Finally, your huge day is at an end. You have fulfilled your obligations to your employer, picked up the dry cleaning, gotten the groceries, donated blood, cured cancer, and achieved world peace. Now all you want to do is tuck in under your comforter, cue up Netflix, and binge-watch The Walking Dead with your dog. You fluff up your pillow, and – wait. What’s that? Oh, no, he’s done it again! There is dog pee all over your pillow. Why is he doing that? My dog pees on my bed, but he’s potty trained! Is he just perverse and trying to stick it to you for some unfathomable reason?
He’s not. Nasty as it is if your dog is messing on your pillow, or elsewhere on your bedding, there is a reason. It might not be a reason that you understand or are happy with, but it is still a reason.
Why Do Dogs Pee On the Bed?
Now, you want to know what to do about the beddy booboos, but before you can do that, you have to understand why it’s happening. So let’s take the most obvious reason first. Is your dog an intact male? If that’s the case, most likely he is marking his territory. He is saying, quite simply, “This bed belongs to me. And maybe to my Mom. Anyone else has to go away.”
Territorial urination can be one of the most difficult kinds to cure, but don’t give up hope – there are solutions. More on that in a bit, but before we get there, let’s talk about other reasons why your dog may be doing his (or her) thing on your bed.
Lighten Up, It’s Just a Puppy!
Here’s another reason why your dog may be peeing the bed – he’s just too young to know any better. Come on, you remember when you brought him home, and you put him in a box with a blanket, and hoped he’d be happy staying there all night. How did that work out for you?
That’s what I thought. No good outcome. That’s because dogs are pack animals, and when you brought that puppy home, you took him away from everything he ever knew – his mother and his littermates. Now, you are his pack. He wants to sleep with you. And if you’re like me, and you don’t have a heart of stone, you probably picked him up and put him on your bed. When he was sleeping with his birth mom, and he did a wee, she would lick it off him. Of course, you’re not going to do that, and he can’t very well clean up after himself – he’s just a baby!
Fortunately, bed wetting with puppies usually only lasts a week or two. And here’s why.
He Doesn’t Want to Pee Where He Sleeps
Left to his own natural devices, a puppy will usually prefer not to urinate or defecate where he sleeps. So, the solution is simple. Most bedrooms are not all that big. Close the door. Your puppy will likely whine or cry and wake you up rather than drop a load or a puddle in your sleeping quarters. Just get up and let him out to do his business.
Now back to that intact male. He’s the exception. Sometimes, he does want to do it where he sleeps, because he doesn’t want anyone else invading his territory. What do you do in a situation like that?
Well, you can work very hard at training him, watch with the eye of a hawk for the merest lifting of a leg, and usher him outside. Or you could get really inventive, and provide him with a sort of auxiliary territory. Kind of a litter box for dogs, if you will. Most pet stores stock synthetic grass pads (you know that dogs love to go on grass!) that you can keep in your house, even next to your bed. They feature an absorbent powder sponge system that traps urine and turns it into easily-disposed gel. They trap odors and cleanup is a breeze.
Go THERE, Buddy!
Now, all you have to do is convince your dog that if he absolutely must, he can wee in the bedroom, but only on the synthetic grass pad. He cares about the smell, since that’s what defines his territory, and as long as the synthetic grass pad is close to your bed, he’ll be happy with that. He will smell it, but you won’t, and you’ll be able to enjoy snuggling with your best friend all night long without worrying about unpleasantness.
Because You Love Him
I know you love your dog, and you want to sleep with him. Some of my most relaxing nights have been spent with a dog snuggled up next to my back or curled around my knees. For that matter, I never even much minded when my dog would arrange my feet in a fashion that was comfortable for him, but gave me leg cramps – hey, he was comfortable, and that was all that mattered!
Pee on the bed, though, is a whole other thing. You shouldn’t have to live with that. So if you can, train your dog not to do his business in the bedroom. A synthetic grass pad can be very helpful.
Dog Age Warning
If your dog is very old and incontinent, a synthetic grass pad will not likely work. A friend of mine invested in a rubber sheet because she couldn’t bear to tell her ancient Doberman that the bed was now off-limits. What can I say? It’s whatever works for you and your dog.
