What is Peeing in the House?
House-soiling is common for puppies who have not quite grasped potty training. But for older dogs, it can be a sign that something is wrong. Urinating indoors can occur several times a day, or as a reaction to certain triggers, and can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as confusion, anxiety, and overexcitement. The type of soiling and the behaviors surrounding it can help to determine if your dog has a medical or behavioral issue. Common reasons for peeing in the house include:
- Inadequate house training
- Medical condition
- Left too long indoors
- Excessive water drinking
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Why Peeing in the House Occurs in Dogs
The reason why your dog is urinating indoors may depend on his health or behavioral conditioning.
Inadequate House Training
If your dog was not adequately house trained as a puppy, then he may still be confused as to where he should go to urinate. Sometimes, even a well-trained dog can revert to house-soiling after a move to a new house. In such cases, retraining may be necessary to reinforce where you would like your dog to go.
There are many health conditions that can cause your dog to eliminate indoors, such as kidney infections or stones, kidney disease, diabetes, or Cushing’s or Addison’s disease. Age related issues, such as cognitive dysfunction, arthritis, and incontinence can cause house-soiling. Other problems can include injuries, allergies, parasitic infections, and dietary issues.
Marking is the natural process of declaring territory and asserting one’s place in the pack. While acceptable if done outdoors, marking indoors can be problematic. Marking is distinctive from other types of house-soiling in that only a small amount of urine is sprayed onto upright surfaces. If you have multiple dogs in your pack, marking by one dog can trigger the others to countermark on the same spot. New dogs, new furniture, or a new home can cause your dog to mark his territory.
An increase in your dog’s anxiety level can cause a lack of urinary control, resulting in an accident. Such anxiety can be triggered by fears or phobias, such as thunderstorms or fireworks, changes in your dog’s home or schedule, or being left alone for too long. Separation anxiety is common, and can be seen in the distressed pacing, barking, and whining seen when you try to leave your dog for the day.
Some dogs just get so excited to see you that they pee right there on the floor when you get home. Excitement urination can occur during exciting experiences, such as greeting visitors, playing with a new toy, or getting ready to take a walk.
Submission urination occurs when your dog feels threatened, such as when he is being punished or is facing a scary situation. Your dog can pee due to submissive behavior even when he is greeted or petted. To differentiate between this type and excitement urination, be aware of other behaviors surrounding the accident, such as cowering or avoiding eye contact.
Left Too Long Indoors
Sometimes, owners can overestimate how long their dog can hold their pee in. Many dogs are forced to urinate indoors if left inside too long and simply have no other option.
Excessive Water Drinking
If your dog is drinking more than usual, then he is going to need to pee more often, and may experience poorer control. While a hot summer day and lots of playing can cause an increased intake of water, often it is due to a medical condition.
What to do if your Dog is Peeing in the House
If you have noticed that your dog is urinating indoors, and he has been properly house trained, take a look at any patterns to his urination. Factors such as if the peeing occurs in response to a situation, if it occurs during periods of alone time, where it occurs, or if it is accompanied by excessive water drinking or any other symptoms can all help to lead to a reason for the house-soiling.
Take your dog to the veterinarian to rule out any medical issues. Your veterinarian will examine your dog, often taking blood, urine, and stool samples for testing, and may use imaging techniques to assess the health of the urinary tract. These tests can determine if there is a kidney issue, parasitic or bacterial infection, or other condition that could be causing the house-soiling.
Any medical issue is treated accordingly. Age related cognitive dysfunction may benefit from medication, and diet and environmental changes.
If a medical condition is treated, you may still need to spend some time retraining your dog to go outside. In the absence of medical issues, behavioral modification techniques can also help your dog to change his habits. Excitement urination can be curbed through relaxation techniques that allow your dog to stay calm during exciting situations. Some anxieties can be calmed with appropriate medications along with modification techniques. Marking can be reduced through spaying or neutering your dog, or using a belly band.
While you are training your dog to urinate in the right places, be sure he cannot access the wrong places by putting up gates or closing off those areas he has previously soiled. If you have to confine your dog longer than he can hold it in, consider using potty pads, or even a litter box for smaller dogs.
Prevention of Peeing in the House
The best way to ensure your dog understands where he should eliminate is to house train him as a puppy, or retrain him if he is a newly adopted older dog. Spaying or neutering your dog can reduce or prevent marking behaviors. Taking your dog for routine check-ups can help you to catch and treat any medical conditions that can compromise your dog’s elimination control.
Cost of Peeing in the House
The cost of treatments for house soiling can vary considerably, depending on the reason. Behavioral problems can average around $500, while marking can cost $1500 or more. The average cost for diabetes treatments is $3000, and kidney disease can reach higher than $7000.
Peeing in the House Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
My friend has a rescue and I wanted to adopt one of the puppies she got from a shelter in Georgia. He is a 7 month old hound mix who was neutered 2 weeks ago and then transported to her. She has him in quarantine with the other puppies she took from the shelter. She said that she has noticed that he has been peeing, but outside of his crate as if he is standing up on his back legs and then peeing. She thinks that something might have gone wrong during his neutering. Is this possible or is he just pissed off being in the crate most of the day?
Neutering is a very simple procedure which has very few possible complications (as opposed to other surgeries where body cavities are opened). It isn’t unusual for a dog to want to urinate outside of the crate, but to urinate while standing on on hind legs is something I haven’t come across (dogs peeing whilst performing handstands are some dogs party tricks). I would recommend having an examination performed by a Veterinarian to determine if there is anything anatomically wrong with the urinary tract (x-rays may be performed) as certain positions may make urination more easy or comfortable. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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