Dog Licks Its Pee! — Why? What To Do?

By Kevin Myers | 2020 Update

You’restuck working from home, and your dogcouldn’t love it more. His tail constantly wags with you being around all day. Just as you’reabout to start working, you notice something disgusting. Fido is now licking his pee off the floor where he just went!

Do you yell at your dog? Or, should you let us guide you as to the background behind that behavior? You chose the latter. But answering why would a dog lick its pee isn’tas simple. It could be due to:

  • A bad habit that you have yet to break
  • The fact that they don’thave anywhere to go
  • A medical issue

Fortunately, all these issues are solvable. Below, you’ll find the solutions to all three problems.

Why is Your Dog Licking Its Pee? Behavioral Issues

If you’ve been a long-time dog owner, you already know about their curious nature. In addition to their curiosity, you must also know they can have some really disturbing habits. If you’ve never owned a dog, you may find some of their behavior puzzling. Licking or drinking their own — or another dog’s pee is one such behavior.

Fido could be running their tongue in the piddle puddle due to any of these reasons:

Problem #1: They Don’t Have Anywhere Else to Go

By that, we refer to a dog going outside to go pee. Mostowners train their dogs to pee outside; if you’ve done so too, good job!

Installing a dog door that your dogcan use to exit the premises to go pee is a good solution. They won’tcome running to you whenever they need to empty their bladders. And you won’treturn to a house that reeks of pee.

At night, however, you probably close that small door. Many people do this so that critters and other things cannot come in, but it also blocks your dog from going out. Should they need to go and there’sno way to leave, what do you think will happen? Aside from accidents, some canines may not be up to leaving the house in the middle of the night. In both cases, though, the result would be the same, i.e., pee puddles on the floor.

Ashamed and embarrassed, your pet might start lapping it up to hide the evidence. Again, as we mentioned, you can correct this behavior.

Solution #1: Reinforce Good Habits

If teaching them to pee outside is not solving the problem, get back into training mode.

Mark the time slot when your fur baby urinates inside the house. When it arrives, either catch them in the act or after it. When they start to go, don’t yell.Instead, adopt an excited tone and say, Hey Fido! Look at this!! Their built-in curiosity will ensure they follow you.

With your pal behind you, step to where they should be peeing. Wait to see if they go. When they do, praise them and give them a treat. Keep up the encouragement and train the habit right out of them.

There’s one more thing for you to try. If you come upon your dog urinating inside, use a NO to indicate this isn’t good behavior. Adopt a firm tone, so the canine understands that they are doing something wrong.

Problems 2 and 3 are related, so we have the same solution to them both, i.e., training your dog to go outside for their nasty business.

Problem #2: Your Dog isn’t Yet Housebroken

You might have your canine companion for just a couple of weeks, but one thing is clear, they are not housebroken! A majority of the time, this is because the dog is relatively new to your home and surroundings. They haven’t yet figured out where they should and shouldn’t pee.

If that’s the case, they might have accidents and then try and lick the pee back up. You need to train them to use a designated area that will work for you both.

Problem #3: They were Raised in a Puppy Mill

No dog-lover would condone the conditions in a Puppy Mill. The dogs and puppies remain cooped up in small cages/boxes without ever getting out, which means that the puppies have to excrete in the same space where they live and eat.

Now, imagine a dog who has experienced conditions like that while growing up. To survive, they soon pay no mind to the poo and urine mixing with their food. What’seven sadder is that they get used to consuming those substances! If not broken, this habit continues into adulthood.

Solution #2 and #3: Provide Training and Take Them Outside More Frequently

Accidents will happen if your dog doesn’t have access to a place where they can safely urinate. Likewise, if they don’t know they need to go outside, they may pee within the house. The solution requires a two-step process of training:

Firstly, reserve an area close to home where your dog can pee. Then, work with them until they can leave the house and go out to pee on their own. Every time they eliminate in the right place, praise them, and give them a treat. Soon, this act will become a habit.

Secondly, set your phone’s alarm to go off every few hours. Whenever it does, take your dog out. If you know you’ll be leaving them for a while, head out with them to the spot before you go. The same goes for when you’re turning in for the night.

Problem #4: The Culprit is Dehydration

Another reason why Fido loves getting into that puddle of pee is that they’redehydrated! Usually, adult dogs who don’thave access to their water bowl or find it empty a lot will do this. However, it isn’tas common in middle-age pooches.

