What Are the Causes of Frequent Urination With Canines?

Written by moira clune
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If your dog is urinating excessively, it could be a sign of disease. Depending on your dog's age and size, the frequency with which he urinates will vary. Puppies may need to urinate every three to four hours, and small adult dogs can usually go up to six to eight hours without urinating. Large adult dogs can hold their urine up to 12 hours, but are happier if they can get outside more often. If your dog is urinating more often or there is a sudden change in urination, contact your vet.


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) cause burning, itching and frequent urination. Your dog will lick his genitals often and you may see blood in his urine. Often, the volume of urine decreases as the frequency of urination increases. He may cry when trying to urinate. UTIs are often accompanied by fever and pain in the abdomen. UTIs can be serious and should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible.


Chocolate, antifreeze, fertilisers and rodent poisons can cause frequent urination. Any of these substances are extremely dangerous to dogs and can cause death. If you suspect that your dog has consumed any of these products, call your veterinarian or poison control hot line immediately. Most often, other symptoms will be more obvious and dangerous, but at low levels of toxicity, frequent urination may be noticeable. Do not attempt to treat poisoning without the advice of your veterinarian.

Kidney or Bladder Stones

Kidney or bladder stones cause painful, frequent urination, often with traces of blood. The stones are actually small, sharp crystals that form when minerals and other waste products are not fully processed in the blood stream. They crystalize in the bladder and cause acute pain. While more common in females and small breeds, any dog can be a victim of bladder stones. In the most serious cases, the stones will block the flow of urine. This condition can be controlled by diet.

Addison's Disease

Addison's disease (hypoadrenocorticism) is a disease of the adrenal system, and it causes a variety of symptoms, including frequent urination. Addison's disease is treatable, but it must be managed for the rest of your dog's life. There are tests available to determine if your dog is suffering from Addison's, and an accurate diagnosis combined with hormone replacement and electrolyte monitoring will restore most dogs to an active and healthy life.


Diabetes is becoming more common in dogs. There are two types that affect dogs: diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus. Diabetes insipidus is caused by the lack of an antidiuretic (a substance that causes increased passing of urine) called vasopressin. This hormone controls water absorption in the kidneys, and lacking it can cause frequent urination. Diabetes insipdus can be treated and controlled with proper diet and medication.


As dogs age, muscles weaken. Poor muscle tone can cause frequent urination or incontinence. Keeping your older dog active helps, but often, incontinence is an unavoidable aspect of the ageing process. Be sure to let your older dog out more often. There are dog diapers available from pet supply stores and catalogues, and waterproof dog bed liners can make cleanup and maintenance easier.

Other Possibilities

Some less common causes of frequent urination are bladder tumours, birth defects and an unusual condition called psychogenic polydipsia. Bladder tumours are not common, but if there is no other explanation for frequent urination, an X-ray can be done to check for them. Birth defects or malformations of the urethra can cause frequent UTIs, poor bladder control and frequent urination. Psychogenic polydipsia is a compulsive disorder that causes a dog to drink abnormal amounts of water and can be controlled with anti-anxiety drugs.

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