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Help! My Old Dog is Peeing and Pooping in the House

Senior Jack Russell terrier standing next to dark wet spot in white carpet

Aging dogs experience a lot of changes in their bodies. Unfortunately, some of these changes, like inappropriate elimination, can be very frustrating for the owner (and the pup). When a well-behaved canine starts having frequent ‘accidents’, there is definitely something wrong with him/her. Keep reading to know about the possible causes of this behavioral change and its potential solutions.

Why is My Old Dog Peeing in the House?

Several reasons can urge your old dog to start peeing and pooping in the house. Senior Tail Waggers explain that many medical reasons, such as kidney disease and cognitive dysfunction syndrome, could be responsible. The probability of these diseases increases many times as your dog age. Some of the most common causes of inappropriate elimination are discussed below.

Dementia

Old dog with graying face laying outdoors in grass yard

Older dogs suffer from a brain disease, called canine cognitive dysfunction, that affects their memory. One of the first few things that they forget is the housetraining and they start to eliminate inappropriately. Usually, these pups will appear disoriented and anxious. Although there is no treatment for dementia, consult a pet therapist to assist your dog.   

Inability to Control the Bladder or Bowels

Old dogs need to go to the toilet more often than younger pups. They lose the muscle strength to control their urge to pee or poop. This condition is called Incontinence, in which a canine doesn’t have complete control over peeing and/or pooping. In the early stages of this disease, it feels as if the dog cannot hold it.

Arthritis

Black dog with graying face and paws laying down on floor

This is one of the most common medical conditions in old canines. It affects the mobility of your dog and he/she may start peeing and pooping in the house. This is because your pooch’s body is stiff and he/she can’t reach the toilet in time. Even the dog tries to hold it, it’s often too much for him/her.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

Old dogs often suffer from diarrhea and owners are unable to identify the cause. On many occasions, gastrointestinal disorders are caused by the quality of the food. The digestive system of senior dogs weakens with age and its efficiency decreases. Therefore, you must consult your vet to formulate a suitable diet for your old companion.

Urinary Tract Infections

Black dog with graying face laying on tiled patio

This is the most cause of urinary accidents in the house. Although they are generally seen in female dogs, male canines can also suffer from these infections. If your older pup is suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), he/she will seem to pee urgently. However, he/she may only be able to pass a few drops.

Kidney Disease

This disease is quite common among senior dogs. It causes your furry companion to drink more water. As a result, he/she will need to urinate more. Old dogs find it hard to visit the toilet again and again and may start peeing in the house.

Diabetes

overweight pug laying on couch

If your senior dog is peeing in the house and drinking extra water, diabetes could well be the culprit. This condition is quite common among old dogs and is often categorized by increased urination and thirst.

Stress or Anxiety

Dogs of all ages can feel anxious, but older pups are more vulnerable to stress and separation anxiety. Even the smallest of the changes can make a huge impact on their mood. Some usual signs of stress include destructive chewing, howling, and inappropriate peeing and/or pooping.  

Diagnosing the Cause

Woman discussing her golden retriever with vet

It’s crucial to determine the exact cause of inappropriate elimination to solve this problem. Vet Street suggests that the dog owner needs to act as a detective to pinpoint the reason. When your old dog starts peeing and pooping in the house, you need to find out the answers to the following questions.

  • Do these house accidents take place at night while sleeping?
  • Is your dog urinating/defecating at the same spot or several places?
  • How many accidents have happened in the last week?
  • Does your canine companion eliminate when he is alone at home?

Once you have these answers, you should consult your vet immediately to figure out the underlying problem. In most cases, he/she will perform a thorough physical examination to rule out all the medical causes. Likewise, you can also work with a professional dog trainer if there is a behavioral issue.

How to Stop My Old Dog from Peeing and Pooping in the House?

golden retriever peeing on tall grass

If your veterinarian finds out that your pup is exhibiting inappropriate behavior due to a medical reason, he/she will prescribe a suitable treatment. For example, your dog may have to take some antibiotics for countering urinary tract infections. Likewise, the vet may recommend surgical removal of bladder stones or tumors to solve the problem. On the other hand, if the dog is suffering from a behavioral problem, you should work with a professional dog behaviorist to cure your pet.

The Spruce Pets clarifies that dogs suffering from dementia can’t be treated and you will have to take preventative measures. They will allow you to preserve the sanity of the house and improve the dog’s quality of life. The most useful of these preventions are as follows.

Provide Extra Potty Breaks – Try to take your pup to the toilet more often, especially after eating, drinking, and waking up.

Use Enzymatic Cleaners – Dogs tend to eliminate again in areas that were soiled in the past. Therefore, it is essential to clean the area of ‘accident’ with enzymatic cleaners to discourage them.

Try Puppy Pads – Place dog pee pads in several places of your house so that the dog can eliminate, conveniently.

Keep Your Dog Clean – Keep the hair around the dog’s genital area short to ensure proper hygiene. Likewise, regularly bath your pup and clean the genital area properly to avoid odors and infections.  

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