Devoted to More Wags and Purrs.

House Soiling Deserves Attention Beyond the Mop


No one likes to come home or wake up to a mess. Urinary problems are a large source of frustration for many pet owners. Many dog and cat owners begin to resent their pets when they lose their house-training, calling it spite, anger or simply “getting old.” Unfortunately, many pet owners do not realize that many of these issues may be related to underlying diseases or metabolic conditions, many of which are fixable or manageable.


Urine is produced by the kidneys, where the liquid part of the blood is filtered to remove waste products, as well as conserve or remove excess water. From the two kidneys, the urine is collected into the bladder, where it is stored. The urinary sphincter holds the urine in the bladder, until the time when pets consciously release this sphincter and urinate.


Some dogs begin to lose strength in the sphincter, usually leading to leaking of urine while asleep or resting. This syndrome typically responds well to medication or hormonal therapy. Other dogs may drink excessively, which may prevent them from being able to hold their urine for long, or even short, periods of time as their bladder becomes overly full.  Metabolic diseases, such as a thyroid deficiency, diabetes, liver problems, or many other possibilities, often have as a symptom an increase in water consumption.


Bladder infections are a common cause of sudden loss of house training. Inflammation of the bladder brings on a sense of urgency, and an inability to hold the urine for any length of time. Bladder stones can also cause inflammation, as well as some parasites, and in cats the inflammation can be spontaneous.  Feline Idiopathic Cystitis (FIC) is a condition in cats where the bladder becomes sensitive and inflamed, sometimes even bleeding, without an underlying infection. These cats show symptoms of urinating outside the litter box, often in odd places such as sinks and in tubs. Diet and stress control can help many of these affected kitties, and medication usually helps the others.


In male dogs, prostate problems can cause difficulty with urination, often leading to house soiling or leaking. In un-neutered dogs, prostate swelling is very common, and infections can occur as well.


Kidney problems can be serious; many pet owners assume that if their pet is able to produce urine, the kidneys must be functioning well. To the contrary, in early kidney failure, the kidneys lose the ability to conserve water, often leading to excessive drinking and an over full bladder. The sooner kidney disease is detected the better, as sometimes simple diet changes can greatly prolong kidney function if caught early.


Urine on the floor is no fun for the person who has to clean it up, but may be an indication of a  more serious health problem as well. Don’t assume your pet has just lost its house training; make absolutely sure there are no health issues simmering in the background as well.

Dr. Michael Rumore

Lake Seminole Animal Hospital