomfort from holding pee that long, but death will follow.
The discomfort will only grow the longer it has been since the dog last peed.
Urine contains toxins, which are meant to be expelled when a dog pees. When these toxins remain in the body for longer than intended, it harms the dog. After a while, the toxins will be reabsorbed into the body, poisoning the dog slowly.
The longer it goes on, the worse it gets and harder to treat, so call a vet once you notice your dog isn’t peeing.
Several other symptoms will appear before death, including vomiting and a swollen tummy. Each symptom is a cry for help which should not be ignored as early detection is key to preventing death.
Final Words: Can Dogs Hold Their Pee Longer Than Humans?
A dog cannot hold pee as long as a human. Most dogs come close, especially the larger ones, but this is not healthy or advisable. Any dog that holds its pee close to the time humans can put itself at serious risk.
As dogs love to pee, such action is usually involuntary and should be addressed. A blocked urinary tract is the most common cause of dogs withholding pee and should be addressed early.