Nobody likes finding a wet spot, but not all wet spots are under your dog’s control. Here are a few causes of accidents that every dog lover should know about…
Dog urinates in the house every time you leave him alone
This may be a separation issue. If it happens every time and if it happens whether you leave for five minutes or five hours, then speak to a dog trainer or behaviour professional. Do not scold your dog for this – it will only make the problem worse.
Older dog (over 10 years old, usually) urinates in the house after years of being housetrained
This may be a sign of ageing or a canine cognitive disorder. Either way, you see your vet for a discussion and possibly medication. This is not your old dog’s fault – walk him more, love him more, but don’t scold.
Housetrained dog urinates in the house after surgery or when on medication
This is usually a result of the stress or medications. Be more attentive to when your dog needs to go outside, and in a few days he typically should be back to normal. If he isn’t or if you are concerned, speak to your vet.
Female dog urinates small amounts frequently, perhaps even in sleep
If you notice any uncontrollable dribbling of urine, whether in a sleeping area or when awake, you should contact your vet. It may indicate lowered oestrogen levels, which sometimes occurs in desexed females. Oestrogen is important to help keep the muscles in the urinary tract firm and toned, and when these muscles become weak due to a lack of oestrogen, the urine may dribble out.
Urine dribbling or involuntary urination (accidents in the house) may also be caused by a urinary tract infection, and blood in the urine may be evident. In either case, your vet will want to get a urine specimen and may prescribe medication to help the situation.
Male dog urinates in house by lifting his leg, even just after a walk
This is leg-lifting or marking and has nothing to do with housetraining. It is generally an attitude problem more than anything else. The first step is to desex your dog, then speak to a dog trainer or behaviour professional about getting this problem under control.
Dog urinates when you bend over to pet him or when he is nervous
This may be submissive urination. Young puppies do this with adult dogs as a polite or appeasing gesture and some continue to do this with humans. Scolding will only make the puddles bigger. Instead, try ignoring your dog when he’s excited or anxious. You might try tossing a treat off to the side to give him something else to think about.
If you suspect submissive urination, take the stress out of coming home. Don't acknowledge your dog until you get in and put your stuff down. Then walk to a tiled area – just in case – kneel down and speak gently to your dog. Stroke his chest, rather than reaching over the head. With guests, wait to introduce your dog until they’re in and settled and things are quiet and calm. If this continues, get some advice from a dog trainer or behaviour professional.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.