Why Your Housetrained Dog is Peeing Inside Your Home

Cute dog in the home

We love our pets more than anything, but coming across puddles of pee can strike a nerve. You wonder, why is my potty-trained dog peeing in my home? Don’t get angry. First, turn away and pause to take a breath. Your dog has not betrayed your trust, nor have they done this to upset you. Scolding your dog or taking reprehensive actions like rubbing their urine to their snout won’t solve the problem and will likely make it worse. 

There are numerous reasons why a potty-trained dog might be urinating inside the house. This article will expose possible reasons behind this behavior and give you valuable management information. Hopefully, you’ll make your own assessment and find the right solution to this trying issue. 

You are not alone. As you’ll read ahead, many dogs, at some point, might urinate in out-of-bounds areas. The reasons could be physiological, emotional, and even environmental. It’s important to look into all of the factors that can lead to the cause of this behavior.

Case Assessment: Why is my dog peeing inside the house?

There are simple observations that you can check right away and at home. A thoughtful evaluation will help you determine if the cause is behavioral or medical. This information will also be very useful to your vet if you decide to take your dog for a consultation. 

The first thing to ask yourself is: Have there been specific changes in your home, environment, schedules, and routines? Is the access to their potty area blocked? Are they being bullied or threatened by an outside factor that stands between their potty area? Has their outside time been reduced? Are they peeing more frequently?

Some dogs are very sensitive to changes, such as the incorporation of a new member of the family, or a new pet. This could cause them to react in behaviors such as marking and submissive urination, which we will delve more into further ahead.

Next, pay attention to your dog. Are they acting normal? Are the urinary accidents only inside the house?  

Observing the Urine: What Does it Smell and Look Like?

Smelling and looking at your pet’s urine is not a pleasant activity, but doing so can give you good clues as to your dog’s health. An adequate urine test done through a laboratory and analyzed by a qualified clinician will arrive at the most empirical conclusions about your dog’s health condition.

However, you can make some quick assessments by smelling and looking at the urine. Look out for a strong ammonia smell. A dog’s urine should be reasonably odorless. A strong ammonia smell could indicate infection. 

Likewise, the color and quantity of the pee is very telling. Is it a big or small puddle? Small puddles, or leaks, could indicate incontinence or marking. Healthy urine should be clear to light yellow. If the urine is bright, dark yellow, brown, orange, or reddish pink, this could indicate an underlying condition that should be looked further into by your trusted vet.  

5 Medical Conditions That Could Cause Your Dog to Pee in The House

Several medical conditions could make your dog pee irregularly. It’s important to bear these conditions in mind, especially if your dog is older. These include arthritis, incontinence, urinary tract issues, and metabolic or endocrine diseases. All of these conditions should be adequately checked by your trusted veterinarian. He or she will provide the most informed treatment.

Let’s take a closer look at these health conditions.


Arthritis is an inflammatory disease that affects the joints. As a dog ages, the cartilage between the joints becomes less smooth or damaged. As a result of this, the surface of the bone rubs together, making the joints more stiff and swollen. The pain and discomfort of arthritis could make it more difficult for your dog to get up quickly and go outside.

If the arthritis pain is severe, a dog will know that standing up will cause them pain and they will decide to urinate lying down. There’s no cure for arthritis, but there’s treatment and many options to help manage your dog’s pain. 

Your veterinarian can give you information about a suitable arthritis diet, possible medications and supplements, and accommodations for your dog’s lifestyle and environment. 


Incontinence is when a dog involuntarily loses control of their bladder. It’s often observed in recently fixed or neutered pets, though it can also develop in unfixed pets. This is a symptom of health-related issues such as the following:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary stones
  • Prostate disorders
  • Weak bladder
  • Diseases that cause excessive drinking water (diabetes, Cushing’s disease, and kidney disease)

All of these medical conditions should be adequately diagnosed by your veterinarian who should inform you on proper management. From the use of doggie diapers to raising the frequency of walks, you’ll find many options for dealing with incontinence. 

