Dogs tend to be creatures of routine. Changes in daily behavior are usually symptoms of underlying physical or mental health concerns. With frequent urination, drinking more water (polydipsia) is often the culprit. But, there may be a number of medical, environmental, or other causes for the increased thirst. Identifying what’s causing your dog to pee so much is essential to treating and resolving the urination problem.
11 causes of excessive urination in dogs
Reasons for frequent urination can be simple to pinpoint. These might include a rise in temperature or activity, leading your dog to drink more water. However, excessive urination may also be a symptom of a number of serious medical conditions. It’s important for owners to recognize when a veterinarian visit is needed.
1. Urinary tract infections
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection of the urinary tract. UTIs affect up to 14% of dogs throughout their lifetimes. Frequent urination, difficulty peeing, and urinary incontinence are common symptoms. UTIs can lead to infections in all parts of the urinary tract, including the bladder and kidneys. So, be sure to consult a vet if you suspect a possible UTI. Left untreated, these infections can lead to more serious problems like disease or cancer.
2. Bladder infections
Bacteria can lead to infection and inflammation of the bladder, known as bacterial cystitis. Dogs with this condition may exhibit similar symptoms as with a UTI, but there may be no symptoms at all. A vet visit is recommended in these suspected cases, as a urine sample is needed to diagnose bacterial cystitis, and treatment involves the use of antibiotics.
3. Bladder stones
Bladder stones can cause similar symptoms as bacterial cystitis, but are identified by rock-like mineral formations developing in the bladder. Excessive urination may be a sign, however bloody urine and difficulty urinating are more common, due to the irritation caused by the stones.
4. Kidney infection or kidney disease
Polyuria doesn’t always indicate issues with the bladder. Sometimes, bacteria from the urinary tract migrate to the kidneys. Pyelonephritis, or kidney inflammation, is more common in puppies and senior dogs, but can occur at any time, and left untreated may lead to kidney failure. Excessive thirst and urination are signs to watch out for
5. Hormonal imbalance
Both male and female dogs may exhibit excessive urination due to an imbalance of hormones. In spayed females, especially older dogs, “spay incontinence” can be caused by a decrease in estrogen production. Cushing’s disease is another common but serious condition, marked by an increase in cortisol production from the adrenal glands.
Diabetes is among the more serious conditions with frequent urination as a symptom. As in humans, low levels of insulin lead to excess glucose, which may cause diabetes in dogs. Diabetes is tricky to treat and may require insulin injections and/or dietary changes, so a visit to the vet is imperative if you suspect your dog may be afflicted.
Separation anxiety in dogs can manifest in many ways, and excessive peeing or pooping may be symptoms. Often, anxious dogs will get so overworked, they may poop in the house, even if they’ve been successfully potty trained. This can be super frustrating for pet parents!
👉 For an anxious pup, ask your vet if your doggie could benefit from a calming supplement to ease their nerves.
Marking is a natural instinct in many dogs, especially among unneutered males. Dogs may mark territory to attract mates, and also communicate dog-to-dog using pheromones. A change in environment or stimulation levels can also lead to increased urination via marking.
In general, puppies tend to urinate more than adult dogs due to their smaller bladders. House training is a useful way to help put your puppy on a somewhat reliable relief schedule. While common, puppy peeing should be monitored to ensure frequency doesn’t reach excessive levels.
On the other end of the age spectrum, senior dogs also tend to pee more often for a variety of reasons. Certain medications can affect dogs’ urinary systems, leading to more frequent eliminations. Incontinence is also a symptom common to some infections and illnesses seen in senior dogs.
10. Too much water
Dehydration in dogs is a serious issue, so a steady supply of clean drinking water is essential. In general, dogs require around 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight, but this may vary. If you notice your dog drinking more than usual, there may be a variety of culprits. It may be as simple as a rise in temperature or excessive thirst following strenuous activity. If you can rule these out, however, a vet visit may be your best bet to get to the root cause of the increased water drinking. No matter what, never ever deprived your dog of water, even if they’re drinking excessively.
⚠️ Insufficient water can exacerbate existing conditions like diabetes and lead to harmful neurological issues.
11. Improper potty training
Learning the “acceptable” places to pee isn’t a natural instinct for dogs. When we welcome pets into our home, especially puppies, we attempt to teach them the rules, often through crate training. While house-training, puppies are expected to pee often, especially due to smaller bladders. However, there’s a difference between normal potty training mishaps and excessive urination due to underlying issues. If you suspect the latter, consult a veterinarian that may help diagnose the problem.
