One annoying problem is when our dogs are peeing inside the house, and there could be many reasons for this. The first point I want to make is that it’s very important to deal with this as soon as possible. When this starts to happen, if it goes on for a long time, it’s hard to reverse once it’s well ingrained, you want to jump on it right away. There are two main categories as to what can be going on.
There could be a behavioral reason or a medical reason. You have to start with the medical reasons first, so what I’d recommend is that you go to your vet and you have what’s called a urinalysis performed and a urine culture. What that does is it looks for an infection in the bladder among other things that may cause the dog an irritation in its bladder and make it start peeing in the home.
The other thing is it’s good to run general blood work because there’s a lot of conditions that dogs can have that make them drink a lot more and pee a lot more. If they have to pee a lot more, they may start doing it inside.
One other condition that they can get that’s very specific that you can see in your pet is they can start to have what’s called sphincter laxity which is a level of incontinence where the sphincter that keeps the urine inside the bladder, it can become loose. The way we see this in dogs is wherever they usually sleep their bedding, they’ll wake up wake up and walk away from it, and you’ll see a wet area where you’re in has leaked out.
You treat that certainly differently and this is common particularly in female dogs because that’s sphincter is sensitized by estrogen. So after they’ve been spayed, they produce less estrogen, and this is something we do see happen commonly after spaying, sometimes weeks, months, or years afterward.
Other symptoms you might see is something called Pollakiuria which is where they will pee very small volumes all the time instead of one large pee. The reason why this happens is if the bladder is irritated you have to remember, bladders kind of like a balloon and then the urethra is just a little tube so to urinate you have to squeeze that balloon to make the urine go through this urethra, and you need to relax it. So if the bladder is painful and you go to squeeze it, they’re going to spasm because it hurts and then the urine doesn’t come out that well and so what happens is they dribble just a little bit of urine at a time, and then they stop.
You ever see that type of symptom going on in your dog it means the bladder is painful and that they may have a urinary tract infection or some other disease related to the bladder and you’re going to want to see your veterinarian. As far as getting the medical issues out of the way once you’ve done that you know now it’s behavioral and what’s really difficult is finding the source or reason of that behavior.
A lot of dogs will urinate in various areas of the home when they’re stressed so when there are renovations or people are coming and going. Probably one of the most common things is when the dog loses that close friend in the home like that daughter that goes off to University, the dog could start peeing on the bed of that daughter. That’s a common symptom that I see from time to time, and that very specifically can be behavioral.
So you’re going to want to do a couple of things about this, again you want to rule out the medical reasons, no matter how much you think it’s a behavioral issue want to rule those out. You want to address it by retraining them mainly. When they go outside, and they eliminate outside, you want to have a special treat by the back door, maybe in a ziploc bag, little treats that they only get when they urinate outside.
Once they urinate you pop one of those treats in and you reward them for urinating outside. You want to get them out as much as possible, so you increase your odds of them urinating outside rather than inside, this is called counter conditioning. You’re changing the emotion of the dog so that it’s happier when it urinates outside by giving it that treat.
The one thing I’d refrain from is punishment; we try not to do this anymore in our training. We do a lot of positive reinforcement, but punishment would be obviously yelling at the dog, throwing something near it that would scare it when it urinates in the home. These things may terrorize your dog more and cause more stress we want to avoid those things.
The last thing is, are you want to look for the reason that might be the stressor causing your dog to do this. So if renovations or people are coming and going, if there’s something that you think is bothering them, you want to try to eliminate it. As best you can to increase your odds that this behavior is going to get better and I recommend in some cases to find a trainer or behaviorist that could come by your home to figure out why this might be happening. It’s tough to find those reasons, and an outsider who specializes in that could help you a lot.
Sources and References:
House Soiling (Marking) by Dogs – Pet MD
Liz Palika – Is Your Adult Dog Suddenly Having Accidents in the House? – Vet Street