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I have been considering getting a dog in my apartment. Being in a high-rise, it will be time-consuming to let the dog outside, so it needs to be planned out (I.e. a doggie door won't work).

How often should a dog be let out each day to avoid discomfort from a full bladder? Are there any studies, and does it depend on the breed?

  • Consider looking into the Potty Training Puppy Apartment. I have one, but haven't successfully trained my puppy to use it for going to the bathroom (mostly due to lack of initiative on my part). – drs Dec 6 '13 at 18:46
  • I agree with the response about potty breaks for dogs. 3 times a day should be the minimum. If a family or single dog owner works (including commuting time) more than 8 hours per day, a dog walker for a mid-day break should be considered. Do your research and interview to find the dog walker that is right for you and your dog. – user5970 Oct 19 '15 at 14:58
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It has only been the last few years that we have lived in an apartment and been faced with dilemma, with the advent of increased housing density in many cities globally this is a very good question.

Firstly a healthy house trained adult dog has different requirements to a puppy, sick or elderly dog.


Healthy house trained adult dog.

As a bare minimum dogs need to be taken out at least three times a day. Morning when they first wake, as most people know, this is a time the bladder has been accumulating bodily fluids and there is usually the most pressing need to go. During the day, after lunchtime and before bedtime. People (including myself) have successfully homed dogs with this type of routine.

When a dog is taken for such a toilet break, the break needs to include a min-walk at least on each occasion, this allows the dog opportunity to relax and relieve themselves several times before returning inside.

Exceptions to this will be, if the dog indicates it needs to go out, or the dog is unwell, or there has been a change in the feeding routine.

Puppies.

The number of times a puppy needs to be taken out is very age dependent (for this purpose I am assuming that the puppy is actively being house trained). To begin with, young puppies 8-12 weeks age, need to be taken out every time they wake from a nap, after they eat and whenever they sniff around in a manner that indicates they need to relieve themselves.

This can be reduced as they gain bladder control. The biggest thing with puppies is going to the toilet when they wake up from sleep, it seems to be a time when the first thing they want to do is urinate. This is also a key time to help successfully house train a puppy.

Sick dogs.

Depending on the ailment, whether a dog is recovering from surgery or ill in some way, this will usually increase their need to relieve themselves. It is best to go by advice from a Vet and cues from the dog, when they need to relieve themselves. Like puppies, unwell dogs will often need to urinate when they wake from a sleep.

Elderly dogs.

As bladder control is reduced and a dog is unable to hold for either urination or defecation, it is better to take an older dog to the toilet more frequently. To begin with a dog will show signs, by going to the door asking to go out, that they are not coping with a previously successful toileting regime.

So, a dog that previously was happily let out three times a day for the toilet, may start needing two toilet breaks during the day, or an early evening, then late night break. It is something that develops gradually and cannot be definitely said, [this many] breaks is the magic number. The key is to know your dog and read his/her cues.

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We've had a apartment dog (and we know quite a lot of apartment dog-people) and something that is pretty important is to set a routine - People walk their dog between twice and 4-5 times a day and if your dog knows its poo/walkies time, they're more likely to do things then.

Twice a day is sensible, and is a bare minimum in my opinion (ours gets 4 - he used to be the office dog, so we followed work times and one more walk). Distance is also important to an extent, generally a successful poo run for our westie cross is not less than 10 minutes - but we bring him for walks of up to an hour and 2 km.

Getting let out isn't just about pooing though - dogs need exercise, and well adjusted dogs need to socialize.

All that said and done, after a while you'll know. You'll work out a routine, and your dog will get that routine. He'll also know when and how to let you know he absolutely has to go.

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