How Can I Stop My Dog From Peeing In The House?

Jul 2, 2023 | Dog Behavior, Dogs

As pet parents, we know accidents happen, and you’ve probably faced your fair share of puppy puddles and soggy carpets. We understand why a new pet may do this, but what about a young dog, or even worse, a fully potty-trained dog? It can certainly be frustrating and throw off your daily routine when dealing with these types of behavioral issues. But the first thing to always look for is a common issue that could be the root cause to your puppy potty training regression.

After potty training our furry friends, we expect them to hold it in and not leave a mess inside. Unfortunately, some pups miss the memo and commit the ultimate faux-paw of inappropriate indoor urination behavior, leaving us grabbing the paper towels and scrubbing our floors with that enzyme cleaner. But no worries, we’ve got you covered. We’ll answer the age-old question of why already-trained dogs pee inside and provide solutions to nipping this habit in the bud for good.

Why Dogs Pee In The House

Dogs are man’s best friend, but sometimes best friends can be a little gross. When your furry friend starts peeing in the house, it’s enough to turn your nose up and wonder what’s happening. The thing is, dogs don’t just pee in the house to be annoying, there are a ton of reasons why your pup might be having accidents.

When dogs pee in the house, it’s usually because of an underlying problem. But don’t take it personally, your furry friend is probably not being spiteful. It could be their way of telling you that something is wrong. So if you notice any unusual behavior, pay attention! They might be feeling unwell or scared.

Your pet’s indoor accidents could be a cry for help. It could be a simple matter of them not getting to go out as often as they need to and could be simply solved with the help of a dog walker. Or it could be something more serious. Let’s consider some of the most common reasons:

Health Issues

As mentioned before, there could be many reasons your house-trained dog started peeing inside. It could be due to stress, anxiety, or a change in routine, among other things. However, if your dog is fully grown and has never had an issue with peeing in the house before, then it might be time to consider whether or not they have an underlying medical conditions or general health problems.

So, what kind of medical problems could cause your dog to start peeing inside? There are several, including:

  • Bladder or urinary tract infection
  • Bladder stones
  • Intestinal parasites
  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Kidney Disease or Kidney Problems
  • Liver problems
  • Tumors
  • Age-related cognitive issues
  • And even old age itself

That’s a pretty substantial list, right? The best advice is to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible to get a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan.

Once your vet figures out the underlying issue, they can treat your dog accordingly. If it’s a bladder infection or stones or parasites, for example, medication will often clear things right up. If it’s something more serious, like kidney or liver problems or tumors, your vet can review your options with you. The important thing is that the peeing should stop once your dog is treated.

However, what if your dog is simply getting old? As dogs age, they may start to have issues with bladder control. In these cases, there may not be a cure. That being said, there are things that you can do to help your senior dog out. For example, you might want to take them out for more frequent bathroom breaks or set up training pads indoors for emergencies.

Anxiety Or Stress

When our dog starts peeing indoors, we often take them to the vet to rule out any medical issues. But what happens when the vet can’t find any physical cause for the problem? Here’s a hint: it might not be as dire as you think. Your pup could be peeing indoors due to a higher level of stress or anxiety. But you’re probably asking yourselves: “What could they possibly be stressed about? They don’t have jobs or bills to pay. And their biggest challenge is finding the right spot to nap all day!” Let’s discuss what may be going on.

First things first, let’s talk about anxiety. Dogs, like their pet owner, can feel anxious in certain situations, and sometimes this anxiety can manifest in indoor peeing. One common trigger for anxiety in dogs is sudden or dramatic changes in their lives, such as moving to a new home or welcoming a new baby (human or animal). Our pets may feel overwhelmed and unsure of their surroundings in these situations, leading to accidents inside. The best way to help our pups in these situations is to give them lots of love and reassurance, create a calm and predictable routine, and offer extra potty breaks.

