One question our vets receive frequently is why puppies suddenly start peeing so much, and whether or not the owner should be concerned.
Frequent urination in young puppies is mostly normal. Puppies have small bladders and therefore can’t hold it for very long! Still, it helps for owners to recognize what’s “normal” for their pup so they can quickly tell when something is wrong.
Main Reasons Why Your Puppy Is Peeing So Much
If your Puppy is peeing every hour or two and this is what they have always done, there may not be an issue. If you are not used to living with a young pup, you may find their normal habits excessive!
As explained above, frequent urination is very normal and is pretty much caused by having small bladders. Plus, puppies do not understand the concept of holding their bladder.
However, in unfortunate situations, there can be some medical or behavioral issues at play.
Potential issues include:
- A bacterial urinary tract infection
- Urinary crystals and/or stones
- A congenital issue such as an ectopic ureter
- Kidney disease
- Toxin ingestion causing acute kidney failure e.g. antifreeze, human pain relief, or lily toxicity
- Anxiety or stress
How Often Should Puppies Pee Normally?
It can be useful to discuss your Puppy’s urinary habits with their breeder before you take them home. They should be able to tell you a little about how often they have been peeing, so you have a general idea.
A general rule of thumb would be a urination every hour per month of age. So, a two-month-old puppy would pee roughly every two hours, while a four-month-old should be able to hold their bladder for four hours.
This, however, is not a number we should obsess over. This is a guideline, and there will be puppies who pee more and less often than this. Typically, very small breeds cannot go as long without urinating as their bladder is too small to hold much liquid.
The more a puppy consumes water, the more they will need to pee. So, if your dog is fed wet food and is always at their water bowl, they will need to pee more often. Conversely, if they aren’t a big drinker and they eat dry kibble, you will find they go longer in between tinkles.
This is original content produced and published by The Puppy Mag
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How To Control Your Puppy’s Constant Peeing
Be mindful of meticulously cleaning up any ‘accidents’ inside to prevent re-soiling. If we don’t clean properly, this can encourage your Puppy to pee inside more often. Some puppies will feel the urge to pee and mark their scent if they can smell the ammonia in the urine. Use an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate odors.
If your Puppy is continually soiling the same spot, consider blocking off access to this area temporarily. Similarly, if a certain rug or cushion has become your pup’s favorite spot to empty their bladder, it should be moved away for now.
Of course, in the case of toxin ingestion, the best thing an owner can do is to prevent this from occurring in the first place. Any potential toxins need to be kept well out of reach of curious pups. Research your house and garden plants to ensure they are safe and pose no danger if licked or chewed on.
One of the most important things you can do for your Puppy is to ensure you are toilet training them as you should be. Sending your pup the message that you want them to try and hold their urine and only ‘go potty outside is essential when it comes to them spacing their pees out.
Toilet training isn’t something that happens overnight, and it requires both consistency and patience.
Most puppies respond best to positive reinforcement training. This means that we pay close attention to the moment when they do what we want (urinating outside at the appropriate time) and reward them immediately. The reward should usually consist of both vocal praise (“Great!” or “Yes!”) and a high-value treat such as a small piece of hot dog or boiled chicken.
It is best to introduce a ‘toileting area’ outside that the Puppy is taken to each time they are brought out. This may be a certain tree or patch of lawn.
We should bring our puppies out after every meal, drink, and nap. This will be A LOT of toilet breaks, but this is what is needed for successful toilet training. In the first few weeks, you may be going out several times an hour.
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Reasons Why Puppies Start Peeing Inside The House Again
Frustratingly, potty training is not always as straightforward as we hope it to be. It is common for dogs to take a step backward and to revert to peeing inside even after you think their toilet training has finished.
There are many potential causes for this including:
- A source of stress. Perhaps a new baby or another animal has arrived in the home, and your dog feels out of sorts.
- A change in routine. Puppies are creatures of habit, and a change in their feeding or exercise schedule can prove hard for them to cope with.
- A change in diet. Changing to kibble from a wet meat diet can cause a puppy to drink more which will mean they need to urinate more. Similarly, if their new food or treats have more salt, you may find they drink and pee more.
- Bad weather. No one likes to go outside when it is cold or raining. It is common for a puppy to ‘revert’ to peeing inside when the weather is worse, and we are bringing them outside less often.
- Fear or anxiety. It used to be thought that we should punish puppies for urinating inside. Some owners would shout at them or even push their snout into the puddle of urine. We now know that this increases anxiety and can actually lead to more accidents inside.
- A medical condition should be considered. If your Puppy has developed a urinary tract infection or bladder stones, this can certainly be a reason for finding little puddles inside.
- Territory marking. This is especially common in uncastrated males who live with other dogs who have not been neutered. Typically, testosterone-driven behaviors aren’t much of an issue before the age of four or five months. If neutering is something you are considering anyway, then this can also help with these kinds of behaviors.
Oftentimes, we simply need to double down on our toilet training and spend more time bringing our pup outside and rewarding them when they toilet in the right spot. During your dog’s teenage months, they may well need a toilet training refresher course!
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When To See a Veterinarian
Any change in urination habits should be noted. If your pup suddenly begins to pee larger amounts than usual, is peeing more often, is straining to pee, has blood in their urine, or has foul-smelling urine, we should alert their vet.
As a rough guideline, dogs should pass about 1-2ml/kg/hours though this can vary somewhat for young dogs. If you notice your pup’s urination has changed and they have additional signs such as a reduced appetite, lethargy, or vomiting, they should see a vet as a matter of urgency.
When you bring your little one to the vet, they will examine them and ask you about what has been going on recently.
They will want to know about how much your Puppy is drinking and what their normal toileting routine is like.
In many cases, your vet will also analyze your pup’s urine, so it can help if you catch a sample the same morning as your appointment.
This can be collected into a clean plastic container and stored in the fridge until it is time for the consult. Your vet may spin it down, stain it and examine it under the microscope for crystals, casts, blood, or bacteria. Your vet may also advise additional tests such as abdominal ultrasound and/or blood tests.
What treatment plan the vet advises will depend on what is going on and may include e.g., antibiotics, a prescription diet, and some bladder supplements.
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The Take-Home Message
Puppies pee all the time! This is to be expected and isn’t usually a cause for concern. However, if you notice that your pup has changed their urination habits or are peeing (or drinking) more than usual, we do need to pay close attention.
For many, the issue will lie in their toilet training, and we may need to brush up on this. For others, there will be an underlying medical issue that needs addressing. A trip to the vet is sensible so we can check your Puppy over and analyze their urine.
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