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Submissive Urination in Dogs

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Rule Out Possible Medical Causes First continued...

Spay/Urinary Incontinence (Medical)

Some dogs’ house soiling is caused by incontinence, a medical condition in which a dog “leaks” or completely voids the bladder. Dogs with incontinence problems usually seem unaware that they’ve soiled. Sometimes they void urine while asleep.

Urinary Tract Infection (Medical)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a dog to void small amounts of urine frequently. In addition, a dog who has a UTI might engage in excessive licking of his genitalia.

Miscellaneous Medical Causes

Other medical reasons for house soiling are abnormalities of the genitalia that cause incontinence, diseases that cause frequent urination, and medications that cause frequent urination. These and all other medical causes should be ruled out before evaluating or treating a dog for submissive urination problems.

Other Behavior Problems to Rule Out

Untrained Young Puppy

If a puppy is less than 12 weeks of age, he might not be house trained. The lack of house training might be because he simply hasn’t learned where to eliminate and where not to eliminate yet. Alternatively, the problem might be entirely physical. Many puppies under the age of 12 weeks haven’t developed bladder and bowel control, and they can’t “hold it” for more than a very brief time. For more information about house training your young puppy, please see our article, House Training Your Puppy.

Incomplete House Training

Some dogs have been incompletely house trained. An incompletely house trained dog might occasionally soil in house, soil if he’s not given frequent opportunities to eliminate outside, soil only when left alone in the home for long periods of time, soil first thing in the morning or during the night, or soil if there’s a change in his family’s daily routine that alters his access to the outdoors. Some incompletely house trained dogs soil anywhere in the home, while others soil only in infrequently used rooms. Many sneak out of their pet parents’ sight to soil in other rooms. Sometimes, an incompletely house trained dog simply doesn’t know how to indicate to his pet parents that he needs to go outside to eliminate. To learn how to train your dog to tell you when he needs to go out, please see our article, Teaching Your Dog to Ask to Go Out. For more information about how to resolve incomplete house training, please see our article, House Training Your Adult Dog.

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