Another type of anxiety that can cause indoor peeing is separation anxiety. If your dog has suddenly started peeing indoors and you’ve also had a sudden change in your working hours or are spending more time away from home, it’s possible that your pup is experiencing separation anxiety. Separation anxiety can be a big deal, and you may need to consult with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to work on the issue. However, in the meantime, there are some things you can try, such as leaving your dog with a comforting item that smells like you or trying some calming remedies like pheromone diffusers or music.

One issue that may not be immediately apparent is that your dog is simply stressed out. Whether it’s from loud unfamiliar noises outside or something else in their environment, your dog may be experiencing stress that is causing them to pee indoors. In these situations, it can be helpful to try and identify the trigger for your dog’s stress and remove it if possible. For example, if your pup is afraid of loud noises, you may need to keep them inside during those times or try some noise-canceling techniques.

Submission, Excitement, Or Fear

Scared dog with a very sad face

Your lovely doggo might pee indoors due to excitement, fear, or submissiveness. Yup, you heard that right! They might be unable to hold it in when they’re super enthused or feel vulnerable. Even adult dogs age like fine wine, but some may still face this issue.

Submissive urination happens when a dog feels intimidated or vulnerable. In the wild, subordinate dogs will offer this behavior as a sign of submission to dominant dogs, which are higher up in the pack hierarchy. Similarly, your dog may pee out of submission when they are feeling overwhelmed or when they are greeting you, a stranger, or another pet. This behavior is most common in young dogs and puppies, and it may help to build their confidence through positive reinforcement training.

Excitement urination occurs when a dog becomes overexcited and loses control of their bladder. This can happen when they see you after a long day apart or when they’re playing with toys or with other dogs. Similar to submissive urination, this behavior is more common in young dogs and puppies. However, it can also persist into adulthood. You can try to avoid this behavior by staying calm when you greet your pup, ignoring their overexcitement until they calm down, and taking them on regular walks or play sessions to burn off excess energy.

Fear-based urination is a behavioral issue that occurs when a dog feels overly intimidated or anxious. This can happen when they’re in unfamiliar surroundings, such as when you take them to a new place or when they’re in a crowded room. Dogs may show fear-based urination by trembling, cowering, or even whining or barking. If your dog exhibits these behaviors, it may be time to consult your veterinarian or behavioral expert to help them overcome their fears.

Territory Issues

Male poodle pet dog pee urinate inside home onto furniture to mark territory.

We’ve all seen it before, whether on a walk around our neighborhood or in our own homes – dogs lifting their legs and peeing on objects as if it’s their job. And in a way, it kind of is. Urine is actually used as a form of territorial marking among dogs.

Urine marking is not the same as urinating to relieve oneself. Dogs generally mark upright objects and leave small amounts of urine. This type of behavior is often hormonally influenced and is a way for canines to communicate with other dogs. They use urine marking to let others know they’re present and to claim their territory. An unneutered male dog is most likely to mark, but some neutered males and spayed female dogs can also mark. Signs that your dog is marking may include sniffing, scratching, or backing up to an object before urinating.

Different situations can trigger stress and anxiety in dogs, leading to urine marking. New house moves, renovations, and the introduction of new furniture can be stressors that trigger marking. On the other hand, when other dogs enter a previously marked territory, the resident dog may feel the need to mark even more. Hormones produced during anxiety can cause dogs to engage in marking behavior as a way of reassuring themselves or communicating with others.

How can you reduce the marking behavior of your dog? One solution is to neuter or spay your pet. Male dogs are frequently more prone to marking compared to their female counterparts. Spaying or neutering may reduce your pet’s need to mark and reduce the frequency of this behavior. Plus, providing lots of outdoor walks and exercise opportunities can also help reduce anxiety and stress, leading to fewer marking incidents.

Poor House Training

Guilty dog Jack Russell Terrier pissed puddle on the wooden floor

When it comes to home-based training, you never know what to expect. From potty training to behavior modification, it requires a lot of time and energy from both you and your furry friend. But sometimes, that training experience can go sideways, and your dog ends up reverting back to undesired behavior or never really takes on what you initially tried to teach.