When to see the vet
Frequent urination can often signal serious medical issues such as kidney disease, a urinary tract infection, liver disease, or diabetes. It’s imperative to know when a veterinarian visit is urgently needed. If your dog’s excessive peeing is accompanied by any of the symptoms below, seek professional veterinary care as soon as possible.
- Blood in the urine. The most obvious and alarming sign for many owners is blood in dogs’ urine (hematuria). This may signify bladder or kidney infections, diabetes, and more serious internal ailments. Bloody urine is one especially concerning red flag that should always warrant an immediate vet visit.
- Unusual odor. Most owners can recognize the normal, common smell of dog urine. If, however, there’s a noticeable change in the odor of your dog’s urine, it may signify an infection or other serious issues.
- Excessive drinking. Dogs may drink more water from time to time on hot days or after strenuous activity. If the excessive drinking becomes regular and sustained, though, there is likely a medical or behavioral cause that can best be identified and treated by a vet.
- Straining to pee. Difficulty urinating or pain while peeing is a sure sign of trouble. Straining to pee is often a symptom of an underlying condition, like a UTI or bladder stones.
🚨 If your dog is unable to pee entirely, this is an emergency that needs immediate veterinary attention.
Excessive urination diagnosis and treatment
The cost of veterinary care can be expensive. However, most pet parents would agree that cost is secondary to our furry friends’ quality of life. In the case of frequent or excessive urination, there are a number of medical or behavioral causes that are simply impossible to diagnose with the naked eye. Therefore, a vet visit is a safe bet in any instance where you feel frequent urination may be a sign of an underlying issue. There are certain blood and urine tests that can actually diagnose conditions that you wouldn’t be able to determine on your own.
Treatment for frequent urination will differ depending on the diagnosis. In the case of a bladder or kidney infection, a vet may prescribe antibiotics. For diabetes, dietary changes and even regular injections of insulin may be required. Nonetheless, simple as it may seem, frequent urination may require complex diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, it’s wise to trust your veterinarian, especially to help your furry friends avoid any life-threatening issues.
Tips to keep your dog’s urinary tract healthy
Bacteria is the most common culprit in UTIs and other urinary system infections, which can lead to excess urination. Here are a few preventative measures you can take to minimize your dog’s risk:
Provide fresh, clean water — Dog mouths are hot spots for bacteria that can accumulate in their food and water bowls. Always replace old water with fresh, clean daily and wash your dogs’ bowls regularly. Make sure you don’t provide too much water though, especially if your dog is drinking all the time.
Feed your dog a healthy, well-balanced diet — Nutrition is a key component to overall health in dogs. Well-balanced diets should include proteins, vegetables, grains, fats, and other nutrients. Too many table scraps or human food can ultimately throw your dog’s digestive system off.
👉 Check out the best vet-recommended healthy dog treats.
Probiotic supplements help healthy bacteria grow — Probiotics are increasingly being recognized by veterinarians for their positive impact on gut health. Adding a probiotic supplement to your dog’s food can introduce helpful bacteria to help combat digestive and immune issues. Some of our favorites for doggies include Native Pet’s All Natural Probiotic and Premium Care’s Probiotic Chews for Dogs.
Organic, vet-developed formula
Native Pet Probiotic for Dogs
Make sure your dog gets enough pee breaks outside — Dogs need regular bathroom breaks, just like us. Holding it in too long can lead to urinary system problems. Always take your dog on several daily walks, or let them out in the backyard a few times each day. This gives them the opportunity to eliminate on a regular schedule and avoid holding in urine.
Frequently asked questions about dogs peeing too often
Do older dogs pee more often?
Generally, yes. Incontinence is a symptom of several senior dog ailments. Some medications can also interfere with normal urinary function.
How often is too often for a dog to pee?
Broadly, dogs should be around once every 4-8 hours. If they’re peeing every hour, they’re liking drinking too much water, and it may signal an underlying issue.
How to tell if your dog has a UTI?
Common UTI symptoms in dogs include frequent urination, difficulty urinating, blood in urine, and excessive licking of the groin area.
What to do if your dog keeps peeing uncontrollably?
If you’re unsure why your dog is peeing all the time, a vet visit is your best bet. In the meantime, there are methods to cut down on accidents in your home. These include lengthening puppy potty breaks, or the use of a belly band or diaper if need be. Make sure to eliminate past urine odors in your home, as dogs tend to mark by scent. To help prevent this, you can try a dog belly band from Pet Parents. These are incredibly comfortable for dogs and prevent damage to rugs, carpets, and upholstery.