Why Does A Dog Start To Pee In Its Owner’s Bed?

Why Does A Dog Start To Pee In Its Owner’s Bed

If your housebroken pup suddenly starts to pee in your bed, you are sure to get very annoyed with it. But at the same time you’ll be dawned with a curiosity to finding out the reasons behind such behavior. You surely don’t want your canine to attach itself permanently to this irritating habit. No owner wants his/her deep sleep being interrupted by a soaked bed and sheet soiled by their pooch’s urine.

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The only route to cure is to understand the reasons behind this problem behaviour.

1) The dog wants to hide its scent: Young and old canines in the wild world seek protection from predators by hiding their scent. They opt to roll in decomposed bodies of dead animals and smelly stuff like poop. A domesticated pooch on the other hand may try to mask the scent of its urine by peeing in its owner’s bed. It is an attempt to hide the scent of its pee in its human’s/guardian’s scent. The bed smells of its human parent and a dog relieves itself there, to shield itself from any threat/foe.

2) Anxiety and Fear: If your dog is afraid of something he/she might want to run to your bed and lay there. In such a scenario the pooch looks at the bed as something that offers solace to it. Sometimes a very nervous dog might end up peeing in the bed. Fear could be a result of you scolding the pooch for some reason. The vulnerable fellow might head straight for your bed after being reprimanded. It is not trying to get back at you by peeing in your bed but only attempting to feel safe and comfortable. Some canines feel anxious when left alone at home. Instances where dogs were phobic about thunderstorms and peed on their owner’s bed on hearing the sound of loud thunder have also been reported.

3) Your dog could be a submissive eliminator: If your pet is the submissive type, it could randomly and unexpectedly pee on certain occasions simply to show respect/submissiveness. If something elicits excitement or fear in the furry chap, it might pee when confronted with such events. Submissive dogs may even pee when their owners enter the room.

4) Marking its territory: The pooch peed in your bed to mark it and thereby defend it from trespassers. An aggressive dog is often seen marking the boundary of the house it resides in. Dogs that aren’t that confident opt for their owner’s bed when it comes to marking their territory and defending loved ones. It may even mark your bedroom door in an attempt to protect you. The dog feels that the smell of its urine will scare away anyone who tries to intrude into its space. Such dogs don’t want to fight the encroacher but only hope their urine will scare the invader.

5) Medical conditions: A urinary tract infection, diabetes or a kidney disease could cause your canine companion to suddenly pee on your bed. If you own a senior dog then it could be suffering from incontinence making it difficult to hold its piss. It’s important to make an appointment with your pet’s vet to identify the health issue and follow a proper course of treatment.

What can an owner do to solve this issue?

A natural impulse would be to stop the pup from accessing your bed. You can keep your bedroom door shut at all times or use a baby gate to prevent the pet from entering your crib. Offer the canine with his/her own personal bed and place it in its favorite corner of the house.

Also make sure your furry baby is properly toilet trained. Sometimes it takes time for a dog to figure out as to where he’s supposed to go for relieving itself and which spots are off-limits.

If your dog is peeing out of anxiety issues, you must spend enough time with it. Follow a fixed schedule for feeding and exercising the pet. Make time to walk and play with it.

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In case your pet dog is marking its territory in a bid to offer you protection, don the role of the alpha in this pack. Let the dog know that you are in-charge of things around and capable to defend yourself.

Clean the soiled sheets with an enzyme based stain and odor remover. It’s important to clean the sheets in a way that the dog cannot smell its urine from earlier accidents. A dog is more likely to pee on the same spot if it is able to get a whiff of its urine smell.

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Your dog doesn’t need a scolding rather your support to come out of this behaviour. Focus on improving your relationship with your pet by observing it closely for things it likes or dislikes and events that frighten or comfort it. This will help you solve the problem at hand so that you and your beloved pooch can continue to share a wonderful bond and also the same bed!

Why Is Your Dog Peeing on The Bed? Taking a Look at Hormone-Responsive Urinary Incontinence

I recently received this question by way of Facebook about a dog peeing on the bed: My dog is potty trained and very good about going outside or tapping me to let me know she needs to go out. However, there’s been a recent bout of her wetting our bed. She often sleeps in bed with us and wets it when we aren’t in the bedroom. — Jennifer. 

Two key words — “she” and “bed” make me very suspicious that Jennifer’s dog is experiencing a syndrome called hormone-responsive urinary incontinence. The syndrome is common in middle-aged, spayed female dogs, but it also can develop in younger or older female dogs; it rarely has been reported in males.

What Is Hormone-Responsive Urinary Incontinence and Why Does It Cause a Dog Peeing on the Bed?

A dog looking up surprised from a red bed.

Is your dog peeing on the bed — whether it’s her bed or your own? Photography ©ZoonarRF | Thinkstock.

Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence typically manifests as urine dribbling. The dog usually is not aware that she is soiling the house, and the issue is not a behavioral problem. Dogs with the syndrome do not purposefully urinate in the house, and dogs with the syndrome have not lost or forgotten their house training.

Rather, they are not able to hold their urine, and it leaks out involuntarily. Urinary leakage is most likely to occur when the dog is resting or sleeping and not actively thinking about trying to hold urine in. Therefore, bedding is the most commonly soiled household material.

Dogs who are mildly affected with the syndrome typically wet only bedding, and they don’t suffer from incontinence every day. More severely affected dogs may dribble urine continuously wherever they go.

How Common Is Hormone-Responsive Urinary Incontinence?

I mentioned above that hormone-responsive urinary incontinence is common. In fact, extremely common might be a better way to put it. Some resources indicate that up to 20 percent of spayed female dogs experience (“suffer” is not an appropriate term, because most dogs with the condition aren’t aware that they have it) the syndrome.

The mechanism of the syndrome is not completely understood, but it appears to be related to the urethral sphincter, a circular muscle that, when contracted, prevents flow of urine out of the bladder. It appears that estrogen helps to potentiate the activity of the sphincter in females. Spay surgery involves removal of the ovaries, which are the body’s main source of estrogen. The decreased estrogen levels then predispose the urethral sphincter to be more relaxed, which allows urine to dribble out of the bladder. This will be especially common when the dog is relaxed and not thinking about her sphincter. Older individuals tend to have weaker sphincters (which is something we all can look forward to in the future), so the syndrome becomes more common with increasing age.

How Is Hormone-Responsive Urinary Incontinence Treated?

A senior dog sleeping on a dog bed.

Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence is common in middle-aged to older female dogs, and can cause issues like a dog peeing on the bed.  Photography by Marilyn D. Lambertz/Shutterstock.

Since the condition is linked to low estrogen levels, one might think that the treatment would involve estrogen supplementation. In fact, synthetic estrogen (in particular, a compound called diethylstilbestrol, or DES) historically has been used to treat the condition.

However, you may recall that there was quite a fad for prescribing estrogen in humans. Estrogen pills routinely were prescribed for women going through menopause, until a large study found that they did more harm than good.

It turns out that hormone replacement is a very tricky undertaking. Natural hormone levels fluctuate throughout the day, and they are balanced by a number of feedback mechanisms. Simply pumping estrogen into a person’s body is not without risk.

Therefore, although DES can be used (and, in certain circumstances — especially refractory cases — still is used) to treat hormone-responsive urinary incontinence, it generally is not a first-choice treatment. In particular, DES has been linked to blood cell problems that, if not detected, can be life-threatening.

Hormone-Responsive Urinary Incontinence and PPA

The first-choice medication for treatment of hormone-responsive urinary incontinence is a medication called phenylpropanolamine, or PPA (I have seen many clients snicker when they learn that the treatment for the condition sounds like the word “pee pee”).

PPA is not a synthetic estrogen. It is more closely related to adrenaline, which is in a category of substances called catecholamines. PPA once was widely used in humans as a weight loss medication — it was the active ingredient in Dextrim. In humans, the product has been linked to a possibly increased risk of stroke. No such link has been found in dogs.

PPA is still available for dogs, although the US Drug Enforcement Agency, in its rabid (and utterly ineffective) attempts to eliminate methamphetamine from the world, sometimes threatens to reduce its availability (PPA can be used in the making of methamphetamine). For now, however, the product remains available for veterinary use.

Although the above paragraphs may make PPA sound scary and dangerous, most dogs do not experience any side effects from the medication, and there are no common long-term health risks associated with PPA use in dogs. Most dogs who take it simply stop dribbling urine or wetting the bed and otherwise go on with their lives.

Although PPA usually is safe, as with any chronic medication I recommend using the minimum effective dose. Some dogs with hormone-responsive urinary incontinence do not require PPA every day. Some dogs experience incontinence in an intermittent fashion, and require the medication only a few times per year. Other dogs grow out of (or into) their incontinence. The medication should be used only as needed.

The Bottom Line on How to Help a Dog Peeing on the Bed

Jennifer, your dog likely will stop wetting the bed if you treat her with PPA. But before you do, I recommend that she undergo blood and urine testing. Sometimes other medical conditions, such as bladder infections, diabetes, kidney disease, and certain glandular disorders, may cause dogs to wet the bed. If she tests negative for these conditions, then she likely has hormone-responsive urinary incontinence.

Tell us: Is your dog peeing on the bed? Let us know if you have any tips or advice on how to get to her stop.

Thumbnail: Photography by manugo/Thinkstock.

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