Accidents happen, and as a pet owner, you’ve probably dealt with your fair share of puppy puddles and soggy carpets.
But once you’ve potty trained your pooch, you don’t expect to still have to deal with pee in your house. Inappropriate peeing behavior can wreck your sense of humor and your floors. So, what gives? Why do dogs pee in the house? And what can you do to get them to stop?
Why do dogs pee in the house?
Dogs pee in the house for a number of reasons, usually it’s a response to another issue. While it’s easy to feel as if your pooch is simply being spiteful, chances are it’s nothing personal and completely out of your dog’s control.
Any time you notice a drastic change in your dog’s behavior, it’s simply your dog’s way of communicating with you that something is up. Maybe they don’t feel well or are frightened by something. It’s your cue to pay attention and help figure out what’s going on.
When it comes to your dog suddenly peeing in the house, their’re trying to tell you something. Sometimes the root cause is something as simple as not getting outside enough times throughout the day and being unable to hold it in any longer. Sometimes it’s something a little more complex. Let’s look at some common reasons:
If your previously house-trained dog is suddenly peeing in the house, you will first want to rule out any medical issues. A range of conditions can be responsible for causing your dog to involuntarily lose control of the muscles in their bladder.
- A bladder infection or urinary tract infection
- Bladder stones
- Intestinal parasites
- Kidney or liver problems
- Old age and age-related conditions
- Cognitive issues like dementia
Your first port of call should be a visit to your veterinarian to rule out anything serious. If your dog does have a condition that’s causing them to urinate indoors, the peeing should stop once the condition has been appropriately treated.
If your dog is suffering from age-related conditions and isn’t able to hold it for long, you may need to consider more frequent trips outside or set up an area with training pads for emergencies.
Stress or anxiety
If your vet finds no medical problem that’s causing your dog to pee indoors, it may be that your pooch is suffering from some type of anxiety. Examine your dog’s life – has there been a sudden or dramatic change? Have you recently moved house or welcomed a new family member – human or animal? Has your daily routine changed significantly, for example, different/longer working hours that may be causing separation anxiety? Are you home more or less than normal?
These kinds of shifts can cause your dog to experience anxiety, leading them to urinate inappropriately. Other sources of stress for your dog include loud unfamiliar noises – a new appliance, perhaps, or thunderstorms. It could also be that there’s something outdoors that your dog is frightened of and is preventing them from going outside.
Excitement or submission
Other behavioral causes of your dog peeing indoors could be submissive or excitement urination. Sometimes a dog will be unable to control their bladder when they’re extremely excited or when they feel vulnerable or intimidated.
Dogs that uncontrollably pee out of excitement to see you, or dogs that cower in fear and lose control of their bladder are examples of this. Puppies commonly get overexcited and lose bladder control, but they most often grow out of this. That said, it isn’t uncommon for some dogs to carry this behavior into adulthood.
Read more about this issue here: Submissive and Excitement Urination in Dogs
Urine is an important means for marking territory. This kind of urination usually occurs against upright objects and is usually only a very small amount.
Territorial marking is hormonally influenced in response to a house move, new furniture, or if other dogs have entered the territory. It can also be a response to increased stress and anxiety.
Marking is typical of unneutered male dogs, but some neutered males and spayed females can mark as well.
Poor house training
House training is a delicate process that requires patience and persistence. Sometimes, owners move too quickly through the process and dogs can then experience a regression later on.
If your dog is still a puppy and is urinating inappropriately, your pup may not be completely potty trained yet. Keep rewarding your dog for appropriate toilet behavior until your confidence in their continence is renewed.
If your dog has been completely house trained and suddenly begins urinating inappropriately, establish first that it isn’t a medical condition, then proceed to a sort of potty-training refresher course. These follow-up courses of potty training can be necessary after your dog experiences a dramatic change, for example, an illness, or a change in schedule.
The dog peed on my bed – why?
Like other types of inappropriate urination, there are many reasons why your dog has taken to peeing on your bed. While a puddle on the floor is annoying, a puddle on your bed takes things to the next level of inconvenience.
First things first – get your pooch to the vet to rule out any medical causes. Your vet will want to know things like whether your dog is asleep or awake when they pee on your bed. If your dog is peeing on the bed when they’re asleep, it could be related to a hormone problem or a urinary tract infection. It could also be due to bladder stones, diabetes, or simply old age.
If your dog is peeing on the bed when they’re awake, it may be medical, but it could also be emotional or behavioral. Things like stress and anxiety can cause your dog to temporarily lose control of their bladder. Observe closely the context of what is happening immediately before your dog pees on the bed – is there a noise that is perhaps frightening? Is it maybe separation anxiety every time you leave the house?
