Bed wetting also happens to some dogs from time to time. However, if it becomes a nightly occurrence, it can be a sign of something more concerning. Incontinence among canines tells a lot about a doggo’s health condition. Here’s what you need to know if you have a dog peeing in sleep at night.
Bed wetting in dogs
When it comes to human kids, bed wetting is somewhat part of their childhood. Most of the time, children outgrow this when they reach the age of 10 and on. When it comes to dogs, it’s a whole different story.
Bed wetting isn’t just about your dog’s age. Sometimes, even adult doggos will wet their beds almost every night. Potty training all over again wouldn’t fix this problem.
You should know that bed wetting is sometimes unbeknownst to your dog. Since they can’t hold their bladder properly, you shouldn’t punish them for wetting the bed. Punishments may only worsen the situation and sabotage any efforts to fix the problem.
In this video, Dr. Marie tells us more why dogs pee on their sleep:
What causes bed wetting among dogs?
There are many possible reasons for your dog’s wetting while sleeping. Usually, it has something to do with the kidney or the urinary tract. Here are some of the most common culprits to incontinence:
Hormone-responsive urinary incontinence
The hormone-responsive urinary incontinence usually affects spayed and middle-aged female canines. It has something to do with the canine’s decreased estrogen levels after the dog’s ovaries were removed.
Many studies in canines prove that estrogen hormones help control the urethral sphincter of canines. It’s the muscle that helps the dog hold the pee for proper elimination.
With less estrogen to power up the muscles to hold the pee in, dogs will eliminate even if they don’t plan to. Some dogs with spiraling estrogen levels will leak when they’re less conscious about eliminating, sleeping for example.
If not addressed, hormone-responsive urinary incontinence will worsen as the dog ages. The urethral sphincter will grow weaker and weaker.
Urinary tract infection
Inflammations and infections on the urinary tract will directly affect your dog’s peeing. Some dogs will pee while sleeping without even realizing it.
Take note that some dogs with UTI have an increased thirst which leads to their consistent and uncontrolled peeing. Even when their bladder is full, dogs with UTI may not wake up, causing them to eliminate in bed.
This can be treated with vet-prescribed medications. Also, you should watch out for UTI since it can develop into a more serious kidney problem if not addressed early on.
Diabetes makes canine thirsty all the time. Since the pooch will drink more, urination becomes frequent as well. Some dogs may pee while sleeping on their bed.
Also, you have to know that diabetes will make your dog lethargic and weak. If this is accompanied by constant drinking, they may not have the energy to go outside just to pee.
Some of the signs of canine diabetes are weight loss despite an increased appetite, weakness, excessive thirst, and frequent urination. If your dog exhibits most of these symptoms, you should bring it to a veterinarian right away.
Kidney disease is another reason why your dog is bed wetting for consecutive nights. The disease will make your dog weak and disoriented. This will result in a dog peeing in sleep at night.
Also, kidney disease may deteriorate a dog’s ability to control its bladder, thus the tendency to wet the bed.
Male and female dogs that have been neutered or spayed are likely to experience bed wetting after the surgery. Still, incontinence often occurs to females as discussed earlier.
About 1 out of 5 spayed dogs will experience incontinence. For neutered male dogs, the same urethral sphincter weakness is the culprit. But since they have different biochemistry than female dogs, hormone-responsive incontinence is less likely to happen.
Stress, fear, or anxiety
When your dog gets frightened, say by a loud sound, it will feel extremely anxious. Some of them will pee all over the floor or lose control of their bladder while on the bed.
Since their bed is their safe spot, it’s more likely that they will have accidents there. Stress and fear will trigger bed wetting when your dog is awake.
If you have a guest or a new pet that your dog is afraid of, it may prefer to eliminate on the bed because the doggo is so scared to leave the safe spot.
Urine marking is a dog’s way of establishing its territory. This is the same reason why dogs tend to pee on trees and curbs when walking them around. This is a hard-wired instinct which your dog will do at home to warn trespassers.
A new pet, an unknown person, or buying a new bed may lead some dogs to do urine marking. Usually, this will not be a continuous habit once your dog marked the area.
Although some dogs prefer keeping their bed clean, other insecure doggos may prefer to pee on their cot to establish their ownership over it. This may happen on homes with multiple dogs.
What if my dog wets the bed while awake?
Peeing on the bed while awake can be triggered by the same medical conditions I’ve discussed above. Still, some dogs will wet their bed while awake due to some emotional and behavioral issues.
In the wild, dogs keep their den clean. If your pet suddenly started peeing on the bed on purpose, it’s something else. They might be anxious or trying to get your attention.
If you’re leaving the house and going home to a wet dog bed, it’s possible that your dog is having bouts of separation anxiety. This will require a different approach.
How can it be treated?
Each case of incontinence can be triggered by various causes. It’s important to diagnose the root cause of the problem before doing any effort to fix it.
