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Causes of Frequent Urination and Urinary Accidents in Dogs

Dogs that urinate in the house may have a medical problem.
Why is my dog urinating so often?
Why is my dog urinating everywhere?
Why is my dog's urine so yellow, or so stinky, or so clear?

If you are asking these questions, you may be frustrated with your dog. After all, we make agreements with our domesticated pets when we bring them into our homes. We will provide their medical care, food, and water. They won't chew up our stuff or urinate and defecate in our home. So when it seems like your dog is ignoring this basic agreement by urinating in the house, it's easy to get angry and assume she is purposely trying to upset you. The truth is, if this is new behavior, there may very well be a medical cause for it and the most common of these are listed below.

Urinary Tract Infections in Dogs

A common reason for a dog to suddenly begin urinating small amounts more often and having urinary accidents in the house is urinary tract infection, or UTI. The urinary tract consists of the urethra, the bladder, the ureters, and the kidneys. Most UTIs in dogs are bladder infections (lower UTIs). UTIs are bacterial infections and require treatment with antibiotics. UTIs have the following characteristics:

  • Cause painful urination
  • Often result in an increased urinary frequency
  • Commonly cause dogs to have urinary accidents in the house
  • Blood may be seen in the urine
  • Diagnosed through a urinalysis (analyzing a sample of urine)

Urinary Stones in Dogs

Urinary stones are hard clumps of minerals that form somewhere in the urinary tract. While they may form in the urethra, the ureters, the bladder, or the kidneys, the most common urinary stones are bladder stones. Bladder stones have the following signs and characteristics:

  • Painful urination
  • Often result in an increased frequency of urination
  • Commonly result in dogs having urinary accidents in the house
  • Blood may be seen in the urine
  • Stones that attempt to exit the bladder may block the urethra, resulting in an emergency situation (especially in male dogs)
  • Diagnosed through exam, urinalysis, and x-ray

Incontinence in Dogs

Urinary incontinence in dogs results in the leakage of urine without the dog's ability to control it. The most common causes of incontinence in dogs are:

  • UTI (urinary tract infection)
  • Weak bladder sphincter muscles
  • Spinal cord disease
  • Over-consumption of water

A thorough history, veterinary examination, and urinalysis can illuminate the cause of your dog's incontinence. The treatment depends on the cause and, in the cases of over-consumption of water or spinal cord disease, may require further testing.

Urinary Tract Cancer in Dogs

Tumors in the urinary tract can result in a dog's inability to hold urine in. Bladder tumors are the most common of the urinary tract tumors. Some of the signs that dogs with bladder tumors exhibit are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Straining to urinate
  • Urinary accidents

Tumors of the urinary tract can be diagnosed through examination, x-rays, more specific imaging tests like ultrasound, and sometimes a specific blood test. Bladder tumors may require surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy treatment and do not carry very good prognoses. Luckily, other causes of frequent urination and urinary accidents are much more common than tumors.

Kidney Disease in Dogs

Kidney disease is a cause of increased water consumption and, therefore, increased urination and sometimes urinary accidents in dogs. Young dogs may have a congenital kidney issue, any dog may develop kidney disease from exposure to a toxin, and older dogs may develop it naturally with age. Bloodwork is the most common way to diagnose kidney disease in dogs, and it is most helpful when a dog has had routine bloodwork throughout her life so that your veterinarian can make comparisons.

Diabetes Mellitus in Dogs

Diabetes mellitus is a serious illness in dogs that can be diagnosed through history, a veterinary examination, and the documentation of increased blood and urine glucose levels. Diabetes is often complicated by a concurrent UTI that may worsen the frequency of urination and accidents. Some signs of diabetes mellitus are:

  • Increased appetite
  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased frequency of urination and possibly urinary accidents in the house
  • Weight loss

Almost all cases of diabetes mellitus in dogs are insulin-dependent. Your veterinarian will likely change your dog's diet and have you begin insulin injections.

Cushing's Syndrome in Dogs

Cushing's syndrome in dogs is the result of the increased production or presence of cortisone in the body. It can be difficult to diagnose, especially in the early stages. Some of the signs of Cushing's syndrome are:

  • Increased water consumption
  • Increased urination and accidents in the house
  • Eventually, a pot-bellied appearance
  • Thinning hair in certain areas
  • Increased panting

The treatment of Cushing's syndrome depends on the cause, and testing must be specific to determine that cause.

Pyometra in Female Dogs

Pyometra is an infected uterus and is only a concern in a female, unspayed dog. Any signs of increased water consumption, decreased appetite, and discharge from the vulva in a dog that has not been spayed need to be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.

Other Causes of Increased Urination and Urinary Accidents in Dogs

There are some other, less common causes of increased urination and urinary accidents in dogs that include:

If your dog suddenly shows an increased frequency of urination or has urinary accidents in the house, don't assume that it's a behavioral problem. There are many medical issues that can cause those signs and the sooner your dog is diagnosed and treatment is begun, the better.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Potty Training for Puppies

Submissive Urination in Dogs

Bladder Problems in Dogs

Pyometra in Dogs

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