Of course, peeing on the bed can also be your dog marking their territory in relation to a sudden change or a perceived threat. You can tell the difference between marking and peeing because marking involves smaller amounts of urine.
Why does my puppy pee on my bed?
If your puppy is peeing on your bed, in their bed, or anywhere indoors, it’s safe to assume that they’re not yet fully potty trained. It’s important to remember that potty training is a process, and it can take quite a while to complete.
Sometimes, a pup will make significant progress with their potty training and then suddenly regress. This can happen after an illness or a big event in the pup’s life – moving house, a new pet or family member, even something like a change of season can impact your pup’s toilet habits.
If your puppy is peeing in the house, don’t lose hope. Just keep at it and continue to positively reinforce the desired behavior.
How to stop dogs from peeing in the house?
How you tackle the problem of your dog peeing everywhere will depend largely on the cause of the problem, but one thing is crucial to remember – no amount of scolding and disciplining will help your dog.
If anything, raising your voice or physically disciplining your dog will end up damaging your relationship with your dog, increasing distrust, and traumatizing your poor pup.
Any sudden change in your pet’s behavior should be looked at by your vet. Your dog can’t tell you when they don’t feel well so they will usually try to alert you by behaving differently.
If your dog’s inappropriate urination is related to a health concern, treating the medical issue will usually solve the problem and your pooch will go back to the well house-trained companion they were before.
If your dog is intact, your vet may recommend spaying or neutering as this usually reducing marking behavior.
If your vet finds your dog in good health, you must then consider other factors that may be contributing to the problem.
Has there been a significant change in your dog’s life? Assess whether your pooch is being triggered by some kind of stressor. It could be separation anxiety, it could be a loud noise outside.
Potty-training refresher course
Go back to basics with your pooch if they show regression in their toilet habits. Focus on positively reinforcing appropriate toilet behavior, make sure to create and stick to a strict schedule for going outside, and set your pooch up for success.
While it’s understandable that you’re frustrated by this step backward, remember not to take it out on your canine companion. They are not doing this to spite you or to punish you.
Resist the temptation to shout at or scold your dog in these moments. Very little will be achieved by losing your temper and creating fear and shame in your dog.
Read through our guide for potty training puppies – the techniques we cover aren’t only good for puppies but for refresher training too.
Keeping a close eye
Dogs are simple creatures and will show signs that they are getting ready to a number (one or two) on your carpet, bed, sofa, etc. Keep an eye out for these signals and try to intervene in time.
A dog that’s looking for a place to potty will circle and sniff and whine. They will almost always return to the scene of previous toilet mishaps – dogs tend to urinate in the same place.
Of course, more obvious behaviors like scratching or pawing at the door and seeming restless are sure signs that something is about to happen.
Don’t ignore these messages from your dog, and if you are able to intervene in time and get them outside where they do their business, don’t forget to praise and reward them for this excellent behavior.
We mentioned that dogs tend to always pee in the same place and will often return to the scene of past ‘crimes’. This is almost entirely scent-based which makes it critical that you clean up any indoor accident thoroughly to ensure that no scent-markers remain to tempt your pup to pee again.
Clean up accidents as soon as possible – lingering smells will only signal to your pooch that this is an acceptable place to pee. When cleaning, makes sure to be as thorough as possible.
Enzyme cleaners are a good option for cleaning up a wee – these cleaners tackle and eliminate the smells that our noses don’t necessarily pick up, but your dog’s sensitive snout will.
Calling in the pros
Dogs are sensitive creatures with an emotional world that we can’t always access. An animal behaviorist can help you to decode possible reasons for your canine’s sudden regression of toilet behavior.
A behaviorist will offer you insights into why your dog may be suddenly peeing indoors and will prescribe behavior modification techniques for you to practice with your pup. If you commit to implementing these techniques, you’ll begin to see results in no time.
It can be extremely disheartening when your potty-trained adult dog suddenly reverts to peeing indoors for no apparent reason. While we understand the frustration of having to return to a way of life that includes mopping up wee, there’s usually a reason for your dog’s regression.
Don’t lose heart! It’s easier than you think to regain a harmonious home that’s pee-free. Start with a visit to the vet and an honest assessment of your dog’s world. Once you’ve ruled out a medical reason, look for potential stress and anxiety in your dog’s life.
Practice the same techniques you used when you originally potty trained your pooch. Set your dog up for success with regular trips outside and give plenty of praise and treats for good behavior. Remember to stay calm in the face of an accident, and make sure to clean up any messes quickly and thoroughly.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to a behaviorist if you find you’re struggling or need some help to get your pooch peeing where it should and not on your bed or carpets.