If you own a dog, chances are you’ve asked yourself this question. And it always seems to happen at the worst time. You’ve just bought a new bed or bedding, or you have a new houseguest, or you’re worn out at the end of a long day. Out of all the times for it to happen, why now? Why did my dog pee on my bed?
There is no short answer for why your dog peed in your bed. There are many factors to consider, and there are many reasons why your dog may have done it. The one thing I CAN tell you for sure is that your dog did not do it out of spite. Malice is not an emotion that canines experience. Now that we’ve removed human emotion as a reason let’s explore some reasons why your dog may have peed on your bed.
When did your dog start peeing on your bed?
The first and most important question to ask is when did this start happening? If this is brand new and out of character for your dog, you should consult with your veterinarian immediately. Changes in toileting habits are often a sign of an underlying health condition. For the safety of your dog, have them checked to rule out an undiagnosed illness.
What has changed in your dog’s environment?
Dogs are creatures of habit. When things are out of place in their home, it can upset and confuse them. And the thing is, it might be something we wouldn’t necessarily notice. Maybe you decided to put a shed outside where your dog normally goes to the bathroom, or a new dog moved in next door, or there’s a new plant in the house.
Environmental changes don’t necessarily affect all dogs. Still, if your dog is skittish, fearful, or just highly sensitive to its surroundings, environmental change may be to blame for your dog’s new choice for a pee pad.
Has your dog ever had an accident on your bedding before?
If a dog has peed on your bedding before, the scent may still be there. A dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more sensitive than ours, depending on the breed. Urine stains are hard to remove, and regular washing is probably not going to be enough. You will probably need a pet stain remover that has enzymes to remove all traces of the stain. Because if a dog smells its urine on your bedding, it may want to freshen it up. And if your dog smells another dog’s urine, it will want to mark over it.
Unfortunately for your bedding, you may have to replace it to remove the stain completely from your home.
How long has it been since your dog was last outside?
We love our dogs. But to support them in the manner to which they have become accustomed, we must work, which often means that our dogs spend long stretches of their time alone in the house. Our dogs are usually very excited to see us upon our return home. Try dancing like they do with a full bladder. If your dog is lying on the bed with a full bladder when you get home, then you may have your answer.
Is your dog fully house trained?
Dogs are extremely intelligent, but sometimes we give them too much credit. Dogs are probably the most anthropomorphized creature on the planet, which means we assign human characteristics and personality to something not human. Dogs do not generalize well, and so they associate things to a specific set of circumstances. Sit may mean sit in the kitchen on the mat in front of the refrigerator next to the treat jar, but what does it mean outside on the grass with strange people around?
It is common for dogs to need housetraining all over again when moving to a new house. New contexts require new or refresher training.
Is your dog excitable, fearful, or a puppy?
Dogs that are excitable, fearful, or puppies sometimes don’t have good control of their bladders. Additionally, fearful dogs do use submissive urination as a sign of being non-confrontational. If you have a dog that rolls over on its back or side and urinates at your approach, this is submissive urination and not a challenge for control of the household. You should consult with a trainer or pet behaviorist familiar with this behavior.
Is your female dog coming into heat?
Unaltered male and female dogs are more likely to mark their territory than their altered counterparts. Bed marking is more likely to be practiced by females when they are coming into or are in heat. Male dogs are likely to mark too, but usually not on the bed.
Do dogs pee out of spite?
Absolutely not! As I said earlier, dogs do not operate out of malice or spite, no matter how it looks.
Is my dog displaying dominance by peeing on my bed?
No, this is a complete myth. Although some dogs have more assertive personalities than others, dogs do not pee on a human’s bed to assert their control of the household. Additionally, you cannot stop your dog from peeing on your bed by displaying dominance yourself. All that will likely accomplish is more urination.
Related: Submissive Urination
How can I stop my dog from peeing on my bed?
Finally, we get to the heart of the matter, how do you stop the dog from peeing on the bed once you have an idea of why they are doing it? While it is beyond the scope of this article to explain all the different housetraining methods, here are some general ideas:
- Take your dog for a veterinary checkup. If this is a new behavior that has appeared suddenly and is not your dog’s normal character, take your dog to the vet to rule out any underlying medical reasons.
- Don’t allow your dog on your bed. Easy to say but hard to practice for many of us. Still, to remove all traces of the scent, you may need to thoroughly wash your bedding and treat it with a pet odor remover. You will need to keep your dog away from your bed while doing this so it doesn’t mark your bed again. At the very least, close your bedroom door and don’t allow them in unsupervised.
- Crate train your dog. Crate training is a cure-all for many behavior problems, and once more, properly trained dogs often come to love their crate as if it were their own little dog den.
- Thoroughly was or replace your bedding. As mentioned before, simple washing is not enough. And sometimes, you will need to replace the bedding if the stain sets in. Once a urine stain dries completely, it’s close to impossible to hide it from a dog’s nose. A few words of caution about cleaners, the strong odor of some cleaners like vinegar and ammonia may encourage some dogs to mark over them. Using steam may also cause the smell to set, thus negating your efforts.
- Hire a professional trainer. A professional trainer has experience in spotting things we may not be able to see. All professional trainers should be well versed in housetraining and should be able to give you a good plan you can follow. Avoid ANY trainer that advises you to punish your dog in any way for having an accident or instructs you to become the alpha of your house.
- Give your dog time. If your dog moves into a new home or something in their environment changes, you may have to housetrain them all over again. I know it’s a pain, but it’s a small price to pay for their love.
I would say that most dog owners have had the experience of their dog peeing on their bed. And while it may seem like a nefarious plot, there are many simple explanations for it. Keep your dog away from your bed while you find the cause, and then apply the best solution for it. Remove all sources of the stain, even if that means throwing the bedding out. Remember that it is not personal. Your dog is not challenging you for house supremacy or being spiteful. Being a dog lover means that sometimes we have to deal with some pretty unpleasant things, but our dogs more than makeup for that unpleasantness with years of love and loyalty. What else can make that claim?