When a normally well-behaved adult dog starts having “accidents” in the house, something is up. You might feel that your dog is punishing you for something or is just being difficult, but well-behaved dogs don’t suddenly urinate in the house without a reason. It’s your job to play pet detective to discover what is causing the behavior change.

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Possible Causes of Adult Dog Suddenly Having Accidents

Here’s a rundown of common reasons for an adult dog to suddenly start having accidents indoors:

1. Changes in the family. A child leaving for college, a birth or death, or a divorce can cause distress in many dogs.

2. Home renovations. Remodeling the house, especially with workmen coming and going, can lead to house-training problems. Even a new carpet with different smells can cause some dogs to leave their scent by urinating on it.

3. Deviations in the daily household routine. Dogs feel secure when the family sticks to the daily schedule. If the dog is used to relieving himself at specific times during the day and his schedule is changed, he might have a hard time coping with it. When possible, make changes slowly so the dog can adjust.

4. Feeling stressed or overly excited. Some dogs will leak small amounts of urine when overly excited, fearful, or stressed — it’s called submissive urination. Although more common in puppies, some adult dogs will also do this. It’s most often seen when a person is greeting the puppy or dog.

5. Hormone incontinence. Spayed, middle-aged or senior female dogs might become incontinent due to a lack of estrogen. Estrogen helps maintain muscle tone of the urethral sphincter.

6. Age-related diseases. Kidney disease, cognitive dysfunction syndrome and other conditions affecting senior and geriatric dogs can cause them to urinate more frequently or become incontinent.

7. Other health problems. Infections, tumors, spinal cord injuries, kidney disease and problems with the bladder can cause incontinence in dogs of any age and can lead to house-training accidents. Diseases that cause increased drinking, such as diabetes, may result in increased urination and accidents.

8. Side effects of medications. Some drugs can cause the dog to relieve himself more often and trigger house-training accidents. Talk to your veterinarian about any possible side effects related to the medicine.

Time to Play Pet Detective

If none of these scenarios has occurred and you still can’t pinpoint the reason, it’s time to act like a detective and gather clues. Jot down the answers to these questions:

  • When did the house soiling start?
  • How many accidents has your dog had in the past week, month?
  • Do they occur during the day when you’re away or at night?
  • Do they happen in your dog’s bed while he is sleeping?
  • Does he piddle when he becomes excited?
  • Does he urinate in the same place or several places?

Once you’ve gathered specific details, it’s time to consult your veterinarian and have your dog given a thorough physical exam. If medical reasons have been ruled out, work with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist to identify the cause so that you can take the right corrective actions.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t punish your dog out of frustration. Don’t yell, spank or rub your dog’s nose in the mess. Not only will it not work, it may cause the dog to urinate behind the sofa or other hidden places, making your detecting job all the more difficult.

Adult Dog Suddenly Having Accidents in the House

Products That Can Help With Indoor Potty Accidents

You’ll want to keep some basic supplies on hand as you figure out why your adult dog is suddenly peeing in the residence. Some products to consider are:

Piddle Pads: It doesn’t mean forever, but piddle pads that are large and absorbent like Four Paws Wee Wee pads have a 6-layer leak-proof technology.

Stain and Odor Eliminator: We prefer an enzymatic pet odor and stain eliminator to break down messes. Rocco and Roxie’s Stain and Odor Eliminator is chlorine-free, color-safe, and has the seal of approval from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI.)

Black Light for Pet Urine Detection: It’s not always easy to tell where your dog may have had an indoor urinary accident. With the help of a UV black light, you can detect stains on rugs, carpets, and clothes.

Pet Health Insurance Can Help

Getting to the bottom of why your dog is peeing more frequently and having accidents can take several visits to the veterinarian and several different diagnostic tests. And if a health issue is causing your dog’s accidents, treatment can become costly.

Luckily pet health insurance is designed to help pet parents cover the cost of their dog’s care. Insurance can help pay for veterinary visits, diagnostic testing, and any medications or other treatment your pet may need.

Get quotes from high-quality pet insurance providers in your area by using the map below: