This subject is dear to my heart and of great concern to me since I am in the pet care industry. People tell me that "...their dog can hold their pee all day!" or "...oh he's used to it." BUT WHY?! We must know that it causes them just as much discomfort as we get when we have to wait for an empty stall to open up, or the next gas station, etc. Why are we doing this to our dogs? We don't do it to our cats, we give them a litter box.
I have discussed this issue with multiple veterinarians and my editorial is the consensus from my interviews.
There are potential health risks associated with forcing your dog to hold its pee for too long. Although he physically might be able to do so, extended periods of holding it in can lead to urinary tract infections or urinary crystals and stones. The inability to urine can also lead to behavioral issues. Frustrated dogs can bark, chew, and become extremely anxious, which can lead to a frustrated owner. To avoid frustration and all it entails, understand the importance of your dog’s needs and why it matters.
Adult and large dogs have larger bladders than younger, smaller dogs. These dogs should have at least 4 opportunities to relieve themselves per day. Most veterinarians recommend allowing your dog to go outside every 3-5 hours. Some dogs don’t always fully relieve themselves the first time they go outside, meaning they’re still holding a substantial amount in throughout the day. Make sure you delegate a sufficient amount of time for your dog to “let it all go” before they come back inside. Smaller and younger dogs should have at least 5-6 opportunities to relieve themselves per day, as their bladders are smaller than larger dogs.
Senior dogs and dogs with health issues have different requirements when it comes to holding it in. Dogs with illnesses, such as diabetes or kidney disease, typically need more trips outside per day. Demanding them to hold it in for more than 2-3 hours may be an impossible task. Visiting your veterinarian will allow you to better understand your dog’s needs and requirements.
There are plenty of situations when dog's desire to escape and run away from wherever she is can cause dangerous consequences.
This problem will usually be caused because your pet is looking for a mate, was scared by something, needs socialization, dislikes the environment, wants to roam and explore, and for many other reasons.
The bad thing about it is evident: when outside of your supervision and not in a safe environment, a dog can get herself in all kinds of danger very quickly.
How to fix it:
Indoor Cats and Infectious Disease, By Krista Williams, BSc, DVM; Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM
Why does my cat need vaccinations if she spends 100% of her time indoors?
It is a myth that cats who live indoors do not need to be vaccinated against infectious diseases. While living an indoor lifestyle is certainly safer overall than living outdoors, and indoor living contributes to a longer life expectancy, important infectious diseases can find indoor cats.
Feline rhinotracheitis virus, feline calici virus, and feline panleukopenia virus make up the feline distemper complex. Vaccination against the feline distemper complex is important because these diseases can be deadly.
These are hardy viruses that can be brought into the home on inanimate objects like clothes or shoes. Because transmission does not require direct contact with another cat, indoor-only cats can be exposed and become ill if they are not appropriately vaccinated. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), World Small Animal Association (WSAVA), and Cat Healthy (Canada) have published vaccination guidelines that reflect the current standard of vaccine science. Your veterinarian will help you understand the most appropriate distemper vaccination schedule for your cat.
If feline leukemia virus (FeLV) requires direct cat-to-cat contact why does my indoor cat need to be vaccinated?
The current vaccine recommendations for cats from the AAHA and the AAFP include vaccinating all kittens against FeLV following a negative blood test. Cats are most susceptible to this virus in the first few years of life and their personalities are still developing – you never know if your adorable new kitten is going to decide that he needs to dart out the door whenever they spot it opening.
"When deciding about FeLV vaccination, it is important to consider all the cats in the household.
"This vaccine should be boosted at the one year anniversary, at which time you can discuss your cat's lifestyle with your veterinarian, who may recommend skipping this vaccine. Keep in mind that if you have more than one cat and one of them spends some time outdoors, this cat can potentially become a carrier, transporting FeLV indoors and exposing the cat who lives strictly inside. When deciding about FeLV vaccination, it is important to consider all the cats in the household.
Why does my indoor cat need rabies vaccination?
Rabies is a human health concern, not just an animal health issue. Because rabies can be transmitted to humans and is nearly universally fatal, many communities have laws mandating rabies vaccination of pets. Rabies is most commonly transmitted by a bite from an infected animal. Bats, skunks, and raccoons are the most common sources of exposure to rabies by companion animals.
"Rabies is a human health concern, not just an animal health issue."Regardless of legal requirements, maintaining regular rabies vaccination makes good medical sense. Even a strictly indoor cat may find a way to sneak out of the house and be exposed to rabies by a wild animal in the neighborhood. A rabid bat could find its way inside, presenting an attractive hunting target for an indoor cat. It is simply not worth the risk to the cat or your human family members to decline vaccination against rabies.
Your veterinarian is your best source of the most current recommendations for vaccinating your cat in order to protect her from preventable infectious diseases - even if yours lives strictly indoors. The current guidelines for cat vaccinations involve a rotating vaccine schedule - it is no longer considered appropriate to vaccinate against every disease every single year. Instead, an individual risk assessment is performed to determine the most appropriate disease protection and prevention plan for your cat. Your veterinarian has your cat's best interests in mind.
Contributors: Krista Williams, BSc, DVM; Robin Downing, DVM, CVPP, CCRP, DAAPM