Causes of Urination Problems in Dogs

Many factors can cause or exacerbate urination problems in dogs. Canine bladder problems can be a direct result of a physical issue such as a UTI or cystitis or can be behaviorally oriented as in the case of submissive urination. Knowing the cause of a dog's urination problems can help lead to the most effective solution in each specific case.

Signs of Canine Bladder Problems

There are a few common behaviors that indicate a probable canine bladder problem. If your dog is normally house trained and then begins urinating in the house or other forbidden areas, he's telling you that he's having a problem with his urination. If your dog is straining to urinate or going out to urinate more often than usual, something is going wrong.

Other signs to look for include that your dog is producing very little urine when he goes to pee or that he urinates every time he meets a new dog, a new person, or immediately after you come in the room. A dog urinating on his owner is another sign of a problem that needs to be addressed.

UTI and Cystitis

There are several ways to determine if your dog has developed a UTI or cystitis. UTI stands for urinary tract infection. Bacteria builds up in the in the urethra and becomes infected. The dog will feel like he needs to urinate frequently but very little urine will be produced. A dog with this infection may bend down to urinate versus lifting his leg in his normal fashion. Blood may be present in the urine as well.

Cystitis refers to bacteria that builds up in the bladder itself, becomes infected, and cause swelling in the bladder walls. The dog will feel a lot of discomfort and will exhibit many of the same symptoms listed above. Dogs with diabetes may be more susceptible to urinary infections because the bacteria feed off the higher levels of sugar in the urine. Keeping your dog well hydrated and feeding him the proper diet will help prevent a UTI or cystitis.

Submissive Urination

There are several ways to identify submissive urination versus excitement urination or marking. A dog may urinate when a person stands over him or punishes him or when another dog is attempting to dominate him. Other signs of submission may be present such as the ears, head, or tail being down. Dogs of any age or size can engage in this behavior but it is most common in puppies and female dogs. A dog engaging in this behavior is experiencing fear and needs to be removed from the situation.

Showing anger toward the dog or punishing him will just lead to more fear and likely more urination as well as releasing the bowels. In excitement urination, the dog likely will show other signs of excitement such as a wagging tail, yelping or leaping about. In marking behavior, the dog often urinates on an upright object or other dog.