All dog owners know that canines need to go outside multiple times a day to eliminate. However, the big question is this: how often should you let your dog out? On average, dogs need to go out 3 to 5 times a day for bathroom breaks. This will vary based on the dog’s age, health condition, and routines.
In this post, I will discuss how often outdoor trips with your dog should be. I also shared our schedule with Sherlock, our Golden Retriever, to help you out.
How often do dogs need to go out?
An adult dog will need to go out at least 3 times a day to pee and poo. Meanwhile, a younger dog will need more trips since they have small bladders that can get full faster than older canines.
Aside from the dog’s age, you should also consider the breed of the pooch. Small dogs like toy and miniature breeds have the bladder size of a puppy. So while they may be adults, your small dog still needs frequent potty trips. In general, your dog shouldn’t wait longer than 8 hours for a bathroom break.
You wouldn’t want your dog to hold its urine for too long. Like humans, canines can also develop a urinary tract infection and kidney problems if forced to hold them in for too long. If your dog experiences frequent urination, it might be a sign of an infection.
Also, forcing your dog to hold its bladder for too long will lead to more accidents in the house even after toilet training.
Scheduling your dog’s bathroom breaks
To remove the guesswork, you should come up with a schedule for your dog’s potty trips. Dogs will need to urinate multiple times a day while they will usually poop around 30 minutes after each meal.
To help you come up with a schedule with your dog, you can use ours for reference. Our dog Sherlock is already an adolescent dog, so we take him out four times a day. Here’s how our routine goes when it comes to bathroom breaks:
- First bathroom break: 6:30 am to 7 am. Sherlock wants to relieve himself first thing in the morning. This is after holding it inside the crate overnight. He usually joins me on my early walks after this.
- Second bathroom break: 8: 30 am to 9 am. We have our breakfast at around 8 am, which is also the same time we feed Sherlock his first meal of the day. After 30 minutes, I will take him out and wait until he poops.
- Third bathroom break: 12: 30 noon to 1 pm. This one is right after I finish my lunch. We feed Sherlock twice a day, so he doesn’t have a mid-day meal aside from a few treats. Still, I take him out to pee. Sometimes he does, sometimes he doesn’t. Nevertheless, Sherlock likes the bonding time and smelling around the yard.
- Fourth bathroom break: 10 pm to 10:30 pm. Sherlock’s last potty trip is right before we go to bed. We try to put off his dinner at a later hour, so he can go potty right before we crate him. The schedule restarts the next day.
Take note that this is our schedule for an adult and healthy Golden Retriever. This will vary widely for each breed and specific dog. Nevertheless, you get the idea of how it goes. You can try this and see if it works for your dog.
Also, your dog’s schedule depends on your own schedule. Some people are night owls, which makes their dogs more active at night.
Whatever your schedule is, crate training is necessary to teach your dog to hold its bladder and to combat separation anxiety.
When you can’t take your dog outside
There are instances when you can’t take your dog outdoors. It could be a storm, downpour, or a blizzard. During these occasions, you can use artificial grass.
My dog Sherlock doesn’t mind defecating and urinating on wet grass. However, some dogs will refuse to go out if the ground is soaked. This is where the artificial grass will come in handy. It’s basically a turf patch with a tray underneath.
If it’s raining or snowing, you can train your dog to eliminate during such conditions. It will be more difficult for them to sniff around as the snow or rain will wash out their previous elimination traces.
Use a canine raincoat to protect your dog’s coat. You can also make a rain shelter right on your pet’s bathroom spot.
What can I do if I’m not home to take my dog out?
Sometimes, we can get very busy that we can’t make it home on time to take the dog out. In this case, you can ask a friend or family member to take your dog to bathroom breaks. However, if your entire family will be out past your dog’s schedule, you can book a dog walker.
Companies like Rover and Wag! offer these services. They have an app where you can find dog walkers within your area. They charge around $20 per 30-minute walk. You can also add a note about your dog’s needs and where you want your dog to be taken. It’s an added expense, sure, but it’s much better than going out to accidents all over the house.
How long should a dog be outside daily?
Based on my experience with Sherlock, we usually stay for 30 minutes outside for each potty break. You can’t expect dogs to push it out the moment you take them outdoors. They need to sniff and circle before finally eliminating.
If you want your dog to eliminate faster, you should give it ample exercise each day. Take the dog to a walk, play fetch, and keep it moving. The more your dog stays active, the faster the bowel movement will be.
Is it better to keep a dog inside or outside?
Most of the time, it’s best to keep domesticated dogs indoors. This will keep them safe against outdoor elements and various hazards.
However, your dog still needs outdoor activities as much as we, humans, do. Also, some dog breeds just can’t be kept indoors. The likes of Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and Great Pyrenees are giant dogs that will consume a massive space in your home. Also, they drool and shed a lot, which will be a big headache if you make them indoor dogs.
Do dogs get bored walking the same route?
Yes, your dog can get bored walking on the same route each day. Just imagine yourself visiting the same spot over and over again. It will be boring and unpleasant.
If you want your pup to be happy and well-rounded, you should take them to new places around the neighborhood. Pick 3 to 5 routes and cycle them throughout the week. This will make each walk interesting and enjoyable for your pet.
Take note that disciplined dogs can act up during walks if they don’t like the place. This can happen if you keep bringing them on the same street.
Is it a good idea to let my dog go out on its own?
Many pet owners install doggie doors, so their pets can go out and eliminate on their own. This is a good choice if your dog is already trained. You wouldn’t want an untrained canine going loose on your yard, especially if there are many escape points.
Also, you should use the right doggy door that suits your dog’s size. However, I want to warn you about installing large doggy doors to accommodate a big breed. Many burglars use this as an entry point to homes. If you live in a high-risk area, a doggy door may not be a good idea.
Is it okay to walk your dog twice a day?
Yes, it’s totally fine to walk your older dog twice a day, but don’t keep it too long. Most dogs will thrive on a 30-minute walk each time. It’s also best to schedule the walks early in the morning before you head to work. The last would be at dusk, so your dog will be ready for bedtime.
However, if you have a small dog, more than one walk a day may not be necessary. Smaller dogs and toy breeds can easily succumb to hypoglycemia if they get too much physical activity.
How often should you let your dog out? Three times a day is the average, but you can also schedule up to five trips. It’s important to consider your dog’s needs and habits to come up with a schedule that works. Over time, the bathroom break schedule will come naturally to you and your dog.