Endocrine Diseases in Dogs

When a dog’s hormone levels are imbalanced, producing too much or too little of a certain hormone, they may develop an endocrine disease. These diseases can cause urinary accidents that can gradually worsen over time. Some drugs used as a treatment for these conditions may also produce urinary accidents. Common endocrine diseases in dogs include:

  • Cushing’s Disease
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Diabetes

Beware of accompanying symptoms such as increased thirst, lethargy, decreased appetite, diarrhea/vomiting/gastrointestinal issues. If your dog is experiencing these symptoms, take them to the vet right away.  

Urinary Tract Issues

Dogs enjoy having a routine and peeing outside is part of it. If they’re peeing outside and inside, your dog could be peeing frequently. On average a dog will need go pee 3-5 times a day. Excessive peeing could be a symptom of a urinary tract Issue. These conditions include urinary tract infection, kidney/stones, and urinary tract cancer in the bladder.

These conditions are accompanied by the following symptoms:

  • Straining to pee
  • Blood in the urine
  • Odor in the urine

Cognitive Issues (Dog Dementia)

Senior dogs could often develop a condition known as Canine Cognitive Disfunction (CCD), or, Dog Dementia. This causes changes in their behavior, affecting memory and cognitive functions. One of the symptoms is confusion and restlessness, which could make senior dogs pee inappropriately. 

Emotional or Psychological Reasons for Your Dog’s Urinary Accidents

Dogs are quite simple mammals, but they can at times display emotional complexity. The emotional reasons for peeing inside the house could range from anxiety to excitement. The best way to pinpoint the exact reason is to make an assessment of the whole situation. When evaluating this keep in mind that the context of the situation matters. 

Anxiety/fear: Submissive Urination

Some dogs may have urinary accidents as a response to fear and anxiety. Hearing loud fireworks, dealing with a new visitor, or even being extremely reprimanded for bad behavior, could trigger this fear response which is called submissive urination. 

There are many causes for submissive urination in dogs. Dogs who live in a multi-dog household could urinate inappropriately because they’re not the alpha dog. Rescued dogs with a history of abuse, or who have gone through several owners, may have separation anxiety.

There are many ways to help your dog and train them to be less fearful. Check out this handout written by veterinary students of the University of California where you’ll find excellent tips and what to do (and what not to do) to manage submissive urination. 


Marking is a behavior that animals do to mark their territory. It’s more common in young, intact dogs, especially male dogs. Changes in the house, such as the arrival of a new family member, a new pet, a baby, or even a new piece of furniture, could trigger this response. 

At times, a new visitor to the house or new neighborhood wildlife wandering around, could also incline your dog to mark their territory. 

Neutering or spaying your dog (if they aren’t already) is the best option to keep them from marking.

Excitement: Happy Peeing

Sometimes your dog could have small urinary accidents as a response to happiness and excitement. “Happy Peeing” is more common in puppies, but older dogs can also respond this way. This is usually a transitory behavior and does not develop into a chronic condition. Though, for some dogs, it could be repeated unexpectedly.

If you notice they’re peeing from the excitement of seeing you, try not to make a big fuss when you come home. Gradually, they’ll learn to contain their excitement. 

Environmental Reasons

Finally, your dog could be peeing inside the house due to an environmental reason. Bad weather is a common reason for urination inside the house. If it’s raining outside, or there is a thunderstorm or a snowstorm, your dog will be reluctant to go outside. For some dogs, a very windy day could make them hesitant to go potty outside.

Conclusion: Keeping your Dog from Peeing Inside

Keeping your dog from peeing inside the house is possible but might require some patience. It’s a behavior that merits thoughtful analysis and careful management. Find out why your dog is peeing inside the house first. It’s wise to rule out medical conditions right away by taking your dog to the vet. 

If the reason is behavioral, there are many ways you can tackle this problem through proper training. If you’ve tried and not had good results, seek expert advice. Just remember that scolding or being aggressive to your dog is detrimental to your wellbeing, as well as theirs. 

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