If your previously house trained dog or cat is suddenly peeing where they aren’t supposed to, it could be a sign of something more troubling. The team at Mobile Vet M.D. wants to take a moment to discuss house soiling in pets and what you can do to manage the issue.
House Soiling in Cats
Urinating outside the litter box is a common problem among cats and is one of the main reasons cats are surrendered to shelters and even euthanized. There are so many different causes for the behavior, many of which are relatively simple to fix.
- Medical issues – A variety of health problems can lead to house soiling, including kidney disease, urinary tract infection, bladder infection, bladder stones, arthritis, bladder tumor, constipation, and feline idiopathic cystitis (rare).
- Territorial behavior – The presence of a new cat in the home can lead to house soiling in the resident cat. Introduce new cats slowly, and make sure you have one litter box per cat plus one more, so everyone can have their private space.
- Psychological stress – Cats are creatures of habit, and any upset in their daily life can create enough stress and anxiety to trigger house soiling. The prolonged absence of their owner, new people or pets, a recent move, or a home remodeling project are all examples of events that can cause a cat to feel deeply uprooted.
- Boredom – We encourage all cat owners to keep their pets indoors for health and safety reasons, but life inside the same four walls can quickly grow tiresome, leading to destructive behaviors, such as house soiling. Cats need lots of attention, exercise (cat tree, cat shelving, catio, etc.), and interactive playtime as an outlet for their curious nature and excess energy.
House Soiling in Dogs
The first thing to do when a previously house trained dog begins urinating or defecating inside is to rule out any medical problems. Urinary tract infections, cystitis (bladder inflammation), bladder stones, kidney disease, or arthritis or age-related incontinence could all be causes of house soiling in dogs. In addition, pets with diarrhea or other intestinal illnesses may not be able to make it outside fast enough.
If no medical cause is found, the next step is to pinpoint one of several behavior-related issues that may be to blame, such as:
- Loss of house training – Even completely house trained dogs can experience setbacks in this area for a variety of reasons, such as illness, a change in schedule, or the occurrence of bad weather. Taking the time to give your dog a reward-based “house training refresher course” may solve the problem.
- Territorial marking – Urine is an important means of marking territory and passing along information to other dogs. Unneutered males may be replicating this behavior inside the home. Having your dog neutered may improve the situation.
- Anxiety – Being left alone for long periods of time, a dramatic change in family structure or schedule, or a thunderstorm or fireworks display can produce significant anxiety in dogs. They may respond by house soiling (among other unpleasant behaviors). It’s important to address your dog’s anxiety and take the necessary steps to make them more comfortable.
If your pet is experiencing inappropriate elimination, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Mobile Vet M.D. Together, we can develop a plan to get your pet back on track!