my older dog has started peeing in the house -- help!!

arlosmomMarch 25, 2010

My otherwise wonderful dog, Arlo, has started peeing in the house daily while I'm at work. Today made 4 days in a row. He's 14, and I've had him for 11 of those years. He's always been an occasional house pee-er, but in recent years only maybe two or three times a year.

He is not in a crate while I'm away. I crated him for the first 3 or 4 years I had him, and he absolutely HATED every minute of it. He'd break out of the crate or work himself into a frenzy. I came home one day and he had managed to up-end the darn thing. Crating was just miserable for both of us. I don't even want to try crating him again at this point. He was in a no-kill shelter for 6 months before I adopted him and he had (has) some lingering skeletons for his early days. Maybe crating reminds him of his six months in a shelter cage. Anyway, it would be traumatic for him and I don't want to do that to him.

I only work part time, so I'm only away for 4 to 5 hours max at a time. I walk him 3-4 miles in the morning, and then give him another quick walk just before I leave for work to "empty the tanks." I know he can hold his pee for long periods of time because he goes all night without a bathroom break. When I'm not working, he's fine for long stretches without a bathroom break.

I had him at the vet yesterday to have his thyroid levels checked and he peed in the vet's waiting room! I mentioned this new problem to them, so they went ahead and did a full blood work-up and urinanalysis on him along with the thyroid test. Well, the vet's receptionist just called and said his blood work was excellent, and that they couldn't see a medical reason for the peeing.

So now I'm really stumped. My work is seasonal, so I didn't work over the winter and he got really used to having me home. But I've been back working for 4 weeks now and the peeing just started this week. Any thoughts or suggestions?

Here's my boy:

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Could be his back. I know spinal Stenosis can have effects on the bladder. YOu only need to just keep putting down newspapers or towels and cleaning every day. This is the part of pet ownership I hate, you dog can not help himself, probably the signals from the bladder to the brain are not getting there in time for him to react....Hope everything else is okay...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 6:17PM
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Could be other problems, as mazer mentioned, but my guess would be it's due to his age. Mentally, he's probably not as alert as he used to be and is probably having some 'senior moments'.

As my dogs aged it was very common for them to become more nervous and anxious over any changes in their environment. Sometimes is was because of neurological changes, but loss of their sight and hearing also created minor problems. Some of my dogs lost their hearing first, others lost only their sight.

The fact your dog can go all night without peeing isn't surprising. He's relaxed, asleep and nothing is happening that may upset him. During the day he's aware of your absence and may be more nervous of noises and any outside activity around the house than when you're in the house with him.

I think it's something you'll just have to work with. I would buy a high gate/barrier for the doorway(s) and isolate him to one room that he's used to being in. Put some of his urine on some pee pads or towels if you want to train him to use those during the day.

BTW, cute photo.......he looks like a sweetie!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 7:07PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

Poor ole Arlo, looks like he likes to drink from the birdbath too! I have a birdbath like dogs think it's their backyard bowl :(
No help with the peeing but I would have him checked out at the vet, definitely.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 7:27PM
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What a beautiful sweet face on your boy!

If it was Lumbosacral Stenosis, you would have noticed other signs: weakness in the rear end/wobble and reluctance to go up stairs. It is very likely age related if you've ruled out UTI.

Don't compare nightime continence with daytime. Night time sleep is different. Do some research on Proin and then talk to your vet to see if that's an option for your handsome dog. When my Monty was 13 he had this problem and the Proin helped him without any side affects.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 8:19PM
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We have Unavoidable Canine Urination Syndrome at my house, too. Since I was also caring for an incontinent elder, we had those quilted bed pads they use in nursing home and hospitals here. When Casey started on Steroids we learned really quickly that we needed a Major Urine Containment Device. We use the quilted pads from Dad's bed. They can take a heavy soaking from the male dog and not spill over the edge. If your Arlo has chosen a certain area to use for his emergency toilet and you do not find another reason for his incontinence, I would suggest you get some. I line our hallways with them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Click on the Grayson photo

    Bookmark   March 25, 2010 at 11:39PM
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Dogs can get age-related cognitive dysfunction and forget their housetraining. There are several medications available to help treat it. Only other thing I would do is have a urine culture. I just had an older Boxer patient with terrible incontinence and the urine looked great on UA but she cultured out a highly resistant Staph. After a couple of days with the proper antibiotic, the incontinence resolved. Good luck with your old man. He's a handsome fellow!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 6:52AM
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Have you noticed him drinking excessively? My 15 year old dog began doing that and tests didn't reveal any medical reason. My vet said some dogs get an obsession with drinking that's psychological. He would drink so much that when he slept for a while he would wake up, stand, and immediately start peeing. He just couldn't hold it all long enough for me to let him out.

I changed from one large water bowl to two smaller ones that are across the room from each other and he seems content to drink one and leave the other and he is doing much better now. Taking the water away wasn't an option because I have two other dogs and because I wanted him to be able to drink when he actually needed to. Also, sometimes when he goes into one of his "camel drinks" I just walk him away from it.

I don't know whether this is your dog's problem, but it's something you might want to watch for.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 8:41AM
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Oh what a sweet face! If you've had the blood work and the urine work, then I would tend to think he has some senility and doesn't remember potty training.

I don't think crating would help that anyway.

I've dogs that did this also. I have ceramic tile floors in a few rooms and would just confine the old boy to those rooms, when I wasn't home, for easy clean up.

You may want to hire a dog walker (or a reliable friendly neighbor) to stop by midday and let him out.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 9:42AM
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He does have a pretty face! Off topic, but do you know if he is mixed breed? He looks so much like my Abby did, she was lab/rottie- people thought she was a purebred lab, but she had the very distinctive facial expressions of a rottie. I can't get over how much that picture of Arlo reminds me of Abby! Especially with the raised eyebrow...

My old girl had some control problems as she got older. We just went with the flow (no pun intended) and tried to encourage her to stay in the hard floor areas if she was going to have a problem. If we suspected it wasn't going to be a good day, we'd put newspaper down and she understood what that was for- probably because we put it in the area where she would always go if she couldn't hold her bowel or bladder. We could never kennel Abby either, it just wasn't conducive to her personality type; she was never abused or mistreated, but she did not like being in a confined space like a kennel. If we needed to control her location, we had much more luck with gates and fences to confine her to a given location. Fortunately we've lived in a few houses with large expanses of hard floor- she was always OK with being confined to a single room of the house for limited periods of time, providing it was decently sized and she could see out (i.e. no closed doors). If that's an option, I'd go with that, making sure to keep the room comfortable for him with his bed and such- and put down paper while he's confined there in hopes that he gets the idea that it's for peeing on.

Best of luck.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 11:03AM
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Thanks for your responses everyone. It kind of confirms what I've been thinking...he's just getting old and this comes with the territory. Arlo has always been somewhat anxious when I leave him and this seems to have intensified lately. Lately he's also been chewing on the front doorknob when we're away. He's managed to put big dents in it! So I guess it's safe to assume that he isn't sleeping peacefully while I'm away, right? That makes sense.

I'll look into Proin and ask the vet about it. I've never heard of it before. And I'm not sure what tests they ran on his urine. Luckily, he's pretty consistent in where he pees, so laying down newspaper or pads might help me contain it and make cleanup easier. We shut off a few rooms so he has limited access in the house. And if cleaning up puddles is the price I have to pay to have him around, I'll happily clean up puddles for as long as I get to keep him. I love this dog.

Quasifish, I don't know what breeds he has in him. I'm reasonably sure he's part lab, and I've got a few guesses for the other part -- maybe great dane (he's tall and has a big square head), maybe rhodesian ridgeback (similar head shape, maybe signs of a ridge on his back), possibly akita (curly tail, undercoat). He was a shelter dog, so I don't know much. All I know is he's pretty darn awesome.

Thanks all!!

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 1:38PM
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murraysmom Zone 6 OH

What about leaving the television on while you are gone? If he is getting anxious about your being gone, maybe the noise of the tv would give him some peace of mind.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 4:07PM
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We have a male Boxer German Shephard mix, the vet thought. He has a sweet face also. He jumped over our fence to be part of our family. He is very loving. We also have a Collie and Sheltie.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 7:44AM
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I have an Australian shepherd mix breed he is about 7 years old. When he was a puppy he use to pee on my bed so I started to crate him which for the most part was fine however he did break out several times.

I haven't crated him for the past year and he has done great no problems, and I am usually only away for 5 hours for work some days even just a few hours.

He has lymphomas which I don't think is the issue and I have another dog who has mast cell tumors. I am not sure if he is nervous because of my other dog who seems to act normal.

He keeps peeing on the couch and my bed, I have both well covered to make clean up easier and even bought him a thunder shirt. It isn't every day that he pees but I am not sure what to do?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2013 at 3:10PM
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Jo King

Don't rule out the possibility of a bladder/UT infection. I had a similar issue with my old boy and that's what it turned out to be. Your vet should prescribe a general antibiotic if the urine shows infection, but if it's not effective make sure they do a sensitivity test to test what the infection is and what antibiotic is needed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bacteriological Examination of Urine Samples from Dogs with Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 8:52AM
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If anyone else comes to read this thread because of an older dog suddenly peeing in the house and the dog checks out with the vet with no medical problems, I have a new product to suggest. Our vet put our 14 year old Toby on Neutricks Chewable Tablets by Quincy Animal Health. He considers them a treat, so they are easy to give. Toby is less anxious and confused since he has been taking them. He was ringing his bell to go out, then refusing to go and then would run to the bathroom to pee on the bathroom rug or on the quilted mattress pad I usually leave there on the floor for him. Now he is less confused and frustrated and will go out after he rings his bell and we go let him out. They are an over-the-counter supplement, you don't need to see the vet to get them. I buy them from Amazon.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 4:24PM
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