Puppies and older dogs, though, can easily become dehydrated. Puppies may not know the water bowl is a source of hydration. They need training in that area.

Senior dogs know what the water bowl is. However, if they have dementia, it can cause them to forget where the bowl is! In the end, they may drink to hydrate whenever they pee.

The easiest way to determine if dehydration is a factor is to check the color of the pee. If your dog’s pee is darker in shade than it usually is, they are likely dehydrated.

Solution #4: Keep Your Fur Baby Hydrated

Regardless of whether your canine companion is drinking their pee or not, keep them well hydrated. Ensure that they know where their water bowl is. Try to place it as close to your pet as possible. When leaving the house, fill the bowl so that the dog will have enough water.

Puppies will require training to understand how to use their bowl. Older dogs — those with dementia — can forget where you keep the bowl. Have one close to where they spend most of the day for easy access. At night, fill the bowl and place it next to your dog’s sleeping place.

Why is Fido Licking Its Pee? Medical Issues

Besides bad habits, a genuine underlying health issue could also be why your dog is licking its pee. When training, reinforcement with treats, and more frequent pee-breaks don’twork, it is time to see if that’s the case.

Fortunately, many medical issues resolve with proper medication. There are two main conditions that dogs develop, leading to urine consumption:

Problem #1: Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Bacterial in nature, UTI’s are as common an occurrence in dogs than they are with us. The usual symptoms that can help you identify if your pet has one, include:

  • Blood in urine
  • Fever
  • More frequent urination
  • Accidental urination all over the house
  • Cloudy urine

Whether due to thirstiness or embarrassment, when your dog has an accident, they may try cleaning it up. If your behavioral measures don’t bear any fruit, check for the symptoms of a UTI.

Problem #2: Cushing’s Syndrome

Even though it is rare for a dog to suffer from Cushing’s syndrome, it is still possible. Usually, the first two symptoms that appear in this case are:

  1. Excessive thirst
  2. Frequent urination

When they must go more frequently, your dog is more likely to have an accident. If your dog is experiencing constant thirst, it may drink back the liquid it just voided.

The problem with Cushing’s is that it presents symptoms similar to that of other diseases. For instance, you’ll find both Cushing’s indications also on the list of UTI symptoms. Hence, it isn’t easy to distinguish this condition even if your dog has it.

Visit your veterinarian to discuss your dog’s incontinence. Be sure to mention their habit of drinking the pee. Normally, vets will want to do a UTI test first. If they rule it out, then they may move on to testingfor Cushing’s.

Additionally, your dog can also have both. So, push the vet to test for the latter condition. Testing involves taking blood and urine samples.

In either case, the vet will inform you if the test comes out to be positive. Depending on the condition, they will also give you the right medication. In less severe cases, it is possible to treat both Cushing’s and UTIs with medication. Just ensure that you complete the course, so your dog is rid of the condition. In a few days, they will stop reaching for their urine.

Read more about urinary issues and illnesses here.

Other Related Questions

Is Drinking Pee Dangerous for my Dog?

Your stomach might turn at the thought, but the truth is your dog will be perfectly okay. Dog pee is sterile and isn’t dangerous for them.

Why is My Dog Licking A Bitch’s Pee?

A lick or two will tell male pooches if a female’s in heat. You may even find your pet doing that in the presence of a spayed female dog. Doing this is an instinctual response, and we suggest keeping them away from a bitch if she is in heat.

What is the Flehmen Reaction? And is it even Normal?

There is evidence of Flehmen reaction occurring in various animals. More specifically, your dog will show interest in dipping their noses in a pool of another dog’s urine. Some licking will happen, and then your pet will freeze in place for a few seconds. Their tongue, on the other hand, will remain out and curled. That’s when they are displaying the Flehmen reaction — or the canine version of it.

Are you grossed out yet? Well, here’s why Fido’s doing that. There’s a spot behind their upper front teeth. It’s where two ducts lead to the vomeronasal organ. Your dog is imprinting the other dog’s scent when they act like this, and it’s normal doggie behavior.

Conclusion

Do you want to keep your fur baby from having accidents all the place? Then install that doggy door and train them to go out. Furthermore, grab some puppy pads and line their bed with them. So, that when they cannot leave, they still won’t soak the carpet.

Finally, recognizing exactly how your pet behaves when they have to go outside is useful too. As soon as your dog displays those signs, get them to the outside.

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