The advice of a veterinarian is unbeatable in these cases. If you suspect any kidney or urinary problem, it’s important that the vet address it as soon as possible.
A weak bladder is typically harmless but it can reveal a more serious condition along the way.
For dogs with hormone-responsive incontinence, the vet may prescribe a hormone balancer to fix the issue with estrogen levels. As for kidney disease and UTI, certain and continuous medication is needed. The vet may also prescribe a kidney-friendly diet with lower protein content.
For diabetes, life-long medication and care are needed to ease the symptoms aside from fixing the weak bladder.
If the bed wetting isn’t connected into any medical condition, it will help to assess your home’s environment. Is there something that makes your dog afraid and anxious? In these cases, crating the dog at night may help give a better sense of security.
Still, you should entertain the possibility of a behavioral problem. Some dogs may do it on purpose or due to lack of discipline. If the vet ruled out any possible medical reasons and you’re sure that nothing makes your dog afraid, housebreaking may need a refresher.
How to prevent peeing in bed
Regardless of the cause, there are some ways to prevent your dog from peeing on its bed. Here are some of my tips:
NOTE: Removing the bed isn’t the solution. You might cause more problems if you let your dog sleep on the floor.
Regulate the amount of water your pet drinks
Water is very important for your dog’s diet. Preventing your dog from peeing on its bed at night doesn’t mean you’re going to deprive them with enough hydration.
Depending on your dog’s activity level and size, water intake will vary. The rule of thumb according to Pet MD is that dogs should drink one ounce of water per pound of their body weight every day. Take note that the environment’s temperature will affect this amount.
If your dog is excessively salivating and panting, more water is lost.
Also, you should remember that wet food contains moisture too. Dogs that eat canned food may drink less than those on a dry kibble diet.
It will help to reduce your dog’s water intake at night. This isn’t a guarantee that you’ll wake up to a dry bed, but it will still decrease the chances of wetting the cot at night.
Make sure that the pooch eliminates before bedtime
One possible reason why your dog’s bed is wet in the morning is your failure to make them eliminate before bedtime.
Usually, dogs will eliminate anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour after eating the last meal of the day. Letting them outside to eliminate will reduce the chances of wetting their beds.
Pair this with controlled water intake and you will have a higher chance of preventing bed wetting.
Give the dog enough exercise
Just like any muscle, your dog’s urethral sphincter needs a little stretch to become stronger. A short walk before bedtime will give your dog more time to eliminate plus it will give their urinary muscles a little exercise.
Daily walks will also help in boosting your dog’s muscle function. Although this may not apply to all conditions, keeping your doggo in shape is still very important regardless if it’s wetting the bed or not.
Let them smell you
Dogs, especially new puppies, tend to become anxious when left alone at night. Since they can’t smell their owner, they may have separation anxiety attacks which will lead to uncontrolled peeing.
It will help to place one of your shirts on your dog’s bed so it can cuddle with it. If it will not disrupt your sleep, you can let your pooch sleep inside your room on its bed.
Crate train the dog
Crate training does wonders not just in housebreaking but also in fixing separation anxiety. The crate provides a sense of security to the dog at night and when you’re leaving for work.
Unlike your big house, the crate has walls closer to the dog. It somehow mimics dogs’ habitat in the wild. Usually, wild dogs will sleep on rock openings to prevent predators from getting into them while they sleep.
Crate training your dog may take weeks or months depending on the breed’s trainability. If you’re new to crate training, we have a brief guide here that you can use.
Clean up all accidents
When your dog had an accident for the first time, make sure that you clean the spot with an enzyme cleaner. Regular washing will not completely remove the scent of the dog’s pee. Chances are your dog will eliminate on the same spot again due to the lingering scent.
You can try the Rocco & Roxie Stain and Odor Eliminator. It has a natural enzymatic formula that will remove traces of pet urine and poo. We have 3 enzyme cleaner recommendations that you can consider.
Consider a waterproof dog bed
Changing your dog’s bed will not directly fix the problem, but it will save you from the hassle of washing a foam bed. Waterproof dog beds are ideal for canines with certain medical conditions that trigger incontinence.
Waterproof beds usually have a plastic lining that keeps moisture away from the foam material. Although it will still ruin the cover, it’s easier to wash than absorbed urine on the foam.
When to visit the vet
Some bed wetting accidents can be isolated cases. If your dog happens to do this almost every night, it will be better to take your pet to the veterinarian. This way, the vet can check for possible kidney problems and other medical conditions.
Take note that before you consider a medical condition behind the bed wetting, you should assess the housebreaking skills of your pooch first. You might need to train your dog more to fix the issue. Anyway, it will not hurt to seek the advice of a professional.
A dog peeing in sleep at night has an explanation. It could be an emotional, behavioral, or medical problem that can be treated with the help of a professional. Again, punishment and violence is never the answer to this.