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DrBarchas.com is free resource for people with pets. Searchable articles are available on diseases, behavior, symptoms, and medical treatments for dogs and cats. Photo galleries contain submitted pictures of pets and people.

About Eric Barchas, D.V.M.

Eric Barchas, DVM is a veterinarian who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. His emphasis is on small animal medicine, emergency medicine, hospice and wellness. An avid traveler, he has studied lions in Botswana and salmon in southern Chile.

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Urinating Inside the House: Dogs

Urinating in the house, also known as house soiling, is a common problem.   In dogs, house soiling often is triggered by a medical condition.

Common Causes

More common causes are listed first.   Less common causes are listed later.

  • Urinary tract infections are the most common cause of urinary house soiling in dogs.
  • Diseases or syndromes that cause increased consumption of water, such as diabetes mellitus or kidney disease, may trigger house soiling.
  • Middle-aged and older dogs may suffer from a hormone-based form of urinary incontinence that causes urine to leak slowly from the bladder.  This syndrome may be treatable with a medicine known as PPA.
  • Young dogs may engage in a behavior known as submissive urination. In this syndrome, dogs release a small amount of urine when they greet people or other dogs.
  • Some medications, especially steroids related to prednisone and diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix®)may cause dogs to urinate inside the house.
  • Bladder stones or crystals in the urine may be correlated with bladder pain that leads to house soiling.
  • Behavioral problems or incomplete house training may lead to house soiling.
  • Extreme fear or excitement can lead to spontaneous urination.
  • Dogs with arthritis or other mobility problems may have difficulty walking outdoors to urinate. As a consequence, they may urinate inside the house.
  • Elderly dogs, like elderly people, sometimes suffer reduced control of their bladders. This can lead to house soiling.  Elderly dogs also may suffer from cognitive dysfunction (senility) that causes them to urinate in the house.
  • Exposure to toxins such as chocolate may cause dogs to urinate inside the house.
  • Dogs may involuntarily urinate during seizures.
  • Several rare bladder syndromes and neurological conditions lead to house soiling.
  • Severe straining due to constipation may trigger urination inside the house.

Recommended Course of Action

Because canine house soiling often is caused by a medical problem, any dog that urinates inside the house regularly or repeatedly should be assessed by a veterinarian.

Copyright © Eric Barchas, DVM All rights reserved.
The contents of this page are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation with a veterinarian.