Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not capable of being spiteful. They do not pee in the house to hurt or annoy us. Previously potty trained dogs that have suddenly started urinating in the house are sending out a cry for help; they are having an issue we need to identify and address.
The problem that causes a dog to regress in housetraining typically falls into one of two categories: behavioral or medical. But sometimes there is more than one reason for house soiling; it may be a combination of both medical and behavioral problems.
Clues about the cause for a breakdown in housetraining
Take a look at how much water your dog is drinking and the size of the urine puddle they are leaving on your floor. If your dog is drinking more water and peeing a lot, these could be signs of kidney disease, diabetes, or Cushings disease.
If the urine puddles are small or you notice blood in the urine, then your dog may have a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or a tumor of the urinary system. These dogs may also exhibit straining behavior when they urinate and will urinate more often.
If your dog is urinating near the door they use to go outside and potty, they may be having a mobility issue. Arthritis and other causes of bone and joint pain can make it unbearable for a dog to go up and down the steps to the backyard.
If your dog is leaking urine while they are sleeping, then your dog may have a condition called urethral mechanism sphincter incompetence, also known as spay incontinence. Although this condition is primarily seen in spayed female dogs, it is also rarely seen in neutered male dogs.
Canine cognitive dysfunction can cause a dog to forget his potty training. This is one of those instances where a medical issue causes a behavioral problem.
Behavioral problems that lead to house soiling include moving to a new home, a change in the dog’s daily schedule or routine, and separation anxiety. Medical problems should be investigated and ruled out before concluding that your dog’s house soiling is due to a behavioral issue.
First things first: Get a medical checkup
If your previously potty trained dog is now urinating in the house, schedule your dog for a veterinary checkup. Your veterinarian will need test results – including a complete blood count, chemistry panel, and thyroid test – as well as a urinalysis and blood pressure measurement in order to help solve the mystery. She may also recommend an abdominal ultrasound to examine the bladder and other urinary structures.
Once the underlying problem has been identified, your veterinarian will work with you to develop a plan to get your dog back outside to do his business!