It is not uncommon for young puppies to have an accident in the middle of the night. Little ones haven’t yet learnt to control their bladders, and are still in the process of being trained to go potty in the right place at the right time.
If an old dog pees in their sleep, senior dogs may also start to struggle when it comes to peeing at night - reduced mobility and age-induced health conditions can all be contributing factors in this.
When a healthy adult dog starts to pee in their sleep, it could be a sign that there is something else going on inside.
As a pet parent, it is our responsibility to pay close attention to our dogs and their daily habits, and a change in toilet habits is often one of the first signs of an underlying health condition.
In this blog we are going to take a closer look at some of the reasons why your dog may be peeing while sleeping, health conditions that are commonly known to cause nighttime toilet issues, as well as things that you can do to make sure you put your pup’s peeing predicaments to bed.
If your dog is peeing in their sleep, it could be down to any number of health issues that commonly affect our furry friends:
Urinary Tract Infection
If caught quickly these shouldn’t cause any lasting issues. However, they can be particularly nasty! Urinary tract infections are often caused by bacteria entering the urethra, or if your dog is dehydrated or lacking in essential micronutrients.
Symptoms that may present in dogs include increased thirst, frequent painful urination, or even an avoidance of urination and excessive genital licking are all signs to look out for.
A super uncomfortable issue for your dog, bladder stones can vary in size and are often caused by an over-saturation of certain minerals, such as calcium, which then crystallize and cause painful stones in a dog’s bladder.
A dog will likely pee frequently but in very small amounts, and may even pee blood.
Increased urination and thirst are two of the most prevalent symptoms of Cushing’s Disease in dogs. This is often paired with an increased appetite, the forming of a pot belly, hair loss and muscle weakness or wastage, amongst other symptoms.
Caused by an overproduction of cortisol in a dog’s adrenal glands, this is an extremely serious and sometimes life-threatening condition that must be treated immediately.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction, often presenting in more senior dogs, could be a contributing factor to why your pup is peeing in their sleep.
With reduced cognitive function, your dog could fall out of the habits they have learnt, perhaps forgetting where to pee, and maybe even forgetting to pee altogether, resulting in unwanted accidents.
Never underestimate the power that stress and anxiety can have on a dog’s toilet habits. The smallest change in their routine or environment can have a significant effect on whether they feel calm and safe in their space.
Animals are extremely sensitive, and so if your dog is presenting problematic peeing habits, they could be experiencing an unpleasant bout of anxiety.
The number one symptom of diabetes in dogs is increased thirst which, as a result, will cause increased urination, sometimes at unwanted times and places. This is a lifelong condition that will need to be closely monitored and managed, and so if you notice these changes in your dog then diabetes testing should be top of the list.
While hormonal imbalances can happen in either sex, one of the most common groups of dogs which will present with peeing in their sleep is older female dogs that have been spayed. Hormones play a vital part in the management of a dog’s internal system, and spaying can change this significantly.
First port of call for this issue should be the vet’s office, where they can properly diagnose your pup and perhaps prescribe medication to help the issue if needed.
Similarly to the diabetes cycle, kidney disease makes a dog more thirsty, and thus needs to pee more often. Not only this, the disease can cause disorientation and weakness in your dog which, again, can be a contributing factor to pee-related accidents.
Keep a close eye on the color of your dog’s urine, as this can be a helpful indicator as to whether kidney disease may be on the cards; if your dog’s pee is dark yellow, brown or red, this could be a telltale sign and should be investigated straight away.
One for the boys, a swollen prostate can put pressure on the bladder, meaning your male dog will have a more frequent urge to urinate. This is understandably very uncomfortable for your dog, and so if you notice these symptoms or behaviors in your male dog it is worth getting his prostate examined by a professional.
Spinal Cord Degeneration or Disease
If a dog’s spinal cord is affected in any way, it can have a severe effect on their peeing habits. Loss of sensation or mobility can cause a dog to lose the ability to control their bladder and sense when they need to urinate.
This is a very serious condition that can have long term consequences for your dog’s wellbeing, so always consult your vet if you are concerned about the condition of your dog’s spine and mobility.
What to do about my dog peeing in their sleep?
A close eye will help catch things quickly, and so knowing the things that you can do to help your dog with their toilet troubles should be a parental priority:
A vet should always be your first port of call to rule out any underlying health conditions. Once tests have been done and the cause for nighttime peeing discovered, you can then work to start finding solutions to the problem, whatever that may be.
It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to our canine companions!
Potty pads are an excellent way to catch any unwanted accidents, helping to keep your dog’s bed and your floors and furniture clean and dry. Potty Buddy Premium Reusable Potty Pads reusable potty pads are a planet-friendly option that are soft and comfy for your dog, super absorbent and odor neutralizing, as well as being easily washable.
Perfect for pups of all ages and available in a range of sizes to use around the home, potty pads can offer some peace of mind for both pooch and pet parent.
Another great pee-resistant product to help keep your dog secure is the reusable dog diaper. With various sizes and styles to suit each pup, as well as being formed of comfortable absorbent material, dog diapers can catch accidents at the source, and are particularly effective for dogs with reduced mobility who may not be able to get themselves over to a potty pad in time.
Changes in lifestyle, whether that be diet, exercise or environmental, can have a profoundly positive effect on your dog’s health and wellbeing. Many health conditions can be managed and even reduced through small changes in your dog’s nutrients, routine or how they feel in their surrounding environment.
Vitamin and micronutrient supplements, better hydration, increased stimulative play, dog-calming treats or pheromone plug-ins - these can all be super effective in making a difference to your dog’s health.
And let’s not forget the most important medicine we can give our dogs - love, care and attention.
What NOT to do? (Don't blame your dog)
Never punish your dog for peeing in their sleep. They will not be doing it to be naughty or deliberately to annoy you; it is their way of communicating to their person that they need help, so we need to listen to them.
Health conditions in dogs can be serious, and this can be scary for both them and us. The most important thing to do is keep a close eye on your dogs so that you can catch things early and provide them with the most appropriate treatment.
Nighttime peeing could be your dog’s way of telling you something is wrong, so as responsible pet parents we’ve got to listen and step into action to help support our canine companions.
We hope this blog has helped you if your dog is peeing in their sleep. Remember, when in doubt, reach out for professional support to help resolve this issue.
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