If your dog is repeatedly peeing on your bed, it can be incredibly frustrating and confusing. Some worry that their dogs are doing so intentionally and out of spite, but there can actually be a medical explanation for why your dog is urinating in inappropriate places.
If you notice that your dog is peeing on your bed or anywhere else where it should not be going, rule out any potential medical causes before assuming that it is a behavioral problem.
To help you find a reason for your dog’s unusual behavior, we have outlined some of the most common reasons why dogs begin to urinate in inappropriate locations. Whether your dog is repeatedly peeing on your bedsheets or some other place where it should not, like on carpets, living room furniture, the kitchen floor, or anywhere else inside your home, we can help you identify the cause.
While where the dog is urinating might seem like the most important piece of information, there are other things to consider. The frequency, amount of urine, and whether or not your dog is peeing in other locations of the house, too, will all help you narrow down the cause for the inappropriate urination.
If you are tired of your dog peeing where it should not, you have come to the right place. Rather than allow yourself to get frustrated and angry with your pup, read through the potential causes listed below and learn how you can address the problem!
1. Urinary Tract Infections
In many cases, the first sign that a dog is suffering from a urinary tract infection is when the dog begins urinating in inappropriate and unusual locations.
This unusual urination can happen anywhere inside your home, but many dog owners find that their dog will frequently pee in the owner’s bed, especially if the bed is somewhere that the dog is allowed to sleep.
Urinary tract infections happen because of harmful bacteria, which ascends the urethra and into your dog’s bladder. The dog may contact the bacteria through fecal matter, or it can result from bacteria acquired from the environment, which occurs if the dog swims in dirty and contaminated water.
In addition to unusual urination, other clinical signs of a canine urinary tract infection can include frequent licking of the vulva, penis, or hindquarters. Dogs with urinary tract infections will also urinate much more frequently than normal. They can also posture as if they were about to urinate frequently, without releasing any urine.
In some cases, the dog will strain to urinate, or blood will be present in the urine. Some dogs will also become restless throughout the day, meaning they will pace back and forth.
What Can You Do?
If you suspect that your dog might have a urinary tract infection, take them to see a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. Your veterinarian will likely recommend testing a sample of your dog’s urine, which will allow them to check for the presence of bacteria and blood.
In most cases, the treatment for a urinary tract infection is an antibiotic. These medications are prescription-only, and your veterinarian will help determine which type of medication is the most appropriate option to treat your particular dog’s urinary tract infection.
The good news is, in most cases, urinary tract infection treatment is quick and easy. Most find that once the issue resolves, the inappropriate urination also stops.
2. Bladder Stones
Another common medical cause of inappropriate urination is bladder stones.
Dogs with bladder stones often show similar clinical signs to dogs suffering from a urinary tract infection. Sometimes dogs with bladder stones also have concurrent urinary tract infections at the same time as the stones.
Dogs usually develop bladder stones as a result of their genetics or when they consume diets that are high in certain minerals. Dogs suffering from bladder stones will often posture to urinate frequently but only produce small amounts of urine. When they do produce urine, the urine rarely flows in a solid stream. In many cases, when they do produce urine, they will do so in an inappropriate location, such as their owner’s bed.
Just as they are for humans, bladder stones are almost always painful for the dog, which is why they can cause pacing, excessive whining, and blood in the dog’s urine. Dogs with bladder stones also tend to lick at their genitals.
Detection and Treatment
If your dog is peeing small amounts frequently, as well as doing so in places they should not, there is plenty of evidence to suspect that the dog could be suffering from bladder stones. This behavior could also indicate a urinary tract infection, so it is important to see a vet. for a diagnosis.
Bladder stones are diagnosed with urine tests. Once it is determined that the dog has bladder stones, imaging using x-rays or ultrasound is done. When you take your dog in, the vet will run a urine test and an x-ray or ultrasound to classify the size and type of stones the dog has.
Some types of bladder stones can be dissolved with medicated diets. Others, unfortunately, are much harder to treat and can require surgical removal through a cystotomy. Dogs who have undergone treatment for bladder stones tend to do extremely well once the stones have been dissolved or removed. You will also be happy to learn that treatment usually puts a stop to inappropriate urination, as well.
If you find that your dog is urinating large amounts in your bed, this could be related to an incontinence issue.
Dogs with incontinence usually cannot hold their bladder while they sleep. This will cause involuntary urination whenever they are relaxed, sleeping, or in some cases, while they are walking and sitting down.
If your dog typically sleeps in your bed with you at night and you find you are waking up to wet sheets, your dog could be incontinent. In dogs, incontinence occurs most frequently in older females. As such, it is less common to see the issue in males, but it can happen.
What Can Be Done to Help the Dog?
You cannot cure age-related incontinence, but in some cases, you can reduce the frequency of it with veterinarian-prescribed medication. In these cases, your veterinarian will most likely recommend starting with a urine sample and blood work, which will allow them to make sure there are no bacteria or other abnormalities in the urine. These tests will also confirm that your dog’s kidney function is normal.
