A dog peeing when walking can be a messy affair, but what really matters is knowing what is causing your dog to pee while walking in the first place.
Dogs don't naturally pee while walking, most of the time they look for a spot and then squat or raise their leg to pee.
Peeing while walking is not a convenient behavior in dogs as it goes against their wellbeing, considering that urine in contact with skin long term can lead to urine scalding.
Most dogs are pretty fastidious about not getting any pee on them so they are careful to avoid splashes and don't typically like to walk in their own pee.
A dog peeing while walking may be a red flag for something wrong, especially if the dog in question is an adult dog and not a young puppy.
Your veterinarian may recommend diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your dog's urination problems.
A Word About Puppies
If your dog is a puppy, consider that the peeing while walking can just be a matter of having an immature bladder.
Your puppies haven't developed their bladders fully, and therefore, it's not odd to sometimes see them pee as they're walking.
The pup may try to reach the door, but he doesn't make it on time, or he may be playing and realize he needs to potty only once he has already started to pee.
These pups just need to develop enough bladder control to be capable of "holding it" just as it happens with children.
Persistent peeing problems though may require veterinary help. For instance, puppies may suffer from congenital issues (present from birth) which can put a dent in their potty training process. One of them is ectopic ureters.
Pups can be born with one or two ectopic ureters. Fortunately, ectopic ureter is a rare problem in dogs. Plus, it is not a life-threatening medical issue. However, it is unpleasant for both you and your dog, remarks veterinarian Dr. Ivana.
A Sign of Incontinence
In several cases, a dog who pees while walking is suffering from some type of incontinence. In these cases, the dog isn't really doing it on purpose, as a matter of fact, he may not be even aware of the fact he or she is peeing!
Incontinence can be triggered by a variety of health conditions, but two of the most common causes of dogs having accidents are urinary tract infections and presence of bladder stones.
Urinary incontinence is separate from behavior-related urination problems, because it's caused by an underlying medical condition. Symptoms of incontinence in dogs may include leaking urine, dribbling urine, and squatting and straining.
Your veterinarian will be able to pinpoint the exact source of the problem and prescribe the right treatment.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections in dogs can cause bladder hypercontractility. Such infections are often the result of pathogenic bacteria, but can have other underlying causes.
Regardless of the cause, the puppy will feel the urge to pee extremely frequently and may struggle to hold it.
What causes a dog with a urinary tract infection to have frequent urination in small amounts? In this case, the infection causes a burning and itching sensation that triggers affected dogs to try to "push" the infection out, by urinating frequently, explains, veterinarian Dr. Steve O.
On top of urinating more frequently and in smaller amounts, affected dogs may also lick their private areas more, and, when they urinate, there may be presence of blood in the urine, and the urine may have a strong smell.
Presence of Bladder Stones
At times, dogs develop an urgency to urinate because they have developed crystals or bladder stones in their urinary tract.
The bladder stones traumatize the dog's bladder and cause bleeding, explains veterinarian Dr. Altman.
On top of that, dogs may develop painful urination because the stones may obstruct and interfere with the passage of urine out of the bladder and urinary tract infections may occur secondary to bladder stones.
Primary Sphincter Incontinence
If your dog is older, female and spayed, you may be dealing with a real case of incontinence, which entails the involuntary leakage of urine.
This can happen with a certain frequency in older spayed female dogs. What's happening in this case, is that, the urinary sphincter just doesn't work as well as it did in the past, and relaxes too much.
This is called primary sphincter mechanism incompetence, but there can be other underlying causes that should be investigated first.
A Neurological Issue
Dogs suffering from a neurological or spinal issue will often show other signs, on top of the peeing while walking.
They may have pain, they may shake, they may show signs of weakness on one part of the body. Some dogs may limp an even suffer from fecal incontinence.
It goes without saying, that this warrants quick veterinary intervention.
