Why is My Older Dog Peeing in the House?

03 September, 2020

If you have a dog, you know that accidents happen. You also maybe thought your days of cleaning up puddles were long behind you. But even the best trained dogs can slip up from time to time, and this becomes even more true for senior dogs. As pups age, they often develop dog incontinence — the involuntary inability to hold their urine — so you may notice a few more messes around the house.

Sometimes, you can chalk it up to good old aging. But often, incontinence in dogs is caused by an underlying medical issue. If your senior dog is peeing in the house all of a sudden, we encourage you to see your veterinarian right away. While dog incontinence may be inconvenient and messy, remember that it’s not your dog’s fault. Fortunately, Dog Quality’s premium products for senior dogs were made to help your pup age with dignity. Read on to learn more about why your older dog is peeing inside and what you can do about it.

Why Senior Dogs Pee Inside

If you’ve had your dog from puppyhood, you probably remember the housetraining days well: hourly trips outside for your pup to pee, daily accidents and many sleepless nights. Once your dog has mastered the art of only peeing outside, many of us believe those accidents are a thing of the past. Usually they are, but if your dog has started peeing inside again, it’s time to investigate.

There are a number of reasons a senior dog may start peeing in the house after a lifetime of being housetrained. Some causes of dog incontinence are minor while others are much more serious and require medical intervention. Here, we’ll discuss the most common medical causes of dog incontinence.

  • Hormone Changes: Typically seen in spayed female senior dogs, dropping hormone levels (especially estrogen) can lead to dog incontinence. Hormonal changes can also cause thyroid dysfunction, which can be another contributing factor.

  • Urinary Tract Infection: Dogs of all ages can get UTIs, which cause more frequent urination. If your dog needs to go more frequently and urgently, and only lets out a few dribbles of urine, he may be suffering from a UTI. Since UTIs make dogs (and people) need to pee extremely urgently, they may lead to accidents in the house. UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics so be sure to visit your vet.

  • Kidney Infection: Recurrent UTIs can be irritating at best and dangerous at worst. If your dog keeps getting UTIs, it can lead to a more serious infection in his kidneys. Characterized by excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, lethargy and recurrent UTIs, kidney infections can be life threatening if left untreated.

  • Diabetes, Kidney Disease & Cushing’s Disease: All of these conditions will cause your dog to drink more water and need to urinate more often. If your senior dog is suddenly peeing inside, visit your vet to rule these diseases out.

  • Neurological Conditions: Your dog’s central nervous system is very similar to yours, which means that neurological conditions can affect dogs just as much as humans. This may include seizures, autoimmune diseases that affect the brain or spinal cord, slipped discs, degenerative diseases, stroke, tumors and more. Neurological conditions may cause changes in your dog’s behaviour, including peeing in the house.

  • Declining Cognitive Function: Just like humans, dogs’ cognitive functioning declines as they age. Similar to Alzheimer’s or dementia, declining cognitive ability in dogs can cause behavioural changes. Your dog may get confused or forget that he should pee outside. If you notice changes in your dog’s cognitive functions, talk to your vet about your options.

  • Emotional Causes of Dog Incontinence

    Sometimes when a senior dog starts peeing inside, it has nothing to do with aging at all. Emotional factors, such as stress from moving or a new baby in the house, can contribute to behavioural changes in dogs of all ages. This may include:

  • Stress or Anxiety: Dogs can experience stress and anxiety just like humans do. If your dog has started peeing inside out of nowhere, consider what kind of stress they might be under. Have you moved recently? Did a family member pass away? Anxiety and stress can cause dog incontinence, as well as other behavioural changes.

  • Territorial Issues: Have you brought a new dog into the family? Perhaps a new family member just moved in? Even senior dogs who have never urinated inside before can become territorial with this type of change.

  • Change in Routine: Dogs thrive in routines and any disruption can lead to changes in behaviour. This may include urinating in the house.

  • How to Stop Your Dog from Peeing in the House

    The most important thing to do if your dog is suddenly peeing inside is make an appointment with your vet. If your senior pup is suffering from a medical condition, she will likely need treatment of some kind. If your dog is simply experiencing a normal sign of aging, your veterinarian can advise on how to stop her from peeing in the house. In the meantime, using Dog Quality’s washable pads, belly bands and dog diapers can protect your furniture and keep messes contained.

    • Washable Wonders™ Dog Nappies: Thoughtfully designed for both male and female dogs, our doggie diapers effectively manage dog incontinence. Made to fit dogs of all sizes, they’ll give pet parents peace of mind and senior dogs comfort and dignity.
    • Washable Wonders™ Dog Belly Bands: Designed for male dogs, our dog belly bands wrap around the waist to provide maximum protection from unwanted accidents — without compromising comfort.

    At Dog Quality, our number one goal is to help your dog age with dignity. Your senior pup doesn’t want to pee on the floor any more than you want her to, so treat her with compassion and support during this time. After all, our days with our senior dogs are precious. The least we can do as pet parents is make them as comfortable as possible during their golden years.

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