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Why Dogs Urinate in the House

| Updated September 26, 2017

Dogs urinate in the house for a variety of reasons, including a lack of house training, incontinence issues, stress and limited access to the outdoors. If your pup is urinating in your home on a regular basis, you'll need to train him to go only outdoors and reward him when he does. Bring your dog to the vet for an exam if his inappropriate urination issues have started recently because a medical problem could be to blame.

Medical Problems and Inappropriate Elimination

A variety of medical conditions can cause your dog to urinate indoors. This is why it's important to have your pup examined by a vet.

  • A urinary tract infection, bladder stones, kidney disease or liver disease all can cause your dog pain when he urinates and result in incontinence issues, leading him to urinate indoors.
  • Inappropriate urination can be caused by several medical conditions including Cushing's disease, diabetes and Addison's disease.
  • Elderly dogs may experience issues with incontinence due to dementia, arthritis and a loss of bladder control. 
  • Some medications may cause issues with incontinence, so consult with your vet about any medicines your pooch is taking.

Incomplete or Improper Housetraining

Some dogs urinate indoors because they haven't been taught properly to eliminate outdoors. They also may have been taught to eliminate on paper or puppy pads indoors. Dogs who are taught to eliminate on puppy pads or paper may develop a surface preference for these items and not on grass outdoors.

Some dogs occasionally will urinate indoors because they don't have enough opportunities to go outside during the day. The average pooch needs at least four bathroom breaks each day, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Urine Marking Indoors

A dog may urinate in small amounts indoors to mark his territory or to advertise for a mate. This behavior is known as urine marking. Spaying or neutering your pooch may reduce this behavior, recommends the ASPCA.

Sometimes anxious dogs may urine mark inside the house to cope with stress. A variety of causes, including the addition of a new pet or person to the household, a move to a new home or conflict between family members can stress out your pooch.

Your dog may urine mark within the home out of excitement, such as when you arrive home from work. Shy or fearful dogs may urine mark when they feel intimidated by you or another pet. This behavior, also known as submissive urination, may occur when you scold your dog.

Solutions to Inappropriate Urination Indoors

If your vet has ruled out a medical issue as the cause of your pup's inappropriate urination issues, you'll need to train him to eliminate outdoors.

  • Bring your pooch outside every few hours so he can urinate. Hire a dog walker if necessary to allow him to have a sufficient number of bathroom breaks during the day. 
  • Reward your dog with treats and praise when he successfully eliminates outdoors.
  • Don't scold your dog for his inappropriate urination, which will stress him out. 
  • Clean accidents quickly with an enzymatic cleaner to completely eliminate the odor of urine. The scent of urine can draw your pooch back to the spot to eliminate again if the odor remains. 
  • Use a synthetic dog pheromone spray around your home to help make an anxious dog feel calm and reduce his stress level.