Demanding too much too quickly is one of the most common mistakes made by dog owners. Training requires a gradual and consistent approach. When you’re teaching your dog a new trick or routine, start small and gradually build up. Trying to force too much change too quickly will only frustrate your dog, and as a result, it will lead to negative behavior. When you’re patient and take the time to train your dog, you’ll see positive results in the long run.

One of the most frustrating aspects of training is potty training. If your dog still has accidents in the house, it’s essential to remain patient and reward appropriate behavior. Dogs are intelligent creatures and will learn what is expected of them with positive reinforcement. Keeping a consistent routine and rewarding good behavior can go a long way in the potty training process. And remember, accidents happen, so don’t get too frustrated if progress is slow.

If your previously trained dog starts urinating inappropriately in the house, it’s time to go back to the drawing board for training. Training also requires perseverance. You might have to repeat the same command multiple times or tackle a bad dog’s behavior repeatedly. It can often feel like progress is slow but don’t give up. You and your furry friend are a team and must work together to reach your goals. Your dog wants nothing more than to please you, so keep at it, and the payoff will be worth it. Just remember, potty training again requires understanding and support to build trust with your furry friend to get them back on track.

Arthritis

As our dog ages, they become more prone to certain illnesses that can significantly impact their day-to-day lives. Arthritis is one such condition, which causes inflammation and degeneration of the joints, making it difficult for dogs to stand up and walk around. Unfortunately, arthritis in senior dogs often leads to urinary accidents because the pain can keep them from making it outside in time, and it’s essential to know how to identify when your dog is experiencing joint pain and how to help them through it.

Arthritis is a chronic condition that occurs when the cartilage in joints begins to wear down, leading to inflammation and irritation. In older dogs, this is often caused by years of wear and tear on the joints, but it can also be due to genetic factors and diseases such as Lyme disease. Common signs of arthritis in dogs include limping or favoring one leg, stiffness, lethargy, reluctance to move, and difficulty standing up or walking.

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for dogs with arthritis because extra weight puts more strain on already damaged joints. Dogs with arthritis also need regular low-intensity exercise, such as walking or swimming, to keep their joints healthy and strong. Consult with your vet to create a diet and exercise plan that will work best for your dog’s specific needs.

There are several pain management options available for dogs with arthritis, including over-the-counter and prescription medication. However, always consult with a vet before giving any medication to your dog. They can recommend the best options based on the severity of the arthritis and your dog’s overall health. You can also provide your dog with a warm and comfortable bed, which will help to ease their pain and reduce inflammation.

Several assistive devices can help dogs with arthritis move around more easily and reduce their pain. Ramps can make it easier for them to navigate stairs, while harnesses and lifters can help them stand up from lying down. Orthopedic beds and supportive braces or boots can also help to ease joint pain by providing additional support and cushioning.

Regular check-ups with a vet are crucial for dogs with arthritis. They can monitor the progression of the condition and adjust the treatment plan as needed. They can also recommend advanced treatments such as physical therapy, acupuncture, or even surgery, depending on the severity of arthritis and your dog’s overall health.

The Tail End

Welcome to the struggle that is having an adult dog suddenly and inexplicably ‘forgetting’ where the toilet is! But fear not, for there is hope.

Start with a vet visit to rule out any medical causes for this regression. Then, take an honest look at your dog’s world and see if there are any potential sources of stress.

Once you’ve narrowed down the culprits, treat your pooch like he’s learning to pee for the first time. Take regular bathroom trips outside, reward good behavior with lots of praise, and forgive accidents quickly while cleaning up promptly and thoroughly.

If you’re still stuck, don’t sweat it! A behaviorist can help you get things back on track, stop your carpets from becoming a yellow hazard, and send your dog back to peeing like a champ!

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