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What is Peeing in His Sleep?

As a puppy, your dog will need to be taken out to use the bathroom every few hours. But that is completely normal. What isn’t normal is if your dog doesn’t wake up to urinate, and ends up soaking his bed while asleep. This problem tends to happen when the sphincter muscles in the bladder are too weak to allow the dog control over urination. Such an issue can be brought on by:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • 'Neutering Incontinence' in older dogs who were neutered when young
  • Spinal cord injury or degeneration
  • Conditions that cause excessive urination such as diabetes and kidney disease
  • Prostate disorders
  • Urinary stones and masses

If you notice that your dog is peeing in their sleep it is extremely important to get them to a vet as soon as possible in order to determine the underlying issue. While a weak bladder by itself is not deadly, when paired with something like diabetes or kidney disease, it can result in death if left unaddressed.

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Why Peeing in His Sleep Occurs in Dogs

The most common reason why dogs experience peeing in their sleep is incontinence. This problem can come about from a number of different things, such as a urinary tract infection and bladder stones. Age can also affect the ability for a dog to control its bladder, but it is not always the case as some younger dogs experience this issue as well.

Urinary Tract Infection

The inflammation caused by a condition such as a urinary tract infection can cause your dog to not realize that he is peeing while asleep. A dog with an infection of the urinary tract may have excessive thirst and therefore, pee more often - sometimes not waking when his bladder is full.

Hormonal changes after Neutering

After going through the process of being spayed, 1 out of 5 female dogs experience incontinence, also known as spay incontinence. This is because their levels of estrogen are drastically lowered, which then affects the muscle tone of the sphincters. Those who are spayed before their first season tend to be the ones affected.

In males, the same weakened sphincters are to blame. But it is far less common. Both situations can be treated with prescription drugs provided by your veterinarian. 

Spinal Cord Disease

A dog with a disease of the spinal cord may have lack of mobility or a lessened sense of feeling which may lead to incontinence when awake or asleep. Your veterinarian can evaluate your pet to determine whether the illness causing the peeing while asleep is a degenerative disease.

Diabetes

Canines who are developing diabetes may have excessive thirst leading to frequent urination, which in some dogs may mean peeing during sleep. Other signs of diabetes may be lethargy and weight loss, despite an increased appetite.

Kidney Disease

Drinking a lot of water is a symptom of kidney disease. Weakness and disorientation caused by a kidney problem could mean a pet who normally is housetrained may start to have accidents.

Prostate Disorders

An enlarged prostate can lead to incontinence. We may also notice blood in the urine. Males who have not been neutered will often develop an enlarged prostate as they age. This can usually be treated with medicine and/or castration.

Bladder Stones or masses

Dogs may leak urine when they have a mass (such as a polyp , tumour or stone) within the bladder. Anything that obstructs the urine flow can eventually lead to damaged muscles and incontinence.


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What to do if your Dog is Peeing in His Sleep

Once you realise that your dog is having issues controlling his bladder while asleep, you will want to begin monitoring any other unusual habits your dog may be displaying. If, for example, the amount of water drunk within a day increases or there are signs of leakage, there may be a more serious underlying issue. 

After monitoring your dog, you will then want to take him to a vet in order to determine what the problem is and how to begin treatment. While a weak bladder will not immediately harm your pet, if it is paired with any other more serious issue, the situation will need to be addressed immediately. Your vet may require a urine sample to best determine what the problem may be before prescribing any specific treatment. Once the test results come in, discussion of treatment will then take place.

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Prevention of Peeing in His Sleep

  • Feeding a wet diet and encouraging water drinking can reduce the risk of urinary infection, crystals and stones. Similarly, treating any bladder infection promptly is advised to prevent damage to the bladder. Some dogs may require a prescription diet, especially if prone to forming crystals.
  • Neutering your dog can prevent their prostate from enlarging and reduce the incidence of prostate disease.
  • While spinal cord disease cannot always be prevented, in those that are prone (such as Shih Tzus and Dachshunds), we should keep them slim and consider controlling their environment with e.g. ramps to limit jumps from heights.
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Cost of Peeing in His Sleep

Treatment cost will vary depending on the cause of your dog’s peeing during sleep. For instance, if your dog is diagnosed with incontinence, the cost of treatment will be between $50 to $1500 depending on the severity. If your dog is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, the average cost is $350.

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Written by hannah hollinger

Veterinary reviewed by: Linda S.

Published: 07/08/2017, edited: 03/11/2021

Peeing in His Sleep Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Chawinnie

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Six Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Peeing In His Aleep

Why is he doing it?

Sept. 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. At 6 months, it is possible that he just doesn't urinate when he is outside before bed, and he may need a little focus. Taking him for a walk before bed may help. If that does not help, then having him seen by a veterinarian to make sure that he does not have a problem would be a good idea.

