If your adult dog has suddenly started peeing in the house, there’s a reason… because let’s face it; dogs aren’t malicious. They don’t think, ‘huh you know what, I’ll just wee on the floor ‘cos you didn’t give me your leftovers last night’!
So if your house-trained dog starts urinating in the house, and it’s not a one-off, there’s something bigger at play. And it’s important to find out what it is as quickly as possible to rule out something serious.
Here’s a run-down of the seven main culprits for indoor peeing or ‘inappropriate urination’ if we want to get all vet-like about it…
1. Health-related issue
The No.1 thing to rule out is a health-related issue.
If your dog has been weeing inside quite consistently and you can’t think of a possible reason for it i.e. there haven’t been any changes to his environment, he isn’t old, there aren’t other dogs around, etc. talk to your vet.
Your dog could be involuntarily losing control of the muscles in his bladder, or it could be a sign of an infection or disease which has changed the frequency and urgency of his toilet needs.
Urinary tract infection, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, adrenal gland issues, or intestinal parasites… are just a few of the possible offenders that need ruling out first.
Make an appointment with your vet today.
If it’s not health-related, it could be one of the following…
2. Stress or anxiety
A dog can become stressed or anxious at any time in his life which could lead to him peeing indoors.
If you’ve introduced a new member to the household – another pet or a new baby for example – this could easily play a factor.
Or perhaps you’ve started to leave him indoors alone more than before. He could be suffering from separation anxiety which is resulting in him urinating in the house because he’s afraid, or he can’t get outside to do it.
It could be loud noises from building work happening nearby, a new dog in the neighbourhood, extreme weather…
Is he behaving differently besides peeing indoors? Is he tentative around someone or something new; overly excited to see you when you return home; never leaving your side at home; jumpy when walking past a certain house or location…?
Pay close attention to him throughout the day to determine the root cause.
How old is your dog?
If he’s getting on a bit, and remember to bear in mind the breed of dog he is, then it could be a simple case of old age.
Forgetfulness due to dementia or senility can cause a dog to pee (or poop) indoors.
But equally, old age could lead to ‘old-age’ health problems that should be diagnosed. So again, a little trip to the vets will help eliminate anything serious, or potentially help by providing medication to treat or manage the issue.
Weeing when excited is usually a trait of puppies, but it can sometimes affect older dogs too.
It could be that he gets so overly excited during playtime, or when lots of visitors arrive, that he urinates a little. This type of indoor urination is easy to define, as it tends to be just a small leakage and under a specific circumstance.
Similar to over-excitement, dogs can pee when being submissive.
Acting submissive is the response to a dominant dog or person. This act can exhibit itself through peeing. But again, it’s often just a small amount.
And, it’ usually easy to tell if its submissive wee – you’re telling him off; someone approaches he’s unsure of; or perhaps there’s a history of rough treatment if he’s a rescue dog.
‘Reward and praise’ is a good way of trying to overcome submissive urination.
6. Environmental changes
Environmental factors can play a significant role in a change to your dogs’ behaviour which has made him start to wee indoors.
Have you moved house, renovated, changed the carpet?
Perhaps seemingly small to you, changes like this can have an impact on your dog which may cause his toilet habits to change.
He may not realise he’s in his new home which is off-limits for weeing in. Or he could be ‘marking’ his new territory.
So you may need to go back to a bit of training to help him understand his new environment and what’s expected.
Whilst often associated with senior dogs, incontinence can affect your dog earlier in life too.
Leaking or leaving little puddles in his bed or on the floor during nap time, usually means incontinence is the problem.
Talk to your vet, as medication can sometimes help, or alternatively, investing in some doggie diapers for when he sleeps will help reduce your increased washing and cleaning duties.
Whatever the cause, never punish your dog for weeing indoors.
Dogs don’t always associate bad behaviour with that punishment, which means you could be making the problem worse, not better.
Plus, punishment is just wrong.
If your adult dog has started peeing in the house, it’s unlikely to be a sign of defiance, but rather, a cry for help.
So whether health-related or behavioural in nature, spend some time finding out the cause so you can manage it successfully.
And remember to give him lots of love – he doesn’t necessarily understand why he’s urinating indoors either.