A Case of Polydipsia
In some cases, a dog starts leaking urine as he walks because he has started to drink overwhelming amounts of water.
This can happen as a result of underlying conditions or as a side effect of medications.
Two main causes of increased drinking and urinating in older dogs are kidney issues and diabetes.
When it comes to medications instead, steroids are notorious for causing increased thirst and increased urination, to the point of dogs sometimes leaking urine.
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
As dogs age, they may start getting confused and develop what's known as the canine version of Alzheimer's disease.
Affected dogs may get lost in the home, forget commands, and may get stuck in corners. Some lose their ability to "hold it" and will start having accidents in the house or they may pee as they're walking.
If your dog is a puppy or a young dog, there may be chances he or she is peeing while walking due to excitement or submissive urination.
The triggers may be exciting events such as having guests over, or actions that the puppy finds intimidating such as being scolded, looming over the puppy or making direct eye contact.
Acute stress may lead to a dog to "wet his pants" as it may occur in humans.
Urine marking is a dog's voluntary effort to leave urine around. Most dogs will urine mark on vertical objects, but some may just pee on grass or other surfaces. If your dog is sniffing and peeing often when you take him on a walk, then he's likely urine marking.
Females urine mark too, especially the intact ones when they are in heat.
Most of these dogs though won't literally pee passively while walking, rather, they will sniff and then squat or raise their leg to emit their pee. It's a voluntary action.
How to Stop a Dog From Peeing When Walking
If you notice that your dog has started peeing while walking or has a sudden and uncontrollable urge to urinate, you should get your dog checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any serious underlying health concerns. If your dog does have a medical condition, it will likely stop the behavior.
Obviously, to tackle the issue of a dog peeing while walking, you'll have to treat the underlying cause. Here are some solutions based on the underlying cause.
For young puppies, learn to notice the signs your puppy needs to go potty. When your pup is exhibiting these signs of needing to go outside, you can intervene and take him outside. Once outside, give him a treat and praise him. Use a crate to help your puppy learn how to hold it when you can't supervise, but don't crate for too long or your puppy will pee in the crate.
For urinary tract infections, your vet will likely put your dog on a course of antibiotics after testing the urine and finding proof of high bacterial counts.
For bladder stones, depending on the type, the vet may recommend a special diet or even surgery or some other procedure.
For primary sphincter mechanism incompetence, ask your vet for the almost unpronounceable medication known as phenylpropanolamine. No worries, you can also call it Proin. This helps by constricting the dog's urethral muscle.
Neurological/spinal issues may require rest, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, or even surgery.
Polydypsia, requires tackling the underlying cause such as using insulin to control the diabetes or fluid therapy for kidney issues. Gradually tapering the steroid drugs can reduced the increased drinking and urination associated with its use. Consult with your vet for precise instructions.
For canine cognitive dysfunction, when cause early there are meds to provide support and reduce the decline.
If your dog urine marks, here is a veterinarian's guide: why do dogs urine mark and how to stop it.
Managing The Issue
As you try to tackle the underlying cause, you may wonder what should I do to prevent messes?
If you own a male dog, one option is to use diapers on him. One type of diapers for male dogs are 'belly bands." Female dogs can wear special panties.
This may help prevent accidents on the floor, but of course, you'll to change the diapers often to prevent irritation and possible urine scald.
If there are traces of urine on the floor, make sure to use enzyme cleaners to get rid of the smell and discourage repeat offenders. These enzyme cleaners will eat up the bacteria responsible for the foul odor. They will also reduce your dog's chances of repeating the offence.
Should I Punish My Dog For Peeing When Walking?
The answer is a big no! The issue may be medical, and your dog has no fault, but even if it behavioral, punishment will only exacerbate things, adding fuel to the fire.
Punishment also isn't effective when administered minutes or hours after the event and punishing your dog for peeing on a sofa, carpet, or floor is only causing confusion and fear.
It's much better to use positive reinforcement to correct this behavior, such as praise and treats.