Health Conditions that May Cause Dogs to Pee
If it’s not a matter of youth, dominance, or old age, it might be that your dog has a health condition that is causing him to pee where he shouldn’t. Some common health conditions that can lead to urinary incontinence in dogs include:
- Urinary stones
- Urinary tract infection
- Prostate disorders
- Protruding intervertebral disc
- Spinal injury or degeneration
- Anatomic or congenital abnormalities and disorders
- Steroid medication
- Weak bladder sphincter
- Kidney disease
- Hyperadrenocorticism (Addison’s Disease)
This is by no means a definitive list, and for purposes of this article, I’m going to deal with behavioral issues, not health problems. If you want to know more about health conditions that can lead to inappropriate urination, check out my post, Urinary Incontinence in Dogs.
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Why is your dog peeing the bed and what are you going to do about it? In the material that follows, we’ll deal with basic questions and answers, and offer some tips.
How can you tell if your dog has a urinary infection?
Sometimes it’s hard to identify a urinary infection. If you live in an area where you get snow in the winter, the most obvious sign will be blood on the snow when your dog goes out to do his business. At other times of the year, it can be difficult to tell if your dog is passing blood. Other signs to look for are straining when urinating, dribbling as opposed to passing a normal amount of urine, panting, and lethargy.
Why did my dog randomly pee on my bed?
He didn’t. It’s never random – there is always a reason. As previously stated, it could be dominance, ill health, or simply that your dog is too young to have full control over his bladder
Should I pee on my dog to show dominance?
No! First of all, it’s disgusting. Second, it’s ineffective – dogs typically pee on things that they love in to show that those things belong to them. If you pee on your dog, you’re effectively saying “You are mine.” Then if he pees on you, or something that belongs to you, he’s saying “Okay, I get it, and you belong to me too!”
What can I spray to keep my dog from peeing in the house?
You might not remember where your dog peed, but you can bet that he will, and he’ll go back to that spot over and over. You need to remove the scent. You can do that with a commercial product like Dettol, You can also use a homemade preparation consisting of half water and half isopropyl alcohol. The one thing you shouldn’t use is any ammonia-based cleaner – they smell like urine, and what you’re telling your dog is “Yeah, okay! Go here!”
Why has my dog started peeing in her bed?
Most of the time, dogs won’t pee in their beds. Unless your dog is still a puppy, peeing where he or she sleeps is a cause for concern. Urination in your dog’s bed warrants a trip to the vet – it’s probably not a behavioral issue. More likely, it’s a health problemYour veterinarian can do tests that will determine the cause of the inappropriate urination. Most of the time, urinary incontinence in dogs can be corrected using medication. If it’s a matter of an anatomical defect, it can generally be corrected by means of routine surgery.
Do dogs know why we kiss them?
Nobody knows the answer to this question. Dogs might think that it means we love them, or they might simply perceive it as a weird thing their humans like to do. I think that the bigger, more important question here is “Does your dog like to be kissed?” In another post, Urinary Incontinence in Dogs, I told you about my friend, Wendy, and her English Mastiff, Leonard. Wendy used to take Leonard’s jowls in her hand and kind of fold them over to make what she called a “kiss spot.” Leonard loved it, and gave kisses back! If your dog reacts like Leonard, then it’s probably safe to assume that he perceives kisses as an indication of love. If he seems uncomfortable, forego the kisses – he doesn’t like them.
Why does my dog leak urine while sleeping?
Have you ever awakened in the middle of the night with your brain sending you the message, “Go to the bathroom NOW?” Of course you have. It’s the same with your dog. But if you don’t wake up in time…. Well, I hope that YOU do, but your dog might not, and then there can be dribbles. Or in the case of senior dogs, an outright flood.
Leaking urine while sleeping could be due to any of the reasons that a dog might leak urine while awake. It’s just that when your dog is asleep, his brain is less prepared to tell him “Not now; wait until you go outside.” Treat night leaking the same way as you would daytime leaking – make sure that you offer enough pee breaks, check for blood in the urine, look for signs of straining, and if necessary, make a trip to the vet.
There can be any number of reasons why your dog might pee on your bed. In puppies, it’s usually that they simply don’t have the bladder control that they’ll have when they grow up. In adult dogs, it’s often a dominance issue. Rarely, it can be due to a health problem. How you handle the issue will depend on the cause.
One thing I want to ask you to do, though, is to not punish your dog for peeing on your bed. You might not know what the reason is, but there IS a reason. Your job is to find out why your dog is peeing on your bed. Then correct the issue. If it’s that he’s just a puppy, put him out more frequently. If it’s a dominance issue involving another pet, show him how much you love him. If he’s ill, take him to the vet.
Never treat peeing on the bed as simple bad behavior. There could be other causes, and as a good dog parent it’s your job to determine if that’s the case.