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  • Jennifer Misfeldt, MABTR

Dog Urination Issues: Get wise about the wiz

Updated: Nov 9, 2023

You're dog isn't the only one! MABTR gets many calls from owners about the challenges of potty training, the dog dribbles when nervous (submissive urination), he started peeing in the house, and/or will leave a wet spot when he gets up from the couch or bed. The owner's consensus is usually the dog has a behavior problem as it has always been an issue, or it just started after a change such as moving, having children, etc.

MABTR never assumes peeing issues are just due to behavior until all potential medical concerns come back negative. We find that half of our surrenders due to the peeing issues end up having a medical condition.

First step is having an urinalysis completed by your vet. An exam or bloodwork cannot provide the answers an urinalysis can report. It will require the vet capturing a fresh sample with a visit outside. However if the dog will not pee due to being too scared, the vet will need to use other methods such as a syringe into the female's bladder or a catheter for male dogs. It does not take much urine for the test.

Remember to make sure your dog drink water before your vet visit. It is also recommended that you carry your dog inside the vet office so the chances of their going pee before the visit are limited. Key: You want to enter the vet clinic with a full bladder.

Test results will give answers to whether your dog has a urinary tract infection (UTI), crystals, diabetes (glucose levels will suggest more testing), or kidney disease (protein levels will suggest more testing).

4 Treatment options based on results:

  • UTI - this is treated with an antibiotic, Clavamox is our first choice. Sometimes Baytril is used. Depending on the severity of the UTI you may need to do a second round of antibiotics. Make sure a urinalysis is performed to validate the infection is gone.

  • Crystals - this requires a diet change. The recommended food is Royal Canin Urinary SO dry. This will be a life time diet change for your dog. Recommend a follow up urinalysis after being on the new diet for a month.

  • Potential diabetes or kidney issues will require additional tests by your vet for confirmation

  • Negative - if the test comes back with no bacteria, crystals and normal levels of protein and glucose then you now can say it is a behavior issue.

Tips for potty breaks in the cold

We know that the routine is we potty outside and not in our living space. There are ways to maintain this routine when temperatures are freezing and/or snow is taller than our dogs.



1. Go outside with your dog for his potty break.

2. Get your dog a sweater and booties if he will wear them. Even if he will only wears clothing for outside.

3. If your dog does not go potty on the first break and wants in, bring him back in the house but stand by the door to allow him to warm up for two minutes and then return back outside to finish. This will let him know what the required routine is at that time.

4. Do not force your dog to pee and poop on the same trip outside. He may need to make multiple trips in order not to freeze.

5. Praise your dog when he potties outside for you. Again you are there with a treat in your hand standing next to him.

6. Make the experience being outside in the cold fun. (i.e. you run around the yard, throw a stick or snowball).

7. When your dog comes back inside wipe down their feet of any moisture or snow.

8. Create a fun experience inside when he potties outside for you (i.e. cuddle time in a warm blanket with mom, cozy bed ready in front of the fireplace)

Thinking out of the box options:

1. If you have snow on the ground shovel a trail for your dog. Why should they have to walk on snow?

2. Place tarp around your deck creating a barrier for the wind.

3. A garage is considered a space outside of the living area. This can be considered an option other than outside. Poop is easy to pick up. Wipe up the pee and then place hot water over the area. You can power wash the garage in the summer. Other options is laying down newspaper or puppy pads in the garage.

*Owners with outdoor pets: please reconsider finding a space in your home to allow these pets indoors when temperatures are freezing.

Sweater suggestion: MABTR loves the stretch fleece material


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