House Training Adult Dogs
Some adolescent or adult dogs (over six months of age) urinate
or defecate inside the house. House soiling can occur in any location of a
home, but sometimes pet parents will notice that their dog soils more in
certain locations. The location can indicate the cause. For instance, soiling
might occur only in infrequently used rooms or on a specific kind of surface,
or only on furniture and areas that smell strongly of a person or other animal,
such as beds and sofas. Soiling might also occur only under certain conditions
and, like location, these conditions can help indicate the problem. Some dogs
might urinate only during greetings, petting, play or reprimands, and some dogs
house soil only when they’re alone and their pet parents can’t observe them, or
only when they haven’t had frequent enough opportunities to relieve themselves
outside. A dog might house soil if she’s previously learned to eliminate on
papers or in a litter box and her pet parent removes the papers or box.
Note: If your dog soils indoors or at inappropriate
times, it’s important to visit her veterinarian to rule out medical causes
before doing anything else.
Rule Out Medical Problems First
If your dog soils indoors or at inappropriate times, it’s
important to visit her veterinarian to rule out medical causes before doing
anything else. Some common medical reasons for inappropriate urination and
If your dog was house trained but now defecates loose stools or
diarrhea in your house, she may have gastrointestinal upset.
Change in Diet
If you’ve recently changed the amount or type of food you give
your dog, she may develop a house-soiling problem. Often, after a diet change,
a dog will defecate loose stools or diarrhea. She might also need to eliminate
more frequently or on a different schedule than before the change.
Incontinence Caused by Medical Problems
Some dogs’ house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical
condition in which a dog “leaks” or voids her bladder. Dogs with incontinence
problems often seem unaware that they’ve soiled. Sometimes they void urine
while asleep. A number of medical issues-including a urinary tract infection
(UTI), a weak sphincter, hormone-related problems after spay surgery, bladder
stones, diabetes, kidney disease, Cushing’s disease, neurological problems and
abnormalities of the genitalia-can cause urinary incontinence. Before
attempting to resolve your dog’s house-soiling problems through training,
please see your dog’s veterinarian to rule out medical issues.
There are a number of medications that can cause frequent
urination and house soiling. If your dog takes any medications, please contact
his veterinarian to find out whether or not they might contribute to her
Age-Related Incontinence/Cognitive Dysfunction
Some older dogs (usually at least nine years of age) who were
once reliably housetrained start house soiling as they age because of arthritic
conditions, weakness, loss of physical control, impaired cerebral function or
loss of voluntary bladder control. These dogs might leak small amounts of urine
or completely void the contents of their bladders.