Does your dog have poor potty manners?
Posted May 24, 2018
No matter how well-behaved your pet is, chances are that your
pet has inappropriately urinated at least once in its life.
But before blaming Fido or Fluffy for bad behavior, ask yourself
how often you are taking your pet outside. Inappropriate urination
may just be an “accident,” especially if your pet’s potty breaks
If your pet gets plenty of potty breaks and still
inappropriately urinates, your pet may have a behavioral problem or
a medical condition. All underlying medical conditions should first
be considered before assuming there might be a behavioral
Dr. Carly Patterson, a clinical assistant professor at the Texas
A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences,
said these health conditions include infections in the urinary
tract, weakness in the urethral muscle, urinary tract stones, or
inherited congenital/anatomic abnormalities. Additionally, pets
with neurological disorders may urinate inappropriately.
If you’re worried that Fido or Fluffy’s inappropriate urination
is caused by a health condition, try watching their behavior the
next time they urinate.
“Dogs with underlying health conditions affecting the urinary
tract may strain to urinate, display an increased urination
frequency, or have blood in their urine,” Patterson said. “Dogs, in
particular, may dribble urine continuously or intermittently,
depending on the nature of the disorder.”
If your veterinarian rules out health conditions as the cause of
your pet’s inappropriate urination, then it might be time to
consider potential behavioral problems.
“Incomplete house training may result in inappropriate urination
behaviors,” Patterson said. “For example, some dogs may urinate in
the house due to submission or excitement; it is important to
discuss all observed behaviors with your veterinarian so that you
can develop a plan of action together.”
A plan of action may include a trainer or a visit to a
veterinary behaviorist, Patterson said. The plan will depend on the
specific behavior and background of the pet and owner.
Your pet’s poor potty manners may even be caused by their
natural instinct to mark their territory. This instinct is
especially common in intact male dogs. In this case, spaying or
neutering may help reduce inappropriate urine marking behavior,
However, older dogs who have been marking for a long period of
time may not respond to spaying or neutering.
The bottom line is before assuming that your pet is trying to
make your life harder—or wetter—be sure to rule out any underlying
medical conditions that may be causing your pet’s inappropriate
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
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