German Shepherd waiting to go outside

How Long Can Big Dogs Hold Their Pee?

Nobody wants their big dog to have an accident in the house, which is why we try hard to train them to go outside.

But to go outside, they have to be outside! This opens the question of how often do you need to let your large breed dog out to pee?

Generally, big dogs need to go to the bathroom 3 to 5 times a day, and they can usually safely hold their pee for 6 to 8 hours.

But a lot of how long a dog can hold their pee depends on the size of the dog, the age of the dog, and the health of the animal. Bigger dogs, in the prime of their life and in good health can generally hold their pee the longest.

Puppy vs. Full Grown Dogs vs. Seniors

Big dogs will usually be able to hold their pee longer than little dogs.

Typically, puppies will be able to go an hour without peeing for every month of their age. If a puppy is just one month old, they will only be able to hold it for about an hour. If a puppy is four months old it should be able to hold its pee for four hours.

As the puppy gets older, it will be able to hold its pee longer and longer until it gets to about 8 hours at a shot.

On the other hand, senior dogs can start losing urinary continence as they age and often need to go pee more frequently. Typically, this is every two to six hours. It’s a good idea to monitor pee schedules as your dog gets older in order to accommodate them.

Night Pee Schedules for Big Dogs

Once dogs are over one year of age, they can generally go through the night without having a pee break or accident.

Let your big dog out to pee right before the last person goes to bed and then let it out to pee again as soon as the first person in the household gets up. This is usually sufficient for most adult dogs.

For puppies and senior dogs, you may have to wake up to take them out to pee or provide a pee pad for them to go on during the night.

How Often Should I Take My Large Dog Out to Pee?

You should take your dog out to pee at least every eight hours, and every six hours is even better. Taking it out to pee regularly can help to prevent health issues that can occur when your dog holds it too long.

Because dogs need about sixty minutes of exercise to stay healthy, it’s a good idea to take your dog on a walk for one or more of their potty breaks. This will allow it to relieve itself and get both exercise and stimulation.

Since humans also need about the same amount of moderate exercise a day, a walk will help keep both of you in shape and is a win-win!

An important note: Even if your dog doesn’t pee or poop every time you let them out, you should still give them the opportunity to go 3 to 5 times a day. If in doubt take them out more often rather than less often. This helps to keep their urinary system healthy and helps to establish good habits.

What Should I Do If I’m Not Home to Let My Dog Out to Pee?

Sometimes people have work schedules and other obligations that don’t allow them to take their dog out to pee every six to eight hours.

If that’s the case for you there are several options that you can try:

  • Doggy day care – these facilities are becoming more popular and are available in many different locations. Check google maps to see if you have one near you.

    You can drop your dog off on the way to work and pick them up when you are on your way home. Typically, a doggy daycare will provide both potty breaks and enrichment activities for your dog.
  • Dog walker – you can hire a dog walker to pick up your dog midday and take them for a walk that will also serve as their potty break. is a peer-rated service that allows you to find dog walkers that are reviewed by other dog owners in your area.

    You can also ask for referrals from your vet or your friends.
  • Pee pads – you can buy pee pads in either reusable or disposable varieties. These are often called puppy training pads, but most dogs can be trained to use them as an alternative to being let outside or taken for a walk.

    If you train your dog to pee pads you should still make sure they are getting enough exercise by walking them for 60 minutes a day.

If you expect your dog to hold their urine for too long you are likely to set yourself up for having more accidents in the house. Once a dog has “marked” a house it can be difficult to get them to stop peeing indoors.

Potential Health Problems from a Large Breed Dog Holding Pee Too Long

Some dogs will hold their pee for 12 or 14 hours. This is not a good idea. Even if they can hold their pee that long, that doesn’t mean they should do it.

Holding pee for too long can lead to:

  • Urinary tract infections – these are very similar to human urinary tract infections. If your dog is dripping urine that also has a strong smell, it might have a urinary tract infection and you should see your vet.
  • Stones – Your dog can get bladder stones if they don’t pee frequently enough. If your dog has blood in their urine or struggles to urinate these may be signs of bladder stones and a veterinary visit is in order.
  • Crystals – Crystals most commonly occur in dogs that have bladder infections. They come from minerals that aren’t broken down properly. If your dog is having trouble urinating or has cloudy urine it may have crystals and should see the vet.
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