Oct. 7, 2020

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German Shepherd

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Five Years

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5 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Peeing While Alseep

Pees while she is alseep

Aug. 7, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. She may have a urinary infection, or an incontinence. Is this is something that is not getting better and keeps happening, it would be best to have her soon by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine her, check a urine sample for infection, and see if there is anything else going on. There are medications that can help this, and we just need to figure out the right one. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 7, 2020

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Golden Retriever

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Six Months

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Urinating While Sleeping

We took a urine sample to the vet when we noticed he was starting to pee more consistently during naps and sleeping overnight. They found two types of bacteria in his urine and said it was a UTI and gave us antibiotics. However, the urinating while sleeping was still happening. We took a second urine sample to the vet. Now he has only one type of bacteria in his urine. We were given a different antibiotic. We are at the end of this medication and he is still urinating in his sleep. What are the next steps? What else can I try at home?

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is unusual for a dog so young to have any kind of resistant urinary tract infection, but it may be possible. There isn't anything that you can do at home, but what I might do at your veterinarian is have them do some blood work, and make sure that there is nothing wrong with him sustemically. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Chihuahua

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9.5 years

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Urination While Sleeping

My dog has owed on her sleep 3 times in the past 3 days, two of the times in the past 24 hours. What can I do?

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I assume you mean that your dog is urinating in her sleep? That may be a sign of a medical problem, and the best thing to do would be to have her seen by a veterinarian. They can do some lab work, check her urine, and see what might be going on. Once they know more, they will be able to let you know what treatments are available. I hope that all goes well for your dog.

Aug. 5, 2020

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Toy australian shepheRds

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2 months

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Hight Temp Urinating In Sleep

There is no diarrhea or vomiting

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If your puppy has a fever and is urinating in his or her sleep, she may not be feeling well, and puppies are prone to other infectious diseases besides intestinal diseases. It would probably be best to have your puppy seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine him or her, see what might be going on, and see if any treatment is necessary. I hope that your puppy is okay.

July 31, 2020

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Buster

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Yorkie/malteese

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14 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

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Urinating While Sleeping

my yorkie/malteese is 14 yrs old, 2weeks ago had surgery for kidney stone removal. he has now begun to pee in bed overnight. the vet said this should go away. should i seek a second opinion. he doesn't seem to be draining his bladder completely i think, when he does pee even in the day time he pees a good amount at first then tries to pee more and it just is drips.

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Peanut

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Cocker Spaniel

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Urinating Outside Litterbox
Urinating In House
Urinatin
Urinating During Sleep

I have a 4 year old cocker spaniel that has been spayed. In the last 2 weeks she has urinated all over me and the chair she was sleeping in. This has happened 3 times so far and I am concerned because it seems like she isn't even aware of doing it. About 2 months ago she was also in extreme pain and after taking her to the emergency vet clinic they said it was back pain. They prescribed muscle relaxers and pain pills. They also suggested I keep her in a kennel at all times other than taking her out for bathroom breaks but not to allow her to go up or down stairs. She has recovered and seems to be peppy and energetic. I have cut down on her exercise since her injury but am slowly getting her back to where she was at. I plan on taking her to the vet early next week but I am wondering if there is anything to be watchful for or questions I should ask or if I should bring her in sooner. She doesn't seem to be in pain, just unaware.

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Thor

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German/lab

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10 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Licking At Genitals

My 10 month old German/Lab mix has periodically peed himself while sleeping without waking up pretty much for the last 8 months that I’ve had him. He’s pretty good about not having accidents unless I mess up his schedule, but peeing while he is sleeping is pretty common. It’s not a new occurs and has happened enough over a long enough period that I am pretty concerned about it. This last time he was yipping and twitching in his sleep.

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Ellie

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Urinating In House

My 2 year old lab periodically urinates in her sleep. She was neutered at 6 months. She’s house trained and the problem arises only while sleeping. The vet tested her for underlying problems and none were found fortunately. Medication was prescribed but didn’t seem to help. I monitor her water intake which would be insatiable left to her own devices. What are my next steps??

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Zola

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Siberian Husky

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17 Weeks

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Urinating In House

I have a 17 week old Siberian Husky. She quickly caught on to potty training and hasn’t had any accidents in the house in a few weeks. Just a few days ago she urinated while napping on the marble fire place hearth. Since then she has done so a half dozen times, but only there, no where else. She sleeps in my bed with me at night and does not have any issues then. Most nights she sleeps through the night without needing to go out. We are an active family and include her in many of our activities, is it possible that she is not getting enough sleep and sleeping deeply during her naps? Or does it have to do with sleeping on the cold marble? She was just to the vet 4 days ago and received a set of puppy shots, could this be a side effect? As this did start the following day.

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