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Why Do Dogs Pee On Tires? You may have noticed how dogs are particularly interested in tires, and how after sniffing them, dogs strategically pee on them and then leave with a satisfied, "mission accomplished' look on their faces.

 If you are wondering why dogs pee on tires, you can bet that dogs likely have many good reasons. It would be wonderful if they could just whisper to us all their dirty little secrets, but until dogs can talk, we can only make a few assumptions about their behavior of urinating on car tires.

A Lesson in Dog Peeing Postures

So why do dogs pee on tires? There's a logical explanation. When dogs mark, they assume different positions which tend to vary based on the individual animal and the specific context.

Randall H. Sprague and Joseph J. Anisko in their study "Elimination Patterns in the Laboratory Beagle," were able to identify several different peeing postures assumed by dogs when eliminating. Discover more about these here: 12 dog peeing positions.

These include, stand, lean, raise, elevate, flex, squat, lean-raise, flex-raise, handstand, arch, squat-raise and arch-raise. 

Bonnie V. Beaver, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, explains in her book "Canine Behavior: Insights and Answers"that in female dogs, 68 percent of the urinary postures consisted of the squat position; whereas, in males, 97 percent involved the classical elevated leg posture seen in male dogs, as seen in the picture below. 

Dog marking trash can

A dog urine marking a trash can

At Nose Level

Bonnie V. Beaver further adds that male urination is directed towards vertical targets 97.6 percent of the time. This can be a good reason why tires are appealing to dogs.

When dogs mark, they engage in scent marking, basically leaving their scent on certain surfaces which provides other dogs with relevant information, sort of like a business card. Urine placement in dogs is important.

Just as you would want to put your business card at eye level on a bulletin board, dogs mark on vertical objects so to leave their scent "at nose height for other dogs."

 Tires can therefore be added to the list of other favorite vertical objects dogs like to pee on, such as the quintessential fire hydrant, the lamppost, garbage cans, electric poles, fences and bushes. 

Longer Expiration Dates

It remains unknown whether dogs are aware of it or not, but urinating on vertical surfaces offers another big perk. 

Bruce Fogle, veterinarian and author, explains in his book " Know Your Dog"  how the scent of urine generally tends to last longer on a vertical surface, compared to an horizontal one.

Urine on tires or any other vertical surfaces is therefore likely to last longer compared to urine deposited on the ground by squatting. So this makes tires score big and rank high as one of the top best marking posts for dogs. 

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A Potpourri of Scents

Best of all, tires collect quite a vast array of scents as you travel along the roads of your city or out of town. Just think about everything your car tires run over as you are out and about.

Scents that are likely to attract dogs on tires may include roadkill, animal excrements, foods dumped by people ,and of course, the scent of urine from other dogs (and even cats!) who have used tires to scent mark.

Did you know? According to Southern Trail Animal Hospital, the deadly canine parvovirus which is transmitted by infected dog feces, can also be transported from one place to another through shoes, clothes and even car tires.

Despite what you may think, dogs don't pee on car tires out of spite or revenge. 

Despite what you may think, dogs don't pee on car tires out of spite or revenge. 

Now That You Know...

As seen, dogs have many good reasons for peeing on car tires. Car tires are at the perfect height, they carry many smells and they travel distant places. Now that you know why your dog is obsessed about peeing on your tires, your next question may be, how do I stop my dog from peeing on the car tires? Following are several tips. 

What's the best way to deal with a dog peeing on your tires without harming the animal? Here are several ideas.

Use Management

In other words, out of sight, out of mind. The very best way to keep dogs away from your car tires is to prevent access to them. Keep your car in the garage or out of reach and keep your dog on leash when you are walking him outside.

Remove Odors

If you know a dog has urinated on your tires, you should clean that pee up as soon as possible. Use an enzyme-based cleaner like Nature's Miracle so to remove any residual smells. This can help get to the root problem and break the chain, since urine smell is what often entices dogs to keep on peeing on those tires

Use Re-direction

You can try to redirect your dog's intent to urine mark those car tires by bouncing a ball, squeaking a squeaky toy, wiggling a flirt pole or tossing a treat in the opposite direction.

Train the "Leave it" Cue

If your dog is an established tire-urine marker, training him the "leave it" command can come handy. Actually, the "leave it" command can come handy in many other circumstances, too. Just make sure though to always supervise your dog when he's near tires to prevent him from rehearsing the problem behavior over and over. 

Avoid Punishment

It may be tempting to punish your dog by making a sudden loud noise or using your voice or a spray bottle, but the fallout of using aversion-based methods is a real thing and these methods may backfire. Your dog may come to fear you or they may be risks of him becoming noise-sensitive or develop a phobia for water. He may also only learn to not pee on tires when you are around. 

Consider Neutering

Finally, if your dog is an intact, non-neutered dog consider that neutering can significantly reduce your dog's habit of urine marking regardless of age at time of neutering.


Neilson JC, Eckstein RA, Hart BL. Effects of castration on problem behaviors in male dogs with reference to age and duration of behavior. JAVMA 1997;211(2):180-182.

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