I’ve heard so many people tell me “My dog can hold it all day”. Mine can too. She’s about 10 years old now and I’ve found out she has rather frequent bladder issues now that she’s gotten older. She’s been diagnosed with urinary crystals (she was treated with antibiotics for an infection) and she’s on a special food. I’ve had the thought that I’m somehow responsible for this problem and I’ve often thought it would do her good (probably would have done her better if I’d started a long time ago) to let her out to potty more often. Even though ‘she can hold it for hours’….
I firmed up my suspicions about the medical (not even considering the emotional) benefits for her to have more frequent potty breaks – I did some research and here’s what I found:
According to Dr. Kristy Conn (She’s featured on Veterinary Medicine and on Cesar Milan’s website): How often you dog needs to urinate “will vary due to factors such as age, sex, body size and overall health.” She states, “Ideally, adult dogs should be allowed outside to relieve themselves 3-5 times a day. Typically, smaller breeds and younger dogs will need to urinate more frequently than larger breeds and older dogs.” She also said, “be aware that holding urine for prolonged periods of time has been linked with increased incidence of urinary tract infections and urinary stones. It has also been suggested that it may predispose to certain urinary cancers due to prolonged contact between carcinogens in the urine and the cells of the urinary tract.
I got a little more depth in my investigation (some people would say this is my ‘dork’ side coming out) and here’s what I found:
According to Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP in The Pet Health Library, “holding urine may predispose the dog to transitional cell carcinoma.” She goes on to say that “more than half (up to 70%) of bladder tumors developed by pets are transitional cell carcinomas”. The specific causes are not known, but are higher in females, and equated to less urine marking; possibly storing urinary toxins longer.
And, according to PET MD, “Senior pets are more prone to urinary tract infections, which may be the result of holding urine longer”
And, for those of you who can actually understand this:
By Patricia M. Dowling , DVM, MSc, DACVIM, DACVCP, Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan
Disorders of micturition characterized by urine retention and a distended bladder are usually caused by hypocontractility of the bladder or by urethral obstruction. Prolonged bladder distention leads to breakdown of the tight junctions between detrusor muscle cells of the bladder, which prevents normal depolarization and contraction of the detrusor muscles. (I think that means that a full bladder can lead to some physical problems … as well as physical discomfort.
And lastly, the Merck Veterinary Manual (the veterinary bible, you might say) gives us one solution : “The flow of urine through the urinary tract is part of the defense against invading pathogens, because the flow of fluid rinses the epithelial linings.”
Translation? OUR DOGS NEED TO PEE MORE OFTEN!
So, even though my dog and your dog can ‘hold it all day’ … the real questions is: SHOULD THEY? No. They shouldn’t. Not if it’s within my power as her caregiver to do something about it.
Here is my suggestion: Call The Pet Parlor and arrange for a mid-day potty break while you’re gone at work. We offer a service that can help your dog(s) NOT have to hold it all day while you’re working.
Press the “Schedule A Visit” button and let’s give your dog (and mine) what they need today: Schedule A Visit