Why Is My Dog Not Peeing After Surgery?

Updated on March 16, 2018
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Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."


Why Isn't My Dog Urinating After Surgery?

After your dog comes home after surgery, it's expected to see some behavioral changes and not peeing after surgery is not unusual. Depending on the type of surgery your dog has undergone, the causes may vary from one case and another. Your vet's discharge papers will often discuss several of these changes and will offer tips on how to help our dog recover. It's important to remember though that each dog reacts differently to surgery and dogs also manifest pain in different ways. Even when dogs undergo the same type of surgery more than once, they may react differently both times. If your dog hasn't urinated after surgery, you may be concerned about this change in his urination habits. You may therefore be wondering why this is happening and wonder what you can do to encourage elimination. According to Veterinary Specialists of Alaska, it's normal for dogs to urinate more or less frequently after surgery. Following are some possible explanations for your dog's reduced urination.

  • How much is your dog drinking? Many times dogs will be reluctant to drink after surgery. Less drinking obviously translates into less urine output.
  • Is your dog in pain? Depending on the type of surgery your dog has undergone, there are chances he may have reduced mobility and may be in pain. Dogs who have undergone orthopedic surgeries such as repair for a torn cruciate ligament, may have a hard time putting weight on the rear leg which makes walking around and urinating painful.
  • Is your dog still groggy? If you picked up your dog shortly after he was put under, he may still be groggy from the anesthesia. Your dog may be sleepy, unbalanced and confused, and the last thing that comes to his mind is going potty.

How Often Should Dogs Urinate?

You may be wondering how often a dog should urinate. According to American Animal Hospital in New Jersey, at a minimum, a dog should urinate at least every 8 to 10 hours, but this may vary depending on the amount of water consumed, diet and activity levels. In most cases, dogs should be taken out every 4 to 6 hours. As in humans though, holding it too long isn't a good practice. When urine is held for too long, bacteria concentrates in the urine which in the long run may predispose a dog to a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or worse, a bladder or kidney infection.

Dog Not Urinating After Surgery: What to Do?

Regardless of the cause, you may be wondering how long your dog can go without urinating and what steps you can take to encourage urination. Just Answer veterinarian Aggieervet claims " I've seen some dogs/cats after surgery not urinate for 2 days because they didn't want to and didn't have that much urine to begin with because they didn't drink much." So what can you do at home to encourage urination. Following are some steps.

  • You may want to call your vet if your dog seems in pain. He may need prescription pain medications, or if he is already taking them, your dog may need to have his dose increased.
  • If your dog urinates after surgery but then doesn't urinate several hours after, there are chances he has associated urinating with pain and is trying to hold it as long as he can to avoid the pain.
  • Veterinarian Dr. Marie recommends seeing the vet if a dog hasn't urinated within 24 hours or is trying to urinate but nothing comes out. In some cases, the vet may need to insert a catheter to empty the bladder.
  • If your dog has trouble walking, a sling or large rolled-up towel placed under him will help put less strain on his legs and will possibly help him feel less pain.
  • In some cases, female dogs may get a urinary tract infection after being spayed. Symptoms of a dog urinary tract infection include straining to urinate, urinating only a few drops at a time, pink, blood-tinged urine and licking the private areas.
  • Last but not least, it's a good idea to check if your dog has perhaps urinated somewhere around the house. If you have a small dog, it's easy to miss a spot or two on the carpet or a corner.


This article is not a substitute for professional veterinary advice. If your dog isn't urinating after surgery, please consult with your vet.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • My dog has not urinated for two days after knee surgery, should I be concerned?

    Consult with your vet who has done the surgery. Most likely your dog is not urinating because the leg still hurts him/her and he/she is uncomfortable walking. Most dogs will start putting weight on the leg within 5 to 7 days - some though may do so much sooner. Your dog may need pain meds to feel better.

  • My dog is not walking two days after being spayed, what should I do?

    Greetings, you should consult with your vet about this. Normally, after spay surgery, your vet should have sent your dog home with some pain medications. If these were not provided, it would be a good idea to give your vet a call and see whether you can get a prescription. Another possibility is that the incision is inflamed or the stitches are particularly tight, and every time your dog moves to walk, this puts a strain on the incision which may pinch and hurt. Of course, if your dog appears weak or lethargic, has pale gums, slow capillary refill time, or feels cold to the touch, this warrants an emergency vet visit as this can be indicative of internal bleeding. Please see your vet to play it safe.

© 2014 Adrienne Janet Farricelli


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    • profile image


      6 months ago

      My one year old Pitbull will not move from a certain spot to go urinatr or poop after being spayed

    • profile image


      15 months ago

      Had my 1yr old pup spayed yesterday and she hasn’t peed yet

    • profile image

      Penny vargas 

      23 months ago

      my dog broke his front leg and I can't get him to walk to go pee. What do I do

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      our animals are the greatest friends, companions and councilors. Thankful for this site to find answers and ideas to help them in any way. It is we, humans, that can't communicate to them. Really look at your pet, know their bodies by petting and massaging them. I found new growths on one of my dogs, took her to Vet, he found a tumor. We caught it early. So you'll know if something unusual is going on when you know their bodies, how their eyes look, how they walk, breathe, poop and unusual behaviors.. Can save their life by just paying attention, tuning into them. They behave like us worry, depression, lonely, frightened, so take care of them they are our children with fur and best friends.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Interesting about dogs and you have such helpful topics.

    • srai01 profile image


      4 years ago

      Great hub , useful information.

      Voted up!


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