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Help! My Senior Dog is Peeing in the House

yellow retriever covering his face in shame

Have you found some puddles around the house and feel that it could be your aging canine companion? You may find it surprising but house-trained pups can also start urinating inside the house when they grow old. Many medical and behavioral problems can be responsible, and you must determine the exact cause to eliminate them. Keep reading to know why your senior dog is peeing in the house and learn what you can do about it.

Why Does My Senior Dog Keeps Peeing in the House?

Several medical conditions and emotional issues can trigger this inappropriate behavior. Hence, it’s imperative to figure out the underlying cause and a visit to your vet is needed for this purpose. Let’s discuss some reasons that can be an answer to the question, “Why my senior dog is leaking urine?”

Weak Bladder Muscle

Black and tan dog sitting on  a toilet in a bathroom

The inability of a dog to hold their urine is the biggest reason for inappropriate peeing. Although some neurological and medical problems can also be responsible, this is the most obvious reason. The sphincter muscle of your canine friend becomes weak with age and they lose control over their bladder.

Changes in Hormone Levels

Female dogs observe a drop in estrogen levels in old age. As a result, they can suffer from dog incontinence. It is a condition in which a dog doesn’t realize that he/she is urinating. Thyroid disease is another ailment in senior dogs that can make them pee in the house.

Diabetes

Schnauzer recieving insulin injection

This condition can happen at any age, but it is more common among senior dogs. Increased thirst and urination are the biggest signs of this disease. It must be diagnosed and controlled at an early stage to prevent serious complications. Therefore, you should take your pooch to the vet as soon as these symptoms are observed.

Dementia

Just like humans, the cognitive thinking of dogs also declines when they grow old. Hence, the chances of inappropriate peeing increase because your pooch will become disoriented and can’t remember the training. Some canines will also lose control over body functions and may not be able to hold it. 

Cushing’s Disease

Small, long haired, white dog, looking up while standing on a patio

The adrenal glands of senior dogs start malfunctioning, which affects the concentration of cortisol in the body. This condition is known as Cushing’s disease and can be divided into two categories (pituitary-dependent and adrenal-dependent). A dog affected by either of these will experience increased urination and may start peeing in the house.

Urinary Tract Infection

UTIs are quite common among dogs of all ages and will cause your pup to urinate more often. Senior dogs often find it difficult to move and will eliminate inappropriately to avoid the pain. Similarly, they may pee in the house due to an accident because they couldn’t hold it for long enough. Urinary tract infections can be treated conveniently with antibiotics. However, if they are left untreated, UTIs can develop several complications.

Kidney Disease

Illustration of dog anatomy

If your dog keeps suffering from urinary tract infections in their adulthood, they are quite likely to develop kidney disease in old age. It is because recurrent infections can cause permanent damage to the kidneys of your pooch. This may result in kidney disease that is very dangerous (and potentially fatal) if left untreated.

Bladder Stones and Tumors

The formation of crystals in the urine of your dog can result in stones inside the bladder. These stones can cause constant irritation and will damage the sensitive lining of the organ. This causes a lot of discomfort and may also lead to blood in the urine. In addition to that, these stones can also cause a blockage. Likewise, a tumor in the bladder will also have similar effects on the health of your pup.

Stress

White dog with blue eyes hiding behind a green curtain

Old age brings a lot of changes to a dog’s body. Issues, like loss of vision, weaker bones and muscles, and an impending sense of vulnerability, can be quite stressful for your aging companion. Inappropriate urination can be one of the nervous behaviors to show anxiety.

Territorial Marking

Many owners complain that “my senior dog is marking in the house”. If you are also one of them, you need to ensure that nothing is troubling your pooch. Old dogs become more skittish and will make their territory to avoid any possible danger. These emotionally fragile pups will also appear scared when they are around strange people.

What to Do if My Senior Dog is Peeing in the House?

Beagle looking up at owner over a pee soaked pee pad

The following are some measures that you can take to stop your senior from peeing inappropriately.

Visit a Vet

This should always be your first step to determine that your pet is healthy. The vet will examine the dog thoroughly to eliminate all the causes. The medical history of your pooch, like diabetes and urinary tract infections (in the past), can be helpful for diagnosis. Once the vet has ruled out all the medical reasons, you can try some behavioral techniques to improve the situation.

Try to Re-Train Your Dog

Dogs sitting next to owners outdoors being trained

Although it won’t be effective in every case, it’s always worth a try to house train your dog once more. Repeat the steps and your pooch might quickly pick them up. It’s generally easier to re-train a senior canine because they have some understanding of your signs. 

Increase Bathroom Breaks

Seniors dogs will need to urinate much more than young pups. Hence, you must make it a habit to take your pup outside after eating, drinking, and waking up. This will reduce the chances of accidents and keep your home clean and fresh.

Never Punish Your Dog

Beagle being fussed at for peeing on the floor

Screaming at your senior pup will cause more harm than good. Dogs don’t respond to aggression and this method will backfire. It will increase the frequency of accidents and may also result in stress and depression.  Therefore, it’s highly recommended to treat your pooch with patience and care to manage this problem.

Clean the Area Thoroughly

Make sure to clean the area of the accident with a quality cleaner to remove all signs of urine. You must remember that the sense of smell is much stronger in dogs (than us). Hence, they can sense even the slightest of the dried urine and will pee again at that spot. The higher concentration of ammonia in dog urine can also be harmful to humans and it must be cleaned well.

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