Dogs suffering from incontinence will have normal urine and kidney parameters, so these tests are important. If the dog can be helped, the veterinarian will start the dog on medication that will help strengthen and tone the urethral sphincter, which helps the dog hold its bladder and consciously decide when to urinate.
These medications do not always resolve the issue but do help with the amount of urine passed while the dog is sleeping.
Other causes of incontinence can include hormone-responsive incontinence, incontinence caused by trauma, and incontinence due to a neurological disease. These forms can all occur in younger dogs, and they are diagnosed through various veterinarian-performs tests.
Another thing you can do to help reduce the amount of urine leaking overnight is to make sure your dog has been taken for a walk before it goes to sleep for the night. While it might be tempting, dogs with incontinence should not have restricted access to water, as this can lead to further issues.
What About Non-Medical Urination Issues?
The causes of inappropriate urination highlighted above are the most common medical causes that your vet would diagnose. If your dog does not have a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or urinary incontinence, then they may be urinating on your bed due to a behavioral issue.
Behavioral causes of inappropriate urination occur more frequently in stressed and anxious dogs; however, in some cases, they can be psychological as well. Common behavioral explanations for why your dog is urinating in your bed can include the following:
The most common cause of behavioral urination is anxiety. If your dog is suffering from anxiety, you may notice small, medium, or even large amounts of urine in locations where your dog should not be going.
This behavior is common when owners spend long periods away from their dogs. In these cases, the dog will urinate in your bed because the bed smells like you. When a dog is suffering from separation anxiety, they usually seek a place that smells like their owner. As a result of their ongoing stress, they will also urinate in these areas.
Common places where this behavior occurs are the bed, on heavily-used living room furniture, and areas where the owner spends a significant amount of time.
Other forms of anxiety can also stimulate unusual urination. Anxiety triggered by fear is also common, explaining why many owners find urine puddles and stains following a fireworks display or a loud thunderstorm.
If you suspect that your dog is anxious and the anxiety is triggering their inappropriate urination, there are medications and supplements that your veterinarian can discuss with you. These options are all designed to help ease your dog’s stress and anxiety.
2. Territorial Behavior
Another common behavioral cause of inappropriate urination is territorial-related marking.
This behavior is common with intact male dogs, but female dogs are also known to show this trait. Territorial marking is a way to demonstrate and display dominance over a particular location. These dogs urinate in specific locations to mark their scent and make it clear that they perceive the area as their territory.
This behavior typically involves the dog repeatedly urinating in a specific place. In some cases, male dogs will lift their legs to urinate in certain areas of the house without producing more than a few drops of urine.
Neutering your dog may help reduce the frequency of the trait, as the reduction of testosterone can help diminish the dog’s instinct to mark its perceived territory so aggressively.
Neutering, however, is not always guaranteed to resolve the issue. Dogs that exhibit this behavior over long periods form a habit, which becomes an ingrained pattern of behavior.
If you suspect that your dog is marking around the house, or urinating in your bed specifically as a way of marking its perceived territory, speak with your veterinarian about what you can do to resolve the issue.
Another reason why dogs will urinate in their owner’s bed is plain and simple excitement. In many cases, dogs that regularly urinate in inappropriate places are doing so involuntarily because they cannot control their excitement.
These cases usually involve small dribbles of urine often described by owners as “piddling”. This behavior will usually occur in combination with general excitement signals, such as tail wagging and heavy panting.
Piddling is strictly behavioral, and, unfortunately, there is no treatment to stop it from happening. Proper training and decreasing how stimulated your dog gets when it is in your bed can help control the issue.
4. Training Issues
If you have a puppy or dog that has not been potty trained yet, it can be the simple explanation for inappropriate urination.
This issue occurs most commonly in puppies or rescue dogs that were never housebroken. Proper training can teach the dog to urinate outside. Some find that puppy pads are a useful tool that can help reduce the frequency of inappropriate peeing episodes.
Take your puppy outside more frequently so that it has ample opportunity to relieve itself outdoors. When your puppy, or your untrained dog, does urinate outside, make sure you reward them with a treat!
Eventually, the dog will understand the association between being outdoors and urinating. Hopefully, this will resolve some of the issues with urinating inside as well as the peeing on your bed.
The explanations listed above are only a few of the potential reasons why your dog could be urinating in your bed. If you suspect that your dog is experiencing medical or behavioral issues, contact your veterinarian. They will be able to diagnose the issue and offer some potential treatment options to you.
During the training or treatment phase, you might want to keep your bedroom door closed, even if the dog seems desperate to get in. If you do not want to do this, you may want to use some inexpensive bed sheets that you do not care about until the issue is addressed.
It is also important to rule out any medical issues before you assume that your dog has a behavioral issue, as you do not want to miss a potentially dangerous and painful ailment your dog could be suffering from. It is also important not to take your anger out on your dog, as many dogs cannot help the behavior and are doing so involuntarily.
Remember, your dog is not trying to annoy you, so you need to be patient and understanding when addressing any